Feature Contributors


Sidewalks are for more than just humans or people walking their dogs.

One member of the mite family enjoys going for a stroll on concrete surfaces. So much its determination to spend a warm spring day on the hard surface we even call them concrete mites.

These bright red mites are very noticeable scurrying over the light-colored pavement and they arose suspicion in people's minds that they are up to no good. They are often seen in large numbers hurrying around on patios, masonry foundations, outside walls of homes and buildings, stonework, and other outdoor objects such as trash bins and picnic tables for a brief period.

Concrete mites are often mistaken for clover mites. In fact, clover mites were the name I was given for these insects 30 years ago. But like many things in science, as we know more the name changes. Clover mites are reddish brown in color, and the two front legs are about two times the length of the other legs. Additionally, clover mites are found on clover or surrounding plants whereas concrete mites are bright red and often seen on the surface of concrete and masonry. Fast moving for their size, and sunshine loving, they are most active on nice sunny days.

Concrete mites are eight-legged, just like spiders, so they are not technically insects. They have a life cycle of four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. During all their active stages they are predators with piercing mouths. They eat other soft-bodied arthropods, including mites, small insects or insect eggs. They also are capable of supplementing their meat diet with pollen, especially in their larval stage. Research has revealed that the mites often start the season as pollen-feeders and switch to a meat diet later in the season as more prey becomes available. This explains why the mites can be found on nearly any outdoor surface and in flowers because pollen is everywhere and they are in search of food.

Technically they are actually beneficial mites. They do not cause damage to household products or homes. They can be a nuisance pest when a large number of them invade homes or congregate on surfaces where people may sit. When squashed or sat upon, they leave red stains. The stain is not blood; it is just their natural color.

Rarely do you need control as these beneficial mites' mass gatherings are short-lived. Should these mites threaten to spoil an outdoor event or invade the interior of your home, they can be controlled with a surface spray of a pyrethroid insecticide such as products containing bifenthrin.

They do like white clothing and events that feature a lot of white. I could see them being an uninvited guest at an outdoor wedding ceremony. Being the selfish type, only just thinking of their next meal, and lacking in social graces, they wouldn’t bring any gifts.