From the yearly archives: "2006"

red mite
I live in NJ and have these teeny tiny pin size red bugs covering my concrete porch and steps. They’ve also started climbing up my house around the door frame but haven’t managed to get themselves inside yet. They appeared around this time last year and eventually went away, however this year there are many many more of them. They leave red stains when squished. They look similar to predatory running mites I’ve seen on your site, although I can’t tell if they are exactly the same. What are they, what can I do, how long will they last? Are they dangerous to children? I have a 2 year old that is obsessed with them and as much as I try to keep her away from them, I’m fearful she’ll get a hold of them sooner or later. Please help!

Hi Kelly,
Generally, but not always, small predators need small prey. In the spring, newly hatched insects are small. Predatory Running Mites are more plentiful when their food supply abounds. As insects grow too large to be prey, the predator population will decline. These Predatory Running Mites will not harm your child.

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.

what in the world is this bug?
Hi Bugman,
I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in a basement appartment of a small but clean house. We see many of these creepy creatures scurrying around the place all the time. I finally got a photo oppurtunity and snapped on while it was crawling on the wall. This one is by far the biggest one I’ve seen. It messures about 5cm, and it was having a very hard time climbing the wall… maybe because he/she was overweight. Thanks

Hi Dave,
This is a harmless House Centipede.

Whats This Bug
I found this bug on the ground below an old oak with many vines. I live in north west Florida. I believe it is an Abbot’s sphinx caterpillar in a variation other than you had posted from 08/07/2004.

Hi Heather,
Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillars, Sphecodina abbottii, have several different color morphs, including the brown form in your photograph.

Bug Identification
Hi there,
Below you’ll find photos of an egg cluster and then what hatched out of it in eastern PA. The hatched bugs have stayed around while the others hatched. I would appreciate an identification.

Hi Ken,
These are newly hatched Wheel Bugs, a type of Assassin Bug. They are a predatory species that will help control the plant harming insects in your garden.

Net-winged Beetle?
We have encountered this bug (beetle?) several times over the last few weeks. We have hunted on the internet and even attended a “Bug Fair” this weekend. However, we can not seem to find out what it is. We think we have narrowed it down to maybe being a net-wing beetle. When it flies, you can see it’s abdomen, which is red like the stripes on it’s head. It is really beautiful, but we are stumped. Fos a sense of size, that is a douglas fir pine needle it is sitting on. Any idea?
Rowan and Alissa

Hi Rowan and Alissa,
We believe this is one of the Diurnal Fireflies in the genus Ellychnia.

could not find this spider on google
Strange. I searched for a while and I’m not able to find this spider on google. It is brown and it has darker brown stripe across it’s back. I found it in my house and it did not have a web around it. Please let me know what it is. I don’t have a fobia, I just like to know who I’m sleeping with 🙂 Thanks for your time. I have more images of this spider but this one was the best.
PS Great web site. Thank you for maintaining it.

This is a Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mira. They only build webs to care for young, otherwise they hunt. They are harmless.