Pavement Mite


Balaustium, a red mite often seen running over sidewalks, photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed on a flower head of Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) where it appeared to be feeding on pollen. Glendale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA. April 13, 2013. Length is about 2mm or about 1/16th of an inch.

Erythraeidae -- a Mite Family

These bright red mites have come to be known as "Pavement Mites" because despite their minute size they catch our attention as they run across the white pavement of our walkways and porches. They seem to be able to move much faster than such a small critter ought to be able.

These are harmless to people because their food as adults are simply pollen grains. They are not "red spider mites"; red spider mites are much smaller and generally do not crawl outside their gossamer webs. In their immature stage Erythaeidae mites attach themselves to small insects feeding on the fluids. They do not bother people. Adult mites have 8 legs like other arachnids, however, the immature forms may have six or fewer.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 April 2013