I'm having trouble identifying some insects I came across crawling around my foundation outdoors. This is in southwest Ontario.

On two sides of my house the foundation concrete is covered with a layer of plaster or stucco, not exactly sure what it it. It's bumpy in texture, and simply covers the foundation up to where the brick begins.

On one side of the house this stuff is cracking and peeling off of the concrete, in some cases taking a few mm of concrete with it.

I'm peeling it off where it is loose so moisture doesn't get stuck there, and while I'm doing this I notice the are lots of very fast, tiny insects, 1 or 2mm in length, impossible to see features, can't photograph them.

(Wolf spiders seem to love them, as they had a bonanza when I peeled some of the chunks away. )

I also have ant hills nearby, as this is by my patio and near the air conditioning unit, which makes a lot of moisture in the humid summer days.

These definitely aren't ants, way too small.

The only white insects I can think of are subterranean termites, but from what I can tell, they should be much larger than this (closer to 1/4", 4x the length or more), plus they should have visible mandibles. Although, I'm still worried they might be termites.

I'm planning on pulling off all of this stucco to rid myself of this moisture trap, but I'm still worried about the insects. Any ideas on what they might be?

  • Could it be they are ant larvae? Are there ants around the white insects, perhaps trying to move them as you peel away the stucco? They might also be termite larvae, which appear similar to ants, but with more developed features (I've never seen termites in-person).
    – Sam
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 15:42
  • There are ants all over that area, along with plenty of ant husks and very well fed wolf spiders. I never thought of larvae... Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


Do an Image search for "Psocids" or "book lice" or "bark lice" and see if they fit what you saw. They are not really lice, they are a type of mite and they feed on molds that grow in damp places like under the bark of trees (or old wet books), which your flaky stucco may have been similar to from their perspective. They kind of look like tiny tiny termites, but without the mandibles. They are harmless.

  • They certainly look like this. I'll accept this answer! Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 18:02

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