little black dots

Hello, I hope you can help me solve this mystery. Over the last two weeks, black dots have appeared on many surfaces in my apartment: in the sink, counters, on some walls, and heavily on the kitchen and bathroom floors, which are linoleum and tile respectively. When I've swept the floor, half of what I pick up are these dots, there will be hundreds. the rest of the apartment is hardwood, so they may be there and I just don't see them. I've wiped them off and they keep coming back.
They are all the same size (about a mm in diameter) and are perfectly round. They don't appear to dissolve in water, and are very flat, and very black. They will adhere to the surface, but will come off in one piece with scrubbing. They are not evenly distributed, they will appear in clumps. I assumed they were insect related, and from reading other posts, it could be left by flies, but I'm puzzled in that I haven't seen any evidence of flies, moths, or any other pest. And there are so many dots, seems that I have an infestation.
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On 16 Nov 2004 13:50:22 -0800, Claudine babbled:

It's probably mould. Use a dilution of bleach to wipe over it or get some proper mould killer.
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I suppose anything is possible, but I find this highly unlikely, since I live in a dry environment, and it's popping up on surfaces that don't otherwise touch water. I swept my hardwood floor and there were lots. Thanks for the reply!
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Claudine) wrote:

Outdoors in spring and fall, cars and walls can get covered with what look like spots of black paint about 1 mm in diameter. They come from the artillery fungus. It grows in composting matter such as leaves. The spots are spores mixed with glue. The fungus can throw these spots several yards.
Are there potted plants nearby that might have this fungus in the soil?
--
Best Regards,
Lloyd

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Hi Claudine
Did they begin appearing about the same time you started using your heating system for the heating season?
In other words, can they be coming out from the ductwork?
Are they oily and/or smear, or do they remain intact like paper punch residue?
Try this on some that are in the sink: Drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on one, does it turn white? Drop a few drops of chlorine bleach on one, does it disappear? Or did it stay black and appear unchanged?
If it stayed black, it's probably soot from the furnace. If it turned white, it's probably an organic (airborne) mold, like the type that attacks damp clothes in a hamper. If it disappeared, it's probably a fungal type (surface) mold, similar to the moss that grows on the north side of house or tree.
If it's the latter two, a good dehumidifier will help keep it away after it is eradicated.
TTUL Gary
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Hi Claudine
I forgot to ask, do you have any kids that may have a toy that these dots are a byproduct of?
Or perhaps a husband with some type of scrapbooking hole punch?
TTUL Gary
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I tried your chemical test, and by your prescription, it's soot. But I've not turned on the heat (I live in so cal). In my initial online search of information, I came across the artillery fungus, which is fascinating, but I think some people refer to the tarlike consistency of the dots, and I think someone mentioned they are blobby, while these dots are not tarlike, they do not smear, and they are wahfer thin. I do have house plants though. Some dots are not in direct line of sight of plants, but, I'll research this source some more.
There are no other obvious sources I can think of in my environment. But I am beginning to wonder if I'm wasting your time and that it's something incredibly mundane right under my nose. My neighbor thought it looked like glitter, and my memory of how they appeared makes that unlikely, but maybe my interpretation of it all is faulty. I did have people over the day before they appeared, and I don't remember anyone wearing glitter, but hey, could have happened, and by now my feet would have tracked them everywhere. A friend has a steam cleaner, so I'm hoping to borrow it and attack the apartment. If I do a thorough clean of the apartment and they still show up, then it may be something funny, otherwise, if they don't come back, I've probably been a silly goose. I'll let you know what happens.
thanks for all your input.
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Hi Claudine
I did forget to state that soot would smear in my original response to your post.
Because of the uniformity of size of whatever it is you have there, it does seem like it must be something man made.
Now that you mentioned you did have guests visit. Could it be possible one of them had a sweater or dress with some type of ornamentation that used these flat disks as a part of that decoration? Or perhaps even an evening purse that is going to pieces on them.
Whenever you do figure out where they came from, we would like to learn of your discovery!
TTUL Gary
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Claudine) wrote:

it. They must have been thinking of the spots that sometimes harden on your car if a machine has just applied liquid asphalt to a road you drive on. Those dots don't smear.
On the siding of a house they remind me of spattered paint. They look like flat stains but can be felt with the thumbnail.
The fungus fires toward bright areas. Indoors it might aim toward a window, a ceiling, a light fixture, or an appliance, for example. Maybe it was in a basket of leaves that was briefly in the kitchen.
--
Best Regards,
Lloyd

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(Claudine) wrote:

to think these dots may well come from OUTER SPACE. call in NASA!!!
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replying to Claudine, Loretta wrote: I have been getting them on my kitchen floor and sometimes the bathroom, too. Like tonight, I just mopped the floor. My husband came home from work, took off his shoes before going in the kitchen. After he ate, I went in and there they were! And they are sort of like stuck on there. They don't come off with the mop, I have to bend down (which is painful with my bad back) and scrape it off with my fingernail!! We don't have anything on our socks or slippers. I am so frustrated I could scream!!!!!! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (LOL)
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