What are these tiny red bugs everywhere?

Have you seen them? Recently I have been pretty grossed out by these tiny red bugs that seem to be swarming over every surface.   I will be outside with my children and go to sit down on the sidewalk, or about to sit on a park bench, and there they are.  Tiny, pin-point sized red dots, moving rapidly in every direction.  I know they aren’t  going to hurt me,  but they still freak me out  and I usually end up standing.  I’ve noticed they show up every year in the Spring, and  so far I have seen them mostly on concrete and on the side of our town home.  They are probably on other surfaces as well but I imagine the would not show up very well on darker surfaces. It is hard enough to see them on the concrete and if you aren’t looking for them they are easily missed.  The next time you are sitting on concrete, have a look.

So what are they? All of my research points to clover mites. I first suspected red spider mites but I’ve learned those show up more frequently on the undersides of plant leaves and are supposed to be nearly impossible to see with the human eye.

The good news with clover mites is they don’t bite. The bad news is they do stain, and are easily crushed by human weight when you sit on them.  Yesterday we took our children to a fountain in the city surrounded by a concrete wall. They all laid themselves across the wall to put their fingers in the fountain, and ended up with small red smears all over their clothing from the tiny red bugs.

The other bad news is that they love bricks and siding, and often live in cracks on the side of your home.  And they are so small that screens will not keep them from migrating into your home.  So be watchful when you open your windows.  A good spray coverage of  Talstar One around window frames and window sills should do the trick. You can also use Talstar on outdoor surfaces where clover mites are a problem.

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