So, you need to get rid of computer mites in your laptop. And fast.
Who wants to type on a disgusting keyboard with tiny white bugs crawling all over it?
In this article, we’ll cover these topics:
- What bug is crawling around on your laptop computer
- How to get rid of bugs in your laptop’s screen, keyboard, and components
- How to prevent bugs from infesting your laptop
- And more
Sound good? Let’s get rid of the insects in your computer!
Last updated: 7/21/20.
What’s that bug in my laptop?
The most common laptop bugs that you may spot crawling out are mites.
These will be all over the keyboard key, touchpad, and USB/peripheral ports.
They look like tiny white bugs that are nearly microscopic. They may have a teardrop-shaped body with tiny legs. Sometimes antennae.
You’ll see them crawling out of your computer, especially when you’re using it and it starts to heat up and force them to be active and forage for food. That’s all they care about.
Bugs that are found in electronics:
- Spider mites
- Bird mites
- Dust mites
- Bed bugs
- Baby roaches
You may have any of these or even a combination of bugs.
They don’t only live in your laptop though. So if you have a bug problem, it’s critical that you take care of
it quickly before they find another place to start depositing eggs.
Where do the bugs come from?
They come from all over the place, especially the room where your laptop resides. They have to come from somewhere, right?
Where the bugs are commonly found:
- Laptop internals
- Laptop screen
- Computer towers
- LED or LCD TVs
- Desktop displays
- Portable room heaters
- Central air vents
- Household plants
- Fabrics (bed, closet, drawers, clothing, etc.)
- Any other material that generates heat with hiding places
Why do you have bugs in the first place?
The most common reason is that your laptop provides a suitable environment.
Heat and light.
The light comes from the laptop screen and internal LEDs. The heat comes from the dispersion of the internal parts generating energy and converting the inefficiencies to heat.
All bugs need a food source. There’s either a constant supply of food from an external source outside of your laptop nearby or something inside the computer.
Perhaps crumbs, food, finger grease, etc. There could also be bugs inside that other species are eating or cannibalizing.
Think about it: No food means no bugs. Food source means bugs. They need to be eating SOMETHING to sustain their colony.
Whether this comes from outside or inside your computer, that’s up to you to find out and eliminate to get rid of the bugs.
How to get rid of mites in your laptop
Here are some DIY home remedies you can try to flush them out of your computer permanently.
There’s no single approach to get rid of computer mites as it depends on what bug you have.
Thankfully, most mite problems are relatively easy to fix.
Opt for the all-natural techniques when possible, as you’ll be touching your laptop’s keyboard all day and you don’t want harmful residues on your fingers. Scan through this list of options to remove the insects from your laptop.
Use a bug bomb
Bug bombs can be an effective way to kill all the mites and bugs currently inside your laptop or screen.
Since it uses gas, this gas permeates all possible crevices and gets into your device to kill and eradicate any possible bugs in there. It’s also nice because you don’t have to take it apart to kill them. These can be bought for cheap.
You can buy bug bombs at hardware stores. These are those tiny aerosol spheres that release a bunch of airborne pesticides. It’s like fumigating your laptop.
Build a bug bomb trap
These bombs work best when the area has limited space for the aerosol to drift. So a closed environment to concentrate on the laptop mouse is ideal. Get a bug bomb and a large cardboard box. Drill a few vent holes in the box.
Put the laptop and bug bomb into the box, but separate them as the chemical reaction does get hot. And we all know that electronics and heat are not to be mixed together.
Activate the bug bomb and let it do work. Then close up the cardboard box and place it somewhere out of the home, but shielded from the outdoor elements (basement, garage, patio, etc.).
After that’s done, remove the used bug bomb. You’ll want to extract the excess poisons stuck on the internals of your computer by releasing any lingering poisons still in the box. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label.
The vent holes you drilled should allow any excess to escape. But to be sure, consult the product directions to see how long it takes before it’s safe to open the box.
Mothballs are effective at killing any mite eggs that could be deposited in your laptop waiting to hatch.
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The warmth from the electronic components (CPU, GPU, RAM, mobo, etc.) offer a suitable temperature that attracts some bugs to your computer, which is why many people find these small white mites crawling around their keyboard or laptop screen.
The same effect can be seen with bugs crawling all over your phone screen.
As with any other chemical approach, be sure to READ THE PRODUCT LABEL. Adhere to all safety protocols. They override this article.
How to use mothballs to kill bugs in your laptop
The process to do this is easy, but it does take a long time. It’s like delayed fumigation for mites. Depending on your setup, your workflow will vary.
The general process is something like this:
Get a sock and fill it up with mothballs. Get a cardboard box and put both the sock and your pest infested laptop together into the box. Seal up the box and drill a few ventilation holes.
Place it in a secure place outside your house, but safe from the outdoors. Leave it alone for 2 weeks undisturbed. After two weeks have passed, take the box outdoors and air it out by opening it.
Be sure to use protective equipment, as mothballs in an enclosed space WILL RELEASE TOXIC FUMES.
This means you need an N99 mask, gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt. Let it sit and air out for an hour or so. Always follow the product label, as each mothball manufacturer may have different application directions.
Suffocate them with CO2
You can suffocate them with CO2 as they’ll have no oxygen to breathe.
Professionals use a CO2 canister, but the rest of us have no access to these containers, nor are we willing to spend that much just to clean out a pest problem in our computer. So, enter dry ice! That white, misty thing that you see at the store.
Dry ice will release CO2 over time. Some people put their computer inside a plastic bag (like a large trash bag) and drop a piece of dry ice in there.
CO2 replaces oxygen to kill bugs
The bag then expands and fills up with CO2 over time.
The CO2 then suffocates the bugs and eventually kills them. Mites, aphids, ants, and whatever other bugs hiding inside your laptop stand no chance.
There are a few caveats to this:
- If you’re not careful, you can seriously damage or brick your laptop. Dry ice can freeze plastic and crack your screen. Never put the ice directly in contact with the laptop. The point isn’t to freeze the computer or make it cold.
- You’re just trying to fill up the bag with carbon dioxide. That’s it. So keep the dry ice and the computer apart from each other in the bag- as far as possible. Proceed at your own risk. Do your due diligence. Use common sense
- Most bags aren’t airtight.
- Any source of porous openings in the bag will allow for air exchange. This adds new oxygen into the bag, making it less effective and allows the bugs to breathe. You’ll need a heavy-duty trash bag and some way to seal it up so the gasses can’t escape.
As you know, dry ice is extremely cold and needs to be handled carefully. You can seriously hurt yourself if you’re not careful. See how to properly handle it. This is critical as dry ice is extremely cold.
Clean out your laptop
As obvious as it seems, you can actually just clean the internal components of your laptop to get rid of the pest infestation.
This means taking it apart by removing the screws, back panel, and slowly going through all the electronic components with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol.
Of course, if you have no idea what you’re doing, you may end up doing more damage. You need to use anti-static gloves, mats, and protective equipment.
You also need a no static work surface. Any static discharge can short your mobo or the other connectors to the fan, power supply, HDD, RAM, GPU, CPU, etc. This is why you need to never pick up static by using the proper precautions. Don’t do this if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Yoru laptop should be fully drained of battery power, disconnected from any power source, and all peripherals (USB, SD cards, etc.) removed.
Failure to take precautions can result in electric shock or other harm. Do NOT proceed unless you know what you’re doing and have the necessary equipment.
Also, be sure to read up on disabling a laptop before you start. Each laptop has a different layout and it’s not practical (and pretty impossible) for me to list all the steps for every single model.
How to clean your laptop from bugs
The workflow varies depending on your specific laptop, but usually, you disassemble the back panel, then use a scrub to clean the parts paired with compressed air.
But the general workflow to clean it out is this:
- Step up your protective workstation and put on your equipment
- Dismantle the rear plate by unscrewing it
- Place the screws into a cup or something to hold them
- Remove the rear panel
- Use a cotton swab with pure rubbing alcohol and start scrubbing the internal components where you notice pests, eggs, or dead bugs
- Remove the parts one at a time and clean under them or where you notice pest activity
- Replace each part as you clean or else you’ll end up with a whole bunch of parts and screws that you don’t’ know how to
- Repeat the process until no more pests are visible
- Reassemble the laptop
If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it. You may end up bricking your device and you should probably resort to another method on here or take it to a pro.
Take it to a professional
A professional can disassemble your laptop and clean it out for you.
They know what they’re doing and many are backed by insurance in case they screw up your computer.
The average tech charges around $50 here per cleaning, which is very worth it considering that doing it yourself may cost you more in labor, time, energy, and maybe even equipment if you have none.
You can call around your local area and check their prices.
Tell them what pest you have and see if they can leave some pest repellent for you inside the computer to keep bugs out. You can also ask for some tips for future reference to keep bugs out of your laptop.
Do nothing and starve the bugs
The mites in your computer are feeding on something.
They don’t just hang around there for no reason. They’re eating something while hiding out inside the computer for warmth or shelter.
As soon as they’re done eating the food source, they’ll have to migrate or perish. Everything from computer mites to bed bugs to ants needs food.
Even dust mites feed on microscopic fungus and bacteria that require a source- usually your food crumbs, finger oils, or drinks you spilled that now harbor a ton of mold and fungus on the internal parts.
They can be eating anything from crumbs that fell through your keyboard cracks to sugar from spilled drinks. Even the grease and oils on your fingertips can be a source of food for them.
Or maybe some bug crawled in and now other bugs are feeding off of that bug.
Stop the food source
The thing to keep in mind is to not continually feed them food. If you eat at your laptop, you may be constantly resupplying them with a nutritious food source unintentionally.
Consider eating somewhere else, or cleaning your laptop of any food grease, oils, or crumbs.
As for warmth and shelter, they may be attracted to the heat stemming from your laptop’s internals. This really can’t be avoided, unless you don’t use your laptop for an extended period of time.
Then the heat-less environment may just have them drift away.
But then again, what if they’re just there for the shelter?
The nooks and endless crannies of your computer? Then what?
Eventually, their food source depletes and they need to leave. Unless you keep resupplying them with whatever they’re eating.
You’ll need to assess the situation and act accordingly.
- Are you somehow providing them with a stable food supply without knowing it?
- Are they coming out to eat something nearby your laptop, then going back in?
- Or are you dealing with mites, ants, aphids, bed bugs, or some other pets?
It’s important to know the exact pest first so you know how to get rid of them.
Relocate your computer
Consider relocating your laptop to another part of your room.
This will help eliminate the possibility of pests that come into your computer because of the heat provided.
Once you move your computer to another location, all the bugs that constantly enter and leave your computer will be disturbed, and this may help get rid of them.
Usually, bugs start settling because of favorable conditions. But if you mess it up, this may just get them to go away.
This works best for bed bugs as your room is probably infested with them. Get rid of the bed bug problem first or else they’ll just infest your laptop again.
Use compressed air
You can buy compressed air canisters at electronic retailers.
These cans are just filled with regular air that’s sealed up under pressure. Use this to blow out the internal components through the ports, such as the USB port, power outlet, HDMI, and more.
You can also use it if you open up your laptop and blow out areas where bugs are hiding from sight.
Perfect for getting under components that you can’t reach. This will also remove any dead bugs that are in your laptop, which may remove food sources for other pests that could be eating on those bugs
Check for bugs around your room
Bugs in your laptop mean bugs in your room or house. If you get rid of the pests around your room, then you won’t have bugs in your laptop. Make sense?
Find out what bug you’re dealing with, then research ways to get rid of it.
After all, killing all of the bugs in your laptop doesn’t do anything because the little pest will just find a way back to your laptop.
The most common bugs found in electronics are:
- Spider mites
Or you can do a search on the site.
You need to ensure that they’re not just coming into your computer from your room.
Otherwise, it’s pointless to get rid of the ones inside your computer because they’ll just come back. This means you need to check your bed, closet, and drawers for bed bugs.
- Look for small red spiders on your carpet and walls, as they may be common spider mites.
- See if your room has any household ants.
- Check your carpet for carpet beetles.
- Check under your gaming desk for dust mites.
- Do you have houseplants? Check for aphids in your home.
Don’t assume they’re just in your laptop, because they had to get there from somewhere, right? This is actually one of the most effective ways to get rid of computer mites.
You can use a heat treatment to kill bugs in your laptop. Only the most resilient ones will be comfortable staying in 90-100F heat.
The drawback to using this method is that it can harm your computer by reducing the usable life and diminishing the battery.
Heat and electronics don’t go together. But if you’re desperate enough, or you’re running an old machine that you don’t care about, you can use software that runs up your system specs to generate heat.
When they come out, kill them with an alcohol spray or just squish them. Get a temperature monitor to make sure you don’t overheat your device. Most laptops can take extreme temps for a short period of time before shutting off.
You don’t want it to automatically shut down due to overheating, but rather, keep the temperature stable right below the threshold.
Do some research and see the recommended temps for your laptop. Then run the program to achieve this temperature to get rid of the bugs hiding your laptop.
Vacuum your laptop
You can use a shop vac with a hose attachment and suck out any pests that are wedged between your keys on your keyboard or in your USB ports.
Just position the vacuum on the keyboard and run it over the keys. Any bugs that are on the keys or between them will get sucked up.
You may have to press on the keys with the hose to dislodge them. You can also plug the vacuum hose right up to the ports and suck out any bugs hiding there- the more powerful the vacuum you can get is best.
Use a hairdryer
A hairdryer can generate a lot of heat and kill bugs.
Some people run this over their keyboard as the warm air will blow into the crevices and kill the pests hiding there.
Be careful not to damage your computer as the heat can be extremely hot when placed so close to the computer.
Never place the tip of the hairdryer outlet against the computer directly.
Always leave a small space for air to escape. The point is to blow hot air directly into the computer through the keys. This will make the bugs scatter and as they escape, you can kill them.
The sun will also help evaporate any trapped liquids that are contributing to the moisture levels in your computer.
Be safe while doing this as it can seriously damage your laptop if you’re not careful, not to mention pose a threat to yourself.
Never let the temperature rise above the recommended operating temperatures of your keyboard. This is effective for bugs in your computer like ants, aphids, and spider mites.
Use UV from sunlight
Here’s a unique one: just put your device outdoors in the bright sun. Open the lid and put it in direct sunlight. The bugs hiding in there may become disturbed from the UV and escape.
Leave it outdoors for a few hours. Watch out for rain, bird poop, and other elements.
Keep watch on your device so it doesn’t get destroyed by some outdoor creature or element.
Do this on a sunny day with no clouds from noon to dusk. Check the temps and monitor closely. UV light can harm paint and colors, so be aware of that.
Clean under the keys
Most laptops allow you to pry the keys out. You can use a putty knife or buy an actual tool to remove them.
You pop them out like this:
After the keys are out, soak them in a jar filled with disinfectant. You can dilute vinegar or rubbing alcohol (70%).
This will slowly eat up all the grease, crumbs, and food particles stuck on your keys. Let them soak and get a cotton swab to clean under the keys. If you have a membrane keyboard, you can clean around the mounts with the swab.
Soak the tip of the swab in a solution of rubbing alcohol and clean around the keyboard. Pure rubbing alcohol should be safe for electronics, but you shouldn’t be pouring the stuff into the keyboard.
Be safe and use common sense. You can also use compressed air to blow out any loose dust or food particles before you swab. Since the keyboard collects a bunch of gunk over time, it’s possible the computer mites are eating this stuff. Keep it clean to get rid of the pests in your laptop.
Build a trap
You can make a repellent box by placing the laptop inside a box filled with baited traps.
There are many mite traps, ant traps, and bed bug traps on the market depending on what bug’s in your computer.
The point is to buy the trap, place the laptop and trap together in a closed environment. This will lure the bugs out of the computer and into the trap. You can use baited traps or repellents.
Repellents may just force the pests to come out of the computer and you can kill them while they’re around the box. Or you can use the traps to catch the bugs when they come out to eat the bait. Either way, it’s a passive approach that’s worth a try if you don’t know what else to do.
Use sticky traps
You can buy sticky traps to catch flying pests like aphids, even though it’s rare to have aphids inside your laptop. These traps can be placed around the perimeter of your computer.
When the aphids come out, they’ll stick to the traps if they walk over it. You can line your entire laptop with the strips and place them inside a container.
Some traps also have sweet-scented baits to lure the aphids out of hiding and right into the trap.
What are computer mites?
Computer mites aren’t actually classified as any type of mite. They’re just mites that happen to find conditions in your computer or laptop preferable for breeding.
These are computer loving mites that make their way into your computer through the many ports, vents, and through the keyboard and nest in the internal components.
Since the environment produces heat, a stable food supply, and traps moisture (especially if you spill a drink), this is perfect for mites to infest.
No wonder why you have mites on your laptop. They may make their way into your screen, touchpad, keys, or any other part of the computer. The most popular mite is none other than the mold mite.
What are mold mites?
Mold mites are one of the most popular computer loving mites and commonly found in laptops. They’re harmless to humans and are closely similar to ticks.
They can’t fly, but they’re extremely small and tiny so they’re hard to see. If you don’t know anything about mites, they look like any other computer mite from the naked eye’s perspective.
They eat fungus and any other bacterial growth, which sadly is all over your laptop’s keyboard. They’re also moisture seeking mikes and thrive in damp and humid areas.
This means your laptop can be a perfect environment for mold mites because they can eat the food, grease, and oils from your skin which grows mold on your laptop.
They can also use the moisture in the room if it’s humid enough.
Thus, both of these factors make your computer a favorable place for these computer mites. Humidity can also stem from spilled liquids as the trapped beverage can stay in the computer and keep it humid for an extended period of time.
For example, if you spill water between the keys and it makes its way into the vents on your GPU, this may trap the water and slowly evaporate over time.
This provides both humidity and heat for the mites, ants, aphids, spiders, and even roach nymphs to live inside your laptop.
Other common mites found in laptops
Computer mites are an overall category of mites commonly found inside computers and laptops.
These can be any of the following mites:
They’re part of the family Acaridae, which are common mites found in homes. They’re attracted to heat and light just like most other household pests.
And your computer or laptop provides a perfect environment for food, shelter, and warmth. They tend to be found where bed bugs are also found.
Do you have bugs in your laptop screen?
Bugs in the laptop screen are common and nothing special.
These bugs are found in all electronics that have a source of heat. They typically wander in there and get caught because they can’t escape.
There are small crevices around the screen which allow entry, but once inside, they’re too dumb to get back out. This is reality.
Most bugs caught in your screen will be there forever, unless you disassemble the screen and remove it. There’s no other option. Unless you want to wait for the off chance that it’ll suddenly find it sway back out. I wouldn’t wait on that.
Bugs in LED or LCD screens
Bugs that crawl on LCD/LED screens get in through the vent holes on the edges. They get in and stay there. If you’re handy and have replaced a laptop screen before, you can easily disable the screen and remove it from your laptop display.
Unsure what you’re doing? You should take it to a professional to do so. It’s easy to permanently damage the display.
The LCD module usually has a screen bezel that separates a plastic film and the actual LCD component. This makes it easy to remove the pest.
But if not, then the top polarizer may be stuck under a metal captive arrangement.
This makes it difficult to remove. You’ll have to do a teardown to take it out. This ain’t an easy task. Bugs that get into your screen are attracted to the heat and light.
Don’t squish them
Whatever you do, do NOT squish it. The bug splatters and leaves a nasty stain on the inside.
This will then really screw up your display. Take it to a pro or remove it yourself you know how. The most common bugs that get stuck inside screens are thunder bugs, mites, and ants.
They could also be originating from within your computer also. This is why you need to keep the internals clean- see the rest of the post above for cleaning tips to get the bugs out and get rid of them.
Here’s a video demonstrating the process of a typical screen replacement:
How to keep bugs away from your laptop for good
Here are some ways you can prevent pests from infesting your computer.
- Don’t eat while you use your laptop
- Clean up any dust, crumbs, or spilled drinks completely
- Regularly clean your keyboard and touchpad
- Check your laptop’s ports and vents for bugs regularly
- Don’t store your laptop in a dusty area if you don’t plan on using it for a long time
- Don’t put your laptop on the carpet- keep it elevated
- Keep your room clean
Sure, they seem basic. But they work. Hygiene is key to keeping bugs out of your room and computer.
Here are some references you can check out:
- PC Bugs, literally. Dust mites? – Windows 10 Forums
- Tiny bugs crawling out of my Macbook
- Computer Loving Mites – What’s That Bug?
Did you get rid of the mites in your laptop?
By now, you should understand the basics of what bug is in your laptop and how to get rid of it.
Everything from mites, ants, spiders, and bed bugs can be eradicated with patience and persistence.
Found this page useful? Let me know. Or if you have any other questions, post ‘em below in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.