Currently viewing the category: "Mites"

Subject:  Black bug with wings and 6 legs
Geographic location of the bug:  Denton texas
Date: 03/03/2018
Time: 03:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious as to what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Justin

Mason Bee with Mites

Dear Justin,
The large insect in your images is some species of Hymenopteran, most likely a species of solitary Bee, and it appears to be crawling with Mites.  We searched for information on Bees and Mites and we discovered a site, Bee Mite ID, that can be used to identify the Mites, but better images are needed and input from someone with far more skills at identifying mites than we have, like an acarist, would be helpful. We found an image on BugGuide of a Bumble Bee with Mites, another image on BugGuide of an Orchard Bee with Mites, and an image of a Mason Bee with Mites also on BugGuide. Some Mites that infest insects and arthropods are detrimental to the health of the Bees and the Nests, while other Mites only use insects to move from place to place, a phenomenon known as Phoresy, and those Mites, even when numerous, are not detrimental to the host.  We will write to Eric Eaton in the hope of getting a more specific identification for you.  Was this Bee able to fly?

MasonBee with Mites

Eric Eaton Responds
Yes, a mason bee covered in mites.  I am no mite expert and am not sure whether they are beneficial to the bee, detrimental to the bee, or of no consequence at all.  Looks like even mite experts are still trying to sort them out:
I wish I could be more helpful.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Facebook Posting by Lisa Phillips:  My Mason bee blocks got infested with these mites. Built new blocks and burned the old ones.

Thank you so much for the quick response. I’m not sure if it was able to fly. It did not try to fly away when i walked up to it so i am assuming that it couldnt. Unfortunately those are the only two pictures that i got of it.  I really do appreciate you finding this out for me.  I had never seen anything like it.  The only thing i could think of is that it was a bee or some sort of wasp with eggs or babies.  I remember seeing a spider with the babies on its back.  Thank you again.

Hi again Justin,
The spider you saw is probably a species of Wolf Spider.  The female drags around her egg sac and carries she carries her spiderlings for a short time so they have time to disperse throughout her range.  We have been thinking about your sighting.  We suspect that it would be difficult for so many Mites to crawl on an adult Mason Bee, but a newly metamorphosed individual would be most vulnerable up until the time of its maiden flight.

Subject:  Cricket or Grasshopper
Geographic location of the bug:  Azerbaijan
Date: 01/17/2018
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I’m not sure if this is a grasshopper or a cricket let alone its species.  Also is it a female as it has an enlarged ovipositor? If anyone can help me with the species and sex (if possible) I would be ever so grateful
How you want your letter signed:  AM

Shieldback Katydid

Dear AM,
This is some species of Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae and it appears to have several red Mites on it.  You are correct that it is a female.

Oh wow thank you very much for such a fast reply and pointing out the mites, we weren’t sure what they were! I didn’t realise Katydids had wings? Out of interest how can you tell the difference between a cricket and katydid? Do you think it would be eating one of it’s own species, do you know in what situation they turn to cannibalism?
Many thanks,
Alice Marlow

Many Shieldback Katydids will eat their own species if necessary. 

Subject:  Bugs on bugs.
Geographic location of the bug:  Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
Date: 10/30/2017
Time: 12:39 PM EDT
Upon taking some photographs of a Granulated Carabid, I noticed that there was a smaller individual on the subject. Locating several other Carabids in the area, it was found that several individuals had these unknown hitchhikers, with numbers ranging between 0 and 4.
How you want your letter signed:  Scott

Mite on Ground Beetle

Dear Scott,
The creature you found on this Granulated Carabid is a Mite, and there are phoretic or hitchhiking mites that use beetles as a means of transportation.  Phoretic Mites are commonly found on Sexton Beetles in great numbers and the Mites take advantage of the flying Sexton Beetles to transport them to new locations to find food.  We know of no instances of phoretic Mites using Ground Beetles for transportation, so it is entirely possible that this particular Mite might have a more ominous reason for being on the Granulated Carabid you found.  Ground Beetle Macro Photography has an example of a Mite found on a Ground Beetle but there is no explanation.  This might be a phoretic Mite, but we haven’t the expertise with Mites to be certain.

Granulated Carabid


Subject:  Never seen this before in my life
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern New Hampshire
Date: 09/11/2017
Time: 04:42 PM EDT
I came across this bug today in the house bouncing off the window. It looked like a bee but clearly wasn’t, it had fuzzy tipped antennae and fuzzy front feet with bumps on it’s back end and when I caught it to release it, it released a scent like feces….I’ve never seen anything like it in 27years.
How you want your letter signed —
Thank you for any info! -Kate

Tomentose Burying Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Dear Kate,
This is a Tomentose Burying Beetle, and if you look really closely, you can see that there are Phoretic Mites crawling on its back.

Subject: What is this bug
Location: West Texas
August 21, 2017 11:21 am
I live in Texas and as children we called these bugs rainbugs because they only came out after a rain. I have not seen one in decades and figured they went the way of the horned toad, but I found ONE the other day. These are pictures of it. They do not bite or sting and have a red velvety covering. WHAT IS IT???
Signature: kathy mirick

Velvet Mite

Dear Kathy,
We are sorry to hear that you no longer see Horned Toads, but we suspect that the disappearance of native Ants like Harvester Ants is a contributing factor.  Invasive species like the Argentine Ants are compromising native species in many places.  This is a Velvet Mite, and you are correct that they generally appear shortly after a rain.

Subject: Lice? Bed bug? Flea????
Location: Denver Colorado
August 9, 2017 7:26 pm
Hi! I’ve been seeing these strange things crawl across my iPad or iPhone screen for the past week or so. They are brown in color. Quite small. I’ve had my phone on a bed or couch when they seem to show up. What is it?????
Signature: Disgusted in Denver

Computer Loving Mite???

Dear Disgusted in Denver,
Though your image lacks important critical clarity, we suspect this is a Mite.  We have several postings in our archive devoted to computer loving Mites.