CLOSED: Bug ID?? (sorry no picture)

Bettendorf, IA

Our backyard has these little bright red bugs (like fire engine red) crawling all over he place. They are very small (like round pin top size) and aren't really gathering anywhere specific but they are busy getting and going somewhere. I have noticed them on the gorund in my shade garden, on the patio table walking arouns the rim and a ton on the cover of the kids sandbox. They don't seem to be damaging or eating anything but with the volume of them I have seen I worry that if/when they do get hungry what will they go for?? We did just have 3-4 days of pretty solid rain, too. Any thoughts?

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 9b)

Are they insects or spiders? (6 legs or 8?)

If insects, any black (or other color) markings?


Las Cruces, NM

Perhaps velvet mites? See:

I don't think they harm anything. I remember seeing a lot of these tiny little guys in southern Indiana.

Patrick Alexander

Bettendorf, IA

They have 6 legs and 2 antennae. The body is almost round on the little ones and on the bigger ones is more elongated or oval. Also the littler they are the more red they appear. On the big ones (adults I assume they are still only red but the shape allows for what appears to be a shadow on the back. If you look quick it might look like a black or charcoal gray area but look more closely and you see it is the height of the body making a shadow.

I don;t thikn they are the velvet mite but that did lead me to mite as a possibility - maybe a running mite? Thanks!!

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

How 'bout a red bug? Seriously. We have them here.

Las Cruces, NM

6 legs would rule out the mites. A couple of other possibilities occur to me. If these guys are clumped on the stems of new plant growth, you might have one of the red aphids, like this one:

There are also several species of true bugs (Hemiptera) with bright red nymphs. One of them is the burrower bug, Sehirus cinctus: Most of the true bugs with red nymphs have black heads, but there are at least a couple that don't. Most of them aren't identifiable as nymphs, and may be any color as adults.

Patrick Alexander

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Check this out:

Bettendorf, IA

Hmmm - they don't look like either of those 2. I have to find my camera and take a picture I think.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Maybe here:


This message was edited Jul 23, 2006 6:26 PM

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

That was my first thought velvet mites....neat little critters!

Bettendorf, IA

Goodness - they don't look like any of these links. The kids keep screaming TICKS! Red ticks!

My husband has the camera somewhere and it is driving me nuts. I will bet as soon as I get a picture someone will know

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

If they are mites like the ones I've seen (red colored, not sure if they're the red velvet ones or not), they are so small there's no way you'd be able to accurately count the legs without a magnifying glass, so I wouldn't necessarily rule out mites just because you only saw 6 legs. Or if they're big enough that you can count legs easily then they're probably something else.

Bettendorf, IA

They are definitely big enough to count legs. Stll tiny litttle bugs but you can accurately see what's what. I would sompare them in size to the top side of a pin

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

How about the Red Spider Mite? It has 8 legs but you may not have counted the front ones as pairs.

Bettendorf, IA

Dang it - that isn't them either. I tried to take pictures but have to figure out the Macro mode on my camera - everything came out blurred too much

Bettendorf, IA

Found out what they are!! Box elder nymphs. Unfortunately we have several box elders on our property, too (as do the neighbors - the farm that was originally this subdivision must have been abundant with them). Found this on an IA State entemology site (copied a picture, too - mine were WAY too blurry to see anything). The picture shown is of one that is bigger and older than what I have been seeing. The ones in my yard are still solid red. Have to make sure to seal everything up well this fall!:

"Boxelder bugs have a simple life cycle of three stages: egg, nymph and adult. The adults are well-known; the nymphs look very similar but are smaller and bright red because they don't yet have the black wings to cover their abdomen. The picture above is of an older nymph with the black wing buds showing. Younger and smaller nymphs are more red with little if any discernable black markings where the wings will someday be.

These bright red, soft insects are very abundant and present in unlikely places, and not just on trees like we expect."

Thumbnail by pegzhere

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