I 'mite' have a problem (photo attached)

KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)February 13, 2013

I've noticed over the following month and a half that we've had quite the abnormal amount of little red mites in our new yard and there seems to have been a major boom in numbers. To the point where you can see the ground moving. It is really disturbing.

Anyway, I can't tell what kind of mites these are, mainly because some are reddish while others are brownish and are everywhere, from my compost pile ( in the photo, I intentionally left the new scraps there to give an idea on what I'm dealing with, and that was only 10 minutes in. That grain, that's orzo, for size reference.) to the walkways. Are they soil mites, bird mites, a mix? I had two on me earlier that I tried to crush, but like tick nymphs that was near impossible.

I used an organicide in the yard (and now our yard smells like ocean death- my neighbors will love me) in hopes it would at least curb the numbers, but if I have to I do have non-organic pesticide. If it's ticks, I don't want them. I just don't want to kill the other bugs that -I personally- enjoy, like the spiders, earwigs, millipedes, and sowbugs. I know many people consider them pests with the rest, that's fine, but I'd like to keep mine. I know the organicide will take out some of them too, but I hope not to the degree of the other pesticide...which I also don't want to use because I like my honey bees to come around.

At any rate, suggestions on ID'ing these guys. I will try to get better pictures.

This post was edited by KrakenQueen on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 14:30

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calliope(6)

Of course you will kill the other more desirable insects, because if these are mites they're not an insect, but an arachnid and are especially difficult to control with most chemicals. The others will go down before the mites do. If they are clover mites, and I think that's a good possibility, control in the yard isn't how it's normally done. You just need to keep them from going into your home. They have population booms in spring and tend to go dormant when it gets hotter and in dry weather. They don't bite humans or pets, and in compost piles might actually be considered a beneficial. Google clover mites and see what you think. Never.......I can say that almost without reservation.....spray for something you haven't identified first.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Have you taken samples of these things to your local office of your University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service for proper identification? As calliope has already stated spraying, or otherwise applying, any pesticide can do much more harm then good if your target is not affected by what it is you apply, and beneficial insects will be harmed.
Is there a problem that requires a solution or are these things just there?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:32AM
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calliope(6)

"Is there a problem that requires a solution or are these things just there?"

Pretty much it in a nutshell.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:30AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

At any rate, suggestions on ID'ing these guys.

==>>> NEVER....EVER.. treat .. then look for an ID ...

ID .. then treat.. IF necessary ...

ken

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:28AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

As far as the ID goes...one clue from Queen just doesn't add up for me. In my experience with clover mites and their ilk, they smush easily...usually leaving a red smear behind. She indicated that these seem to have a hard exoskeleton.

Is there any chance of more pictures, queen? Still a mystery, as far as I'm concerned.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I'm still leaning on clover mites. Queen mentioned squishing them on her skin (don't think I ever tried that) which may be why they were tough to squish. I usually squish them on a hard surface (they love my stone house).

tj

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:41PM
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calliope(6)

Clover mites will have very long pair of forelegs. I also thought they should be easily squished......the red mess is almost a diagnoistic. I'm assuming they are mites. She has the cooties, any chance you can look at them with a hand lens to see if they even have eight legs? ;-)

If they don't, then they aren't mites. A fuzzy photo of a tiny creature almost leaves us to go by descriptions only and keep pumping questions.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

A new post has been added about 'spider mites in worm bin '. Check out the great picture included....I'm thinking that you have worm bin /compost mites. Let us know.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:25PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Hey guys, sorry for the extended delay in replying. I've been very tired (fibro/cfs), the cold has kept me indoors and we went out of town over the weekend.

It does seem as if there was a major bloom of worm bin mites (soil mites, yes?), however I did mention that several I had on me I attempted to crush (between my fingernails) and they just slipped out and kept moving along- I asked a friend and they're pretty certain those few were seed ticks. Which of course made my skin crawl. I haven't had much time to re-investigate due to rain and the cool/cold weather, but I will check for more seed ticks again when the temperature allows me to be more mobile outdoors.

I am normally against the idea of spray first ask questions later, but being there were two types that I saw and one of which had me concerned, I opted for the unusual route. The soil/worm bin mites are still in good numbers (noticed them wandering all over the place) and I haven't seen a decline in the earwigs, sowbugs, or spiders. I did see a lovely decline in the aphids and army cutworms that found my carrots, broccoli, and cilantro-.. didn't notice any seed ticks, I'll re-check on a warmer day.

In the future I will be sure to ask first and spray later. Again, it's not my normal plan of attack.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:35PM
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calliope(6)

Easy way to tell, if they are ticks (and ticks are arachnids just like mites and have eight legs) you can tell by looking at one with a hand lens. Juvenline ticks only have six legs until their first blood meal. It's important to know if you have a massive bloom of seed ticks, since they are implicated in lyme. Why don't you just quit messing around asking online and friends and take a few into your extension department for positive identification?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:31AM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Messing around implies that I am intentionally dragging my feet and not taking this seriously, let's not make assumptions please and have some patience. I said I would inspect further when the weather was warm due to my fibromyalgia. I currently have no way to get to the local extension department and am therefor doing my best with what energy I have available. I apologize for causing frustration in my lack of abilities to do things quickly, I have had to learn to find ways that suit my situation that are easy on me physically. If that means "messing around on the internet" and asking friends who also garden as doing research, then by all means I will do it that way first in order to protect myself from discomfort.

Here is a better photograph of the mites. I saw no sign of the tick-like ones from last time, they did look different.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:41PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

Another shot

This post was edited by KrakenQueen on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 16:48

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:42PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

.Last photo

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 4:50PM
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calliope(6)

When you mention seed ticks, is when I tell you not to delay seeking positive identification and it has nothing to do with you in any way dragging your feet or your physical disabilities. It has to do with they are a nasty disease vector (more than just lyme) and you shouldn't be exposing yourself to them if at all necessary and you NEED to know if simply being outside on your property is a risk if you find them on your body, and you need to know that as soon as possible. I have known too many people who have contracted lyme disease, and I was trying to spare you that possibility in an emphatic way. Adult male black leg or deer ticks are quite tiny, and will feed in the nymphal stage.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:26PM
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KrakenQueen(8b, Savannah GA)

I understand and thank you for the concern, and it's appreciated, however it's not that easy for me to get out on my own all the time, especially right now. I'm also aware of the danger ticks can pose, I grew up in the mountains of NC and 99% of my free time was spent wandering the woods and creeks from sun-up to nightfall. Somehow I got lucky.

I have friends who unfortunately have suffered long term from lyme and know of another person who recently contracted it with very bad effects, and she's pregnant. So far I haven't known anyone to catch the other disastrous nasties.

I already have a major aversion to ticks and fleas, they wig me out. Though I can't make it to the office, I am sure I can email them or call asking about someone being able to come by and scope out the yard. Ticks aren't incredibly common in our area which is why I was curious/surprised when the ones I assumed to be different mites and tried crushing didn't crush. In the 12 years we've lived here I haven't seen a single one on any of my pets (though, we do dose monthly). Chiggers, on the other hand, are prolific thanks to the spanish moss but even those we have done a pretty good job avoiding.

I will call/email tomorrow to see what can be done and if I can get someone out here.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:58PM
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