Millions of Black Bugs Invade North Texas Neighborhoods

Hackberry nipple-gall maker bugs are looking for a place to spend the winter

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Monday, Nov 18, 2013  |  Updated 5:53 PM CDT
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Small, annoying insects are invading parts of North Texas and the reason is simple, they're looking to get inside before the weather gets too cold.

Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News

Small, annoying insects are invading parts of North Texas and the reason is simple, they're looking to get inside before the weather gets too cold.

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What's bugging North Texas?

Millions upon millions of homeless hackberry nipple-gall maker bugs are swarming parts of North Texas in hopes of finding a warm spot to spend the winter, according to an etymologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

The insects are taking over neighborhoods from Crowley, to Benbrook to Oak Cliff. Viewers have inquired about the tiny black bugs through calls to NBC 5, posts to our Facebook page and questions on Twitter.

Jeri Joiner has them covering her Dallas home and car. She said it's the same at a home six streets away.

"It's just uncomfortable," she said. "You can't get in your car. They in your ears, your hair and your clothes, and it's just uncomfortable. There are millions of them."

Nipple-gall makers belong to a family of insects called psyllids and come out for galls in hackberry trees in the fall. The tiny bugs are small enough to get inside through doors and windows and "any of the myriad tiny exterior openings every house" has, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Other insects you might see an influx of at this time of year include paper wasps and boxelder bugs. None cause any real harm, but all can be a nuisance.

Etymologists say the best thing to do is shore up any openings in your home and have an energy audit performed to keep the little critters outside.

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