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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Claudine) wrote:

I think Penn State described the spots as tarlike and others repeated 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

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(Claudine) wrote:

Goodness me, it reminds me of that film " Day of the Triffids". I'm starting to think these dots may well come from OUTER SPACE. call in NASA!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Loretta, anonymous wrote: To Loretta who has them on the floor when the husband comes home.... it sounds like his shoes are the problem. My husband used to have black soled shoes that left marks like that. Try different shoes. :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Gary V. Deutschmann, Sr., Rose strange wrote: My name is Rose I have been living with these things for way too long, these black dots Don't go away you can mash some some will flatten and if you keep mashing them you can change what was one into many! Some are hard and will not mash I have them in my skin and my cat has them! These things hurt like hell when I try to pull them out which does not happen and they borrow deeper! I have never felt such pain! They fall I really don't know how they move but my shoes have holes in them it's like any thing they land on! I have found them in the bottom of pan's where now it has round holes in the damn bottom of the pan ! I have tried everything bleach peroxide tea tree oil if you don't get these things when you see them you may not get them out! I been to Dr's no help! I'm crazy don't pick at them yeah right these damn dots sting! I have linoleum floors, I find one if I take my finger nail and push forward some times I will get the dot but if you look closely some of the dot is still on the floor, I have found bumps under painted walls when I scape at it well guess what's under the paint Freak me out! 6 yrs now and no relief it's constant, I was looking at my cat 4 months old he has one in his cheek it's getting deeper and I noticed in his long hair his feet are covered! Where ever he walks they stick to his toes in his hair his ears! These things are every where I have them in my head you can feel them sting the more you try to pick around them hoping to pull them out they don't! The hole gets bigger if you do this look under your finger nails because you may have gotten some of it clean your nails if you have any thing under your nails take a toothpick and clean under your nails and if you look closely you will find alittte black dots! I have found that one has been in my head for yrs I was once again trying to go around this painful dot I had some little flakes fall leaving dots going into my skin and had more sores! They don't stop it's like they spread out in your body, I have pooped them and on the toilet paper I see them if I take and flip to tissue the black dots will fall to the other side like it was when out of your body!!I have seen these damn things go through plates, cups, metal pan, my clothes, shoes, my 1800 moving chest!! No thing stops these things!!! Please if any one can help please come my way !! These things are killing me HELP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Claudine, Vanessa wrote: I have the same problem but they bite. They I think are no see ums.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Vanessa, Eflowerz wrote: I have similar problem. Biting feelings in bed at night. Specs seen in curtains sheets on surfaces.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Eflowerz, Ash wrote: Bird mites maybe. They are white, beige color not seen by the naked eye usually but when they bite and consume blood from their host, they turn black. Probably why you see them in the bathroom where you might change or take off your pajamas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Claudine, Scmom wrote: It's fly poop. We have it and I've spent a lot of time researching.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Scmom, Iris wrote: They are birdmites or beetles if they bites. Hell.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.