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Photo#48850
very, very tiny red bugs - Balaustium

very, very tiny red bugs - Balaustium
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
April 20, 2006
Size: a few nanometers!!??
these guys are all over my courtyard brick walls, which have some ivy growing on them - they seem to be herbivores, but I'm worried they may be somehow damaging the exterior of my home. They are VERY tiny, as you can see - that IS A DIME!!! Image taken with a canon sd400 5.0mp camera on digital macro mode - can't say enough good things about canon's newest image processor!

Clover Mites
That is a baby clover mite. They are a nuisance rather than harmful.

 
Clover mite vs erythraeid
This is neither a clover mite, nor a baby. The common name "clover mite" should be restricted to Bryobia (e.g. 605370 and 282777), which do in fact eat plants (although I think "nuisance" is a bit of an exaggeration). Balaustium are opportunistic predators of small/immobile insects, but can persist entirely on pollen as well. This genus represents one of the very few groups of Parasitengona where the larvae have lost their parasitic habits and instead feed like adults.

Though the two mites look absolutely nothing alike when up close, from far away one may confuse them because both mites can be commonly seen running around on concrete... but there their resemblance ends.

"Baby" mites come in two forms: larva and nymph. This is clearly not a larva as mite larvae have six legs. Balaustium nymphs look slightly different than adults, but recognizing this takes practice. Regardless, the individual in the photo is an adult.

Finally, Balaustium are not nuisance creatures. Generally, they go completely unnoticed except to the careful observer. There are reports of Balaustium biting humans (e.g. Newel 1963), but I think too much has been made of this. It is actually quite difficult to get them to bite at all... and like with all arthropod bites, allergic response varies widely.

Moved
Moved from Trombidioidea.

Moved
Moved from Velvet Mites.

Not enough detail to assign to family
according to mite specialist Dr. Joanna Makol, Agricultural University, Wroclaw, Poland.

Might it be a mite?
A velvet mite? I believe thats the common name... I'm not very good with 8 legged critters.

 
Looks like a velvet mite to me too.

 
Thanks to both of you!
I think that's it, and they seem to be harmless. Great close up shots of them here if interested.

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