Currently viewing the category: "Mites"

Subject:  Weird Little Red Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Date: 11/03/2019
Time: 01:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this weird little thing just chilling on my school desk, and had never seen a spider like it so though to see if someone else knows what it is. He’s not very big at all, would only be a centimetre across at most. He wasn’t found near anything natural at all but in the middle of the school. There are some small bits of bush around and in the school as well. It is at the end of Spring right now, almost at Summer in Australia.I’m not sure what other information might be useful so email me if you need to know something else.
Thanks for your time, Lochie
How you want your letter signed:  Lachlan

Velvet Mite

Dear Lachlan,
This is not a Spider but it is an Arachnid.  This is a Velvet Mite in the family Trombidiidae.  You can find information on Velvet Mites on and on Owlcation.  Velvet Mites are often found in arid regions after a rain.

Subject:  Burying Beetle (?) COVERED with phoretic mites
Geographic location of the bug:  Tonasket WA
Date: 07/24/2019
Time: 11:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Poor thing couldn’t fly or retract it’s wings, but it was moving really fast and furious on the ground in the driveway. Surprised my camera picked stuff up as good as it did. I put it next to my flower beds and it must have wanted cover, because it headed straight for the jungle. The belly was completely covered also.
How you want your letter signed:  Cathy

Sexton Beetle and Phoretic Mites

Dear Cathy,
Thanks so much for sending in your excellent image of a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle covered in Phoretic Mites.  It is our understanding that the Phoretic Mites do not harm the Sexton Beetle, though it might have trouble flying.  The Phoretic Mites are opportunistic, and they use the Sexton Beetle to travel to new sites where they can find a food supply.

Subject:  Unusually bright red bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Accra, Ghana, West Africa
Date: 03/17/2019
Time: 10:27 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, seeing this beautiful creature for the first time, wondering what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  TF

Velvet Mite

Dear TF,
This is a Velvet Mite in the family Trombidiidae.  North American individuals are often found in arid environments and they emerge after rains.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae parasitize insects and arachnids of all major orders. Adults eat insect eggs.”  Grasshoppers are the preferred hosts of many species of Velvet Mites.  There are many images of African Velvet Mites on iSpot.

Subject:  Green Beetle with bushy looking legs: definitely can fly.
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern CA – Sunnyvale.
Date: 08/21/2018
Time: 09:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy was hanging out in my compost bin with friends.  My guess is that they were grubs and just emerged.  Are they Japanese Beetles?
How you want your letter signed:  Chuck

Figeater with Phoretic Mites

Dear Chuck,
Your beetle is a Figeater, a Green June Beetle that is quite common in California.  The larvae, known as Crawlybacks, are often found in compost piles.  The “bushy looking legs” you mentioned are of great interest to us.  They look like phoretic Mites that often use large beetles like Sexton Beetles as transportation from location to location.  We have an image in our archives of some eastern Green June Beetles with phoretic Mites.

Thanks Daniel,
I can grab one of the beetles for you?  I closed the lid and they are still there.  I usually turn the pile over quite often but have been away for travel: when I opened the lid, those guys were hanging out.
Thanks again.

Thanks for the offer Chuck, but we have plenty of Figeaters in Southern California.

Subject:  Red Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  North Georgia Mountains
Date: 03/18/2018
Time: 03:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We’d appreciate your assisting in identifying this beautiful bug.
How you want your letter signed:  Monroe DeVos

Velvet Mite

Dear Monroe,
This looks to us like a Velvet Mite in the family
Trombidiidae and though data on BugGuide indicates this is a very wide ranging family in North America, most of our reports come from the arid Southwest and most appearances happen after rains.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae parasitize insects and arachnids of all major orders. Adults eat insect eggs.”  Your individual resembles this posting on BugGuide, also from Georgia, that is identified as being in the genus Eutrombidium, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae are parasites of grasshoppers, adults are predacious.”

You are the best….!
Thank you,

Subject:  Black bug with wings and 6 legs
Geographic location of the bug:  Denton texas
Date: 03/03/2018
Time: 03:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious as to what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Justin

Mason Bee with Mites

Dear Justin,
The large insect in your images is some species of Hymenopteran, most likely a species of solitary Bee, and it appears to be crawling with Mites.  We searched for information on Bees and Mites and we discovered a site, Bee Mite ID, that can be used to identify the Mites, but better images are needed and input from someone with far more skills at identifying mites than we have, like an acarist, would be helpful. We found an image on BugGuide of a Bumble Bee with Mites, another image on BugGuide of an Orchard Bee with Mites, and an image of a Mason Bee with Mites also on BugGuide. Some Mites that infest insects and arthropods are detrimental to the health of the Bees and the Nests, while other Mites only use insects to move from place to place, a phenomenon known as Phoresy, and those Mites, even when numerous, are not detrimental to the host.  We will write to Eric Eaton in the hope of getting a more specific identification for you.  Was this Bee able to fly?

MasonBee with Mites

Eric Eaton Responds
Yes, a mason bee covered in mites.  I am no mite expert and am not sure whether they are beneficial to the bee, detrimental to the bee, or of no consequence at all.  Looks like even mite experts are still trying to sort them out:
I wish I could be more helpful.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Facebook Posting by Lisa Phillips:  My Mason bee blocks got infested with these mites. Built new blocks and burned the old ones.

Thank you so much for the quick response. I’m not sure if it was able to fly. It did not try to fly away when i walked up to it so i am assuming that it couldnt. Unfortunately those are the only two pictures that i got of it.  I really do appreciate you finding this out for me.  I had never seen anything like it.  The only thing i could think of is that it was a bee or some sort of wasp with eggs or babies.  I remember seeing a spider with the babies on its back.  Thank you again.

Hi again Justin,
The spider you saw is probably a species of Wolf Spider.  The female drags around her egg sac and carries she carries her spiderlings for a short time so they have time to disperse throughout her range.  We have been thinking about your sighting.  We suspect that it would be difficult for so many Mites to crawl on an adult Mason Bee, but a newly metamorphosed individual would be most vulnerable up until the time of its maiden flight.