fast little red bugs

jizaref(5)June 30, 2005

I am new gardener. I've noticed some fast little tiny red bugs. We have a pool area, and I first noticed them scurrying along the white edge of the pool. I've also noticed a few on leaves of various flowers and plants, including a few genovese basil plants.

They are about 2mm in size. Solid red color, not bright or shiny. I think they have six legs.

I've looked on this forum and don't think they are red aphids or harvest mites. I've tried to find a good picture of a spider mite in situ, but can't find a good photo that is not an extreme closeup.

What could they be? Should anything be done? They now seem to have left the pool area, but appear in various plants. If I spray an insecticidal soap or pyrethrins or neem, is this safe to do on tomato plants or leaf herbs like basil?

Thanks for your help.


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Perhaps clover mites.

If so, a nuisance rather than a pest.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 4:19PM
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boxelder nymphs? that is my guess. the nymphs are red and develop more black as they grow. black legs, and can often be found scurrying around in the day. at night, undersides of leaves like aphids.

i did not know this until this year when i had them id'd at the extension service. until then, i thought the smallest ones looked like rosy apple aphid photo in my audobon guide.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 11:14PM
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oops, i reread the 2mm in size! i retract my suggestion.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 6:02PM
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Yea, box elder bugs would be my guess too. They love the heat.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 6:23PM
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I know next to nothing about insects, but yesterday I happened to notice the creature that has been feasting on the foliage of one of the Asiatic lilies--one of the few to escape being eaten by the red squirrels, I might add. The bug I saw is bright red, and very fast; it is still on the loose.

This thread caught my interest, and I ended up finding an interesting site (, and a thread on red insects, which led me to ponder someone's suggestion that the red bug in question might be (one of many stages of) a "true bug."

If anyone cares to check 'em out, there are some photos from a search on for "true bug" at:

What a fascinating world, the bug world, that is...

Maureen from Maine

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:16AM
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Yes Maureen , I agree it is an excellent site . Currently I am being overwhelmed with leafhoppers . Never saw so many as I have seen today ..

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:21PM
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what a cool site!
i was wishing i took a pic of "my" boxelder nymphs, but my camera would not be able to do them justice.

Here is a link that might be useful: short cut to link

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 8:37PM
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I was looking for information on some little red bugs that were around my house and plants and the description you gave sounds a little like what I am looking for. The closest thing I can find that looks anything like it is the wheel bug nymph. The pictures I have found don't look exactally like what I've seen around my house but maybe I'm heading in the right direction. I've seen from about 1mm in size and also 2mm in size so I figure they are growing. Hope this helps, two web pages I came across, and

Here is a link that might be useful: What's That Bug

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:01PM
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