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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tiny yellow bugs running all over the head of my statue?


I live in Phoenix, AZ; it's about 4pm on April 24th, and there are a bunch of tiny yellow critters running around on top of my statue next to the "garden ", which Is mostly dirt except for 1 wild plant that's grown pretty big, some random patches of clover, the severed trunk of a chopped down bush, and an oleander that is trying to grow in the clover. The first plant looks like it's surviving, but does have some holes in the leaves and a few stems worth of leaves have died off. I'm wondering if these bugs are plant mites, and why they're running around frantically and aimlessly on top of a plaster statue? (Can't take a photo because they are tiny and can really MOVE, and sort of blend into the statue)
Thank you so much.

Hi, Lindsay:

Without seeing at least a clear image of the creatures in question, I cannot guarantee a correct answer.

My best guess is that they are spiderlings (baby spiders).  Baby spiders disperse by "ballooning."  They go to the top of a tall, prominent object, release strands of silk from their spinnerets, stand on "tip-toe," and await a breeze to carry them off to another place where they are not competing with their siblings.

This is the time of year when young orb weavers (family Araneidae) are hatching from egg sacs and dispersing.

Hope that helps put your mind at ease.


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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