I am being inundated with this little red mites on the outside of my house, patio, garden table and chairs - does anyone know what they are?
they is hardly any information on the internet, i have not been able to identify this, and the NHM are unable to identify from the photo, i am having to send them specimens to work out what it is.
can anyone out there help me.
they do not live on plants, they seem to come out when very hot, they are 1-2mm long, and when squashed leave red marks.
i have tried washing patio with diluted fairy liquid, spot treatment for mites, but nothing seems to work.
i dont know where they are coming from (cracks in brick work?)
let me know if you have any information
Hello there. I wonder if these may be imature Eutrombidium sp. The Red Velvet Mite. The specimen in the photo looks too leggy to be the more common Red Spider Mite Tetranycus urticae. Besides the 'Red' spider mite is only red late Summer and Autum. Do you live near poultry or other livestock?
When we spoke on the phone, we were certainly able to ascertain that they are mites, and as you only want to get rid of them, as was suggested biological control is worth a try. I know that the beetle, Loricera pilicornis is fond of these mites, based on Lewis's identification.
We can certainly make an identifcation from a photo but it is not conclusive (as in many instances the identifying features can be obscured), rather our opinion, especially with a difficult group such as the mites, and as Lewis points out, they have more than one life stage which makes them quite hard to identify, this is why it would be useful to see the actual specimen.
Some mites can be beneficial in breaking down organic matter, so it is important to get the identifcation right so as not to harm beneficial insects. For more information on this follow this link:
I will get our mite expert to have a look as well.
We have a super quick answer from the Museum's mite expert. She says:
From the image and description, I suspect the mite is Balaustium murorum (order Prostigmata, family Erythraeidae). It occurs in a variety of habitats, including on wild and cultivated plants, tree-trunks, stone walls, soil and under stones.
The first active stage (larva) has been variously observed parasitizing aphids, feeding on pollen and preying on spidermites, while the subsequent nymphs and adults are free-living pollen-feeders and predators of small arthropods.
Balaustium murorum is a frequently reported mite at this time of year. In summer months (particularly June and July), large numbers often swarm over nearby walls, probably in search of pollen and suitable places to lay eggs, and it is at this time that they often enter buildings. Disturbance, e.g., grass-cutting, may also cause large numbers to leave their habitat.
Mite numbers gradually reduce naturally.
There have been some reports of humans being bitten when accidental contact has occurred. The bites caused, at worst, severe irritation, but symptoms varied widely, presumably due to differences in individual sensitivity.
Wonderful post.Sorry for my erroneous ID. I will be a little more careful in the future.
Not at all - we need you! This is what discovering and learning about our natural world is all about, getting into dialogue with one another and sharing expertise - actually your response was really informative.
Thank you so much for your answers
I will be sending a sample of the mite to the NHM as requested by the really helpful staff there, and hopefully they will come back with an accurate species, and then i can move forward and hopefully erradicate them.
The idea of introducing beetles to the area in order for them to eat these mites is a bit worrying- what if i am then inundated with beetles!!!
this is a great site, and so interesting
keep up the great work
By the way Lewis, our mite expert adds:
'Eutrombidium isn't too far from Balaustium - species of this genus are also parasitic on insects as larvae and free-living predators as nymphs and adults.'