Concrete mites (family Erythraeidae), genus Balaustium, are tiny creatures that often go unnoticed unless they ramp up in numbers.
But it’s important to note that they play a crucial role in our environment. You might be surprised to learn about their existence and impact on our daily lives.
Let’s dive into the fascinating world of concrete mites and explore what they are.
These minuscule arachnids thrive in the cracks and crevices of concrete surfaces, such as sidewalks and building exteriors. Interestingly, their presence can help break down organic matter, aiding in natural decomposition.
Walking around your neighborhood, you might share your path with these tiny yet significant inhabitants.
Identification of Concrete Mites (Red Bugs on Concrete)
Concrete mites, or red mites, are small bugs belonging to the genus Balaustium. You can find these little creatures in various environments, including urban and suburban settings.
This section will help you identify these red bugs on concrete and provide some distinguishing features to make it easier for you.
Adult concrete mites are oval-shaped but more elongated than chigger, whirligig, or clover mites. Furthermore, all of these mites are typically red.
As far as concrete mites go, their size varies depending on what life stage you find, but they are generally relatively small, ranging from 0.7 to 1 millimeter long.
The nymphs (juveniles) and larvae of these mites are smaller and may not always have the distinct red coloration seen in adults. Therefore, recognizing concrete mites during their earlier life stages might be challenging.
To identify a concrete mite, here are some key features to look for:
- Color: The distinct red hue is one of the most apparent characteristics of an adult concrete mite.
- Shape: As mentioned earlier, these mites have an elongated oval-shaped body, which you can observe under magnification.
- Legs: Unlike chiggers, concrete mites have significant gaps between the second and third legs (see photo).
- Size: Even though they are small, adult mites are more significant than the nymphs and larvae. Keep in mind the size range of 0.7 to 1 millimeter.
- Life stages: Concrete mites undergo different life stages, including larva, nymph, and adult. Being aware of these mite life stages can help you identify them correctly.
In summary, identifying concrete mites involves attention to their behavior, color, shape, size, and anatomy. Armed with this knowledge, you will easily spot these tiny bugs in your surroundings.
Remember to maintain a friendly attitude while exploring the world of concrete mites, as these fascinating creatures are a part of our ecosystem. Happy mite-spotting!
Distribution and Habitat
Concrete mites, belonging to the family Erythraeidae, are fascinating creatures you might encounter in urban environments. They can be found in various habitats, such as concrete surfaces like sidewalks and patios and on masonry and buildings.
These tiny creatures are particularly fond of patios and sidewalks, providing them with excellent hiding spots and access to various food sources, like insects, other mite species, and pollen.
You’ll most commonly find them in the United States, but their distribution is more expansive than in this country.
Although concrete environments are their prime habitats, you might also find sidewalk mites thriving in soil and near plants. They are known to be well-adapted to diverse surroundings and can quickly adjust to the conditions they inhabit.
Sidewalk mites prefer urban environments, especially concrete paths and patios. They can also be found in soil and near plants, feeding on pollen.
Look out for them in the spring in the United States and other regions that provide suitable conditions for their growth and sustenance.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
When it comes to concrete mites, their life cycle is quite fascinating. You’ll find that these creatures go through several stages in their development. Just like other arachnids, their life cycle typically begins with eggs.
In the spring or fall season, female concrete mites lay their eggs. These bug eggs are the first crucial stage in the development of these mites. During this time, the mites begin their journey from being tiny eggs to becoming adults.
As the eggs hatch, larvae emerge. At this stage, the concrete mite larvae are microscopic and nearly invisible to the naked eye. They’ll grow and molt, shedding their exoskeleton as they develop. Keep in mind that at this stage, they only have six legs!
Following the larval stage, concrete mites move into the nymph stage. Nymphs are the next crucial step in the life cycle. During this phase, they resemble smaller versions of adults and have eight legs. Like the larvae, nymphs will also molt – transitioning into a deutonymph stage.
The deutonymph stage is the final one before the mites reach adulthood. These young creatures continue to mature and grow, shedding their exoskeleton once more before they become fully grown adults. As adults, concrete mites are ready to reproduce, thus continuing the cycle.
By understanding the life cycle and reproduction of concrete mites, you can appreciate these organisms’ fantastic journey from egg to adult. Remember that each stage brings unique challenges and impressive growth for these tiny arachnids.
You might wonder what these concrete mites feed on and if they can feed on your flesh like chiggers. Since concrete mites have piercing mouthparts, they are predators of small arthropods or eggs in their post-larval stage.
However, their larvae will also feed on plant pollen. When you see them congregating in large numbers on concrete surfaces, it’s usually because of pollen that’s fallen.
Unlike ticks, which are also arthropods but feed on the blood of animals, concrete mites are predators of other insects. You won’t have to worry about these mites infesting your dog.
Although, if you have bird mites then you’ll want to look more closely at our article “bird mites on dogs“.
However, the larval stage is parasitic on various arthropods like bees. Concrete mites can rapidly multiply when the pollen that the larvae feed upon is shedding.
It is important to note that while clover mites and concrete mites are considered a nuisance due to their sheer numbers and tendency to invade homes, they do not pose a direct threat to you or your pets, as they are not blood-sucking arthropods like ticks.
Given their preference for plants, one might think these mites may also gravitate towards pollen, especially since they look similar to the clover mites. However, concrete mites do not consume pollen as a primary food source.
Regarding biology, the environment plays a crucial role in the feeding and reproduction of concrete mites.
These mites are typically more active during the cooler seasons, such as spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate. When temperatures rise, they seek shelter in cooler, darker spaces, often entering your home.
To recap, concrete mites mainly feed on other insects. They thrive in cool temperatures and are often observed in large numbers during the spring and fall seasons.
While they can become a nuisance when they invade your home, they do not directly harm you or your pets.
Potential Harm and Impact on Humans
Concrete mites can cause discomfort for some people. While they’re not one of the mites that bite humans or sting humans, they can be responsible for allergic reactions.
Exposure to their waste particles and exoskeletons could trigger allergies, asthma, and skin reactions.
Consider using a steamer or essential oil-based pest control method like Wondercide to address a concrete mite infestation. However, you must closely follow the product label and manufacturer’s guidelines for usage and safety.
In a severe infestation, it’s best to consult with professional exterminators. They can provide you with the most appropriate treatment options and help you minimize potential harm to yourself and your loved ones.
Prevention and Control – How to Get Rid of Concrete Mites
To prevent and control concrete mites, it’s essential to keep an eye on the environmental conditions that foster their growth. They thrive in warmer seasons, especially around July, so be vigilant.
Start by inspecting your lawn, garden, and landscape for any signs of bed bugs. Please familiarize yourself with the appearance of these mites so you can identify them quickly.
Please pay special attention to concrete surfaces, such as sidewalks and masonry foundations, as they are typical habitats for these ectoparasites. Check for any cracks or signs of aging in the concrete, as these can provide entry points for the mites.
To minimize infestation, focus on reducing other insects which they feed on. Then, clear debris from your concrete surfaces, such as leaves and grass clippings.
Also, keep the surrounding lawn and garden well-maintained and free of excessive moisture, as it can attract other insects which the mites feed on.
However, since these are beneficial organisms, we do not recommend pesticides.
Remember that prevention is always better than seeking a solution after an infestation. Keeping your outdoor spaces clean and adequately maintained can reduce the likelihood of dealing with concrete mites, and enjoy a healthy, mite-free environment.
Concrete Mites and Other Mite Species
You might wonder about concrete mites and how they relate to other mite species. Concrete mites belong to the Erythraeidae mite family and are known for their reddish color and habitat close to human structures, including concrete walls and floors.
While concrete mites share similarities with other mite species, they also have their distinctions.
One notable species to compare them with is the Trombiculidae family, which includes chigger mites, also called chiggers. These mites are notorious for their irritating bites on human skin.
Chiggers are common in the U.S. and often found in grassy or wooded areas, where they latch onto unsuspecting hosts. If you are concerned about chiggers learn more about: “where do chiggers live?”
While chiggers are also red, they differ from concrete mites in their habitat preferences and parasitic behavior. Learn more about “actual size chiggers in bed.”
Another charming mite species you may have encountered is the velvet mite or red velvet mite. These mites are known for their bright red appearance and velvety texture. They come in varying sizes and are typically found in gardens or wooded areas.
While they may look similar to concrete mites and chiggers, their behavior and feeding habits differ.
Here’s a brief comparison of some of the mite species mentioned:
|Non-parasitic / Predatory
|Grassy, wooded, skin
|Adults/nymphs: Predators/Non-parasitic Larvae: Parasitic
|Red Velvet Mites
|Trees, Shrubs, gardens
In conclusion, concrete mites, chigger mites, and red velvet mites belong to different families in the mite world but share some traits. Their vibrant red color makes them noticeable, but their behaviors and habitats help distinguish them from one another.
By understanding their differences, you can better appreciate the fascinating diversity of mites and, hopefully, avoid any unpleasant encounters with chiggers.
FAQ on Concrete Mites
What do concrete mites do?
Concrete or sidewalk mites are small, bright-red arthropods commonly found crawling over pavement, foundations, and other outdoor surfaces. These mites are predaceous creatures that feed on other mites and small insects, supplementing their diet with pollen when necessary.
While they may be a nuisance to encounter, concrete mites are generally not harmful to humans. They do not bite or transmit diseases or infest human bodies. Their presence is primarily limited to outdoor areas and does not significantly threaten human health.
Do Concrete mites bite?
According to my search, concrete mites do not bite humans. They are beneficial mites and do not cause damage to household products or homes. Reports suggest that bites from these mites can produce dermatitis, but the focus of these reports is unclear.
Concrete mites are also known as sidewalk mites, and you’ll see them in company with other mites, but they do not bite or sting. Therefore, no evidence suggests that concrete mites pose a biting risk to humans or pets.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Chigger & Concrete Mites
What can concrete mites be mistaken for?
The Anystidae, genus Anystis – whirligig mite, is sometimes mistaken for concrete mites. However, a whirligig mite feeds primarily on other arthropods and is more round in shape. A whirlgig mite is often used in agriculture as a natural pest control.
Then there are the Red Grasshopper Mites, “red velvet mites” (Trombidium holosericeum, family Trombidiidae) that many think are concrete mites lookalikes. However, the red velvet mite is a predaceous solitary mite and is one of the largest-sized mites found in the U.S.
Final Thoughts for: “What Are Concrete Mites?”
In conclusion, concrete mites, also known as sidewalk mites, are tiny arthropods you’ll see crawling over outdoor surfaces. Despite their presence and potential nuisance, no evidence suggests that concrete mites pose a biting risk to humans or pets.
These beneficial mites primarily feed on other mites and small insects, playing a role in the ecosystem. While they may cause dermatitis in rare cases, their overall impact on human health is minimal.
Understanding their harmless nature can help alleviate any concerns surrounding these tiny creatures. Next time you encounter these red crawlers on a sidewalk or pavement, you can rest assured knowing that they are simply going about their natural predatory activities without posing significant harm to you or your surroundings.