please identify these bugs
My property has become infested with millions of little vibrant red bugs. The look like tiny spiders or mites. if you squash them, they leave bright red marks like blood stains. They are everywhere on our driveway, the exterior walls and windows of the property. Absolutely everything outside is covered with them. They appeared last summer and were gone before winter. They have returned about 2 months ago and are much worse than last year. I have washed the driveways down with pesticides and soap which kills them off, but by the next morning, they are all back again. Please help me to get rid of them. My house is located next to allotments and there is about 1/2 acre of lawn in my backyard. a few trees and small shrubs. I think they might be red spider mites.
Thank you in advance,
Your Mites are the good guys, Predatory Running Mites. If they are plentiful, there must be a food source, possibly damaging insects or other arthropods, upon which they are feeding. Sorry we do not offer extermination advice.
Update From Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Predatory running mites. All of the mites in the photos you call by this name are species in the family Erythraeidae, genus Balaustium. I think you have these confused with species in the family Anystidae, genus Anystis. Both of these mites are relatively large (for mites!), red in color, and commonly occur in aggregations. Anystis are the very fast moving, predatory mites. Their body is almost circular in outline. They run in what appears to be a random fashion until they encounter small arthropod prey. These are harmless to people. Balaustium, on the other hand, are more elongate as seen in your photos, with a distinct gap between the 2nd and 3rd legs. Species of Erythraeidae have piercing mouthparts and are also predatory on small arthropods or eggs in their post-larval stages, but Balaustium are unusual in being pollen feeders. They can be found in large numbers in flowers, but are most often seen by people on flat surfaces where pollen falls. These mites have been reported to bite people, causing some irritation, although why they do this is uncertain since they’re not parasitic.