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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Little little Red bugs. Not sure what they are

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Question
Hi,

I am intrigued by these small tiny tiny little red bugs. I see them outside of this hotel that I work at they are on the concrete and I was sitting down smoking a cigarette and saw them. They are so small that you can't see them unless you are directly looking down on the ground and then just barely. They are smaller than aphids. Are these mites?

They are very bright red when you see them and there are many. They were around some soft spongy lichen moss covered dirt and rocks. I live in North Dakota. But I know I have seen these bugs before in other states that I have lived.

Thanks,
Mark

Answer
Hi Mark,

They sound like mites to me! There are a lot of different types of mites, but I think it is likely they are clover mites because of the red color and the description of them living on/near moss. The good news is that clover mites won't bite you or cause any damage to your building. They are considered pests, however, because they can live in very large populations and can leave stains when they are squished.

If you have rodents or birds (maybe chickens), they could be another type of mite that is more likely to bite humans or cause skin irritation in humans. If you don't have rodents or birds in large numbers, and you see the mites mainly living near vegetation, then they are probably clover mites.

I hope this helps! Thanks for the question!

Best,
Jessica

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger

Expertise

I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.

Experience

I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of AllExperts.com since 2009.

Organizations
Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

Education/Credentials
I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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