Furry Red Spiders
Recently I have been doing alot of yard work and i’ve noticed that there are the strangest bright red furry little spiders or insects crawling around everywhere. They are really slow, and they are about the size of pencil eraser or a little bigger. Some of them actually look like they are outlined in white, and these tend to be a little larger. When they are threatened they curl up into a little ball and seem to like buroughing in the dirt. Can you tell me what these bugs might be? I’ve searched everywhere and havn’t found an answer.

Hi Ashley,
There is a family of mite known as Velvet Mites, Trombidiidae, and one species, the Angelito, Angelothrombium pandorae, is a giant red velvet mite that is found in desert areas. According to Hogue: "These creatures never fail to attract attention because of their large size (the body length of adults is about 1/4 to 3/8 in.) and brilliant crimson furry bodies. The larvae are parasites of grasshoppers, and the adults are predators on subterranean termites. The adults remain in the soil most of the year and spend only a few hours above ground, probably to feast on their prey, which also respond to rains by emerging in numbers. Little else is known of their biology."

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi, Bugman. I love your site, although I’m glad I don’t have any of those bugs at my place! The one I found is bad enough. I found it in my front yard in suburban Chicago. Can you ID it?
Jerry Palm

Dear Jerry,
You have photographed a dead Caterpillar Hunter, Calosoma scrutator, one of the Ground Beetles from the family Carabidae. They are predaceous, feeding on insects and other small animals. They are especially fond of caterpillars. They help to control Gypsy Moths and Tent Caterpillars. Adults will climb trees and they can also fly, often being attracted to lights in the spring. They are beneficial and should not be killed.

Reposted February 4, 2010
She has Debris
(04/09/2004) what are these bugs
i have been fighting. some sort of bug infestation since late october 2003…it’s got to the point where people believe i am suffering from delusionial paratosis.  after  6 months of this crap I went around my house with stickers collectiong samples.  i’ve undergone a psych evaluation .. results 100% sane/  my landlord won’t do anything nor will he fix stuff,  i believe that there is a pigeon mite infestation from the attic and some sort of carpet beetle/ silverfish infestation.. let me know what you find in the scanned immages.. these were actual beetles /frass/mites  placed on scanner plate

Jenny and Amanda’s Floor

Editor’s Note: Though we gave this homemaker kind advice about the inevitability of critters getting into the house, we are nonetheless amazed at the thoroughness of her housework. While we feel some of her time might be better spent in more rewarding pursuits, we somehow shutter at what she would find should she ever bring her stickers to our offices. Sadly, we were unable to identify any of her “bugs” and might actually concur with the delusional parasitosis diagnosis.

re: problem resolved after months of dealing with this problem, see link below -No OCD, no delusional paritosis -infestations include the following (sowbugs, silverfish, house centipedes- in all rooms of home) pigeon mites from pigeon roost in attic (landlord blocked entrance 3 yrs ago, leaving nests etc there) and mice. (tenant lawyer want me to sue)

Kitchen Cabinets Bottom

Dear Rocker Mom,
We are happy you have solved your mystery. Pill Bugs should not infest the home, though they might enter upon occasion. Centipedes, while they are frightening, are harmless and will also help to devour any other intruders, like cockroaches, crickets and spiders. Silverfish can be a nasty infestation issue, especially since they love to eat the glue in book bindings and behind wall paper. Your biggest problem would be the mites, though they are much too small to see. They will cause itching and are very difficult to eradicate. Certain mice will carry the Hanta Virus. Good luck with your law suit.

Ed. Note:  February 3, 2010
This letter got lost when we migrated our website in 2008, and we had to locate the original letter and images on our old computer because it is such a wonderful letter.  We never actually identified the crushed insect parts in these scanned images, but a skilled entomologist might be able to identify some of these particles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in central Florida. I have a type of bug that doesn’t bite, or make nest, it only crawls, but there are thousands of them. I cut my lawn and the whole end of the house gets covered in them. They are up to about 1 inch long, mostly black with a dark red back and as they grow the red goes underneath. They have 6 leg’s, Is this enough information? I really want rid of them as my wife really has a hard time with crawling bugs. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

They sound like Box Elder Bugs which can be a real nuisance.

Sorry I guess my description needs a little work. There are no stripes, just a red spot that starts on the back then seems to just be around the edges. I am going to try to put 1 on paper then scan it.
Thank You, Doc
The scanner idea isn’t perfect, If you can’t get a better idea from this pic I’ll try another way. Thank you for your pateince, Doc.

Dear Doc,
Your scanner idea was great. You have squashed Box Elder Bugs, both a winged adult and several nymphs. These bugs are pests, often entering houses to hibernate. We have never been successful in advising our readers how to rid their yards of them. They often form dense aggregations with thousands of Box Elder Bugs, adults and nymphs, forming colonies.

I found this while visiting Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I don’t recall seeing this in ny.

It appears to be a species of Tiger Beetle, Family Cicindelidae. They are often metallic in color and are fierce hunters. They run rapidly, often in sandy areas, and they are also quick fliers. Weiping at the Natural History Museum says “This photo is not clear enough. It is hard to say it is a tiger beetle or ground beetle. For me, the body shape is closer to Calosoma sp. (Carabidae).”

We just heard back from the spider expert (relayed through Weiping) at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and he provided us with this information on the Camel Spider. “I just met our spider expert and had the name for your spider. It is from Galeodes sp, ca 3 inches long exclude legs. It distributes in Iraq and Kazakhstan area.