Monday, 8 February 2016

The Mother of all Chiggers!!


A short "picture post"...
which will leave you scratching!
This is a Red Velvet Mite from the genus Eutrombicula...
probably Eutrombidium rostratus Acarien velouté....
and is regarded by the US Military as a creature of concern to deployed military forces#....
what about us gardeners!!



I couldn't capture the velvetyness as well as I'd've liked


Their offspring are Chiggers...
those NASTY, BITEY critters that get us around harvest time...
hence the other name for the chigger...
harvest mite.
"Chiggers in the genus Eutrombicula do not transmit any known pathogens to people, but they can cause irritating bites, dermatitis and severe itching when they feed on the unsuspecting host. They are widely distributed in the Western Hemisphere, and Europe."
The adult pictured above had the cheek to be crawling up the wall indoors...
it was rapidly put outside!
I probably shoulda squished it....
but to me it is also a "money spider"....
and I'd just bought a Euromillions ticket!

# 2006, U.S. Armed Forces Pest Management Board -- Field Guide to Venomous and Medically Important Invertebrates Affecting Military Operations: Identification, Biology, Symptoms, Treatment

10 comments:

Susan said...

Bane of my gardening life, bloody harvest mites.

LaPré DelaForge said...

What I would like to know is....
the adults were more common on the allotments in Leeds than they are here....
this is the first "money spider" I've seen in three years....
so why wasn't I bitten to death there....and why here?

Cro Magnon said...

I really know nothing about these things. Are they something we should beware of? I do occasionally see tiny red spiders around; are they these?

LaPré DelaForge said...

Cro, most probably...
Do you get bitten badly around August and September....
especially on the legs...
it is most likely the larval stage of these if you do.
But people react differently to the poisons that the invertebrate world injects into us...
so you might not react at all.

LaPré DelaForge said...

And Cro...as for size...this was about a third the size of a Swan Vesta match head.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

I have never knowingly seen one of these. I will now be keeping an eye out for little red spider things. Amelia

LaPré DelaForge said...

Amelia, they tend to be most visible if they are crawling across something like dark, damp wood.... or soil... or, as here, a white wall.
On a mortar background or dry wood, or soil, they are almost invisible...
as you can see from the pictures... they are not a bright red... and this one was a large one!!

Sheila said...

Here in Texas we are plagued with these in May and June usually
following our spring rains, Poor dog also suffers from the bites.
As you say, it's the larval stage which bites. We don't walk out in
the grass unless we're wearing long pants tucked into mid-calf socks.

Kerry said...

Not aware that I've seen these but I do get bitten, so will be more cautious from now on. Why is it me that gets bitten, not hubby even though I wear long trousers and wellies when gardening??

LaPré DelaForge said...

Kerry... pheromones, pheromones...
and possibly... deodorants#.
Also wellies and long trousers still allow access...
trousers tucked into long socks is better...
see Sheila's comment.

# I think mozzies have learnt that citronella = food source!!
But not sure about Chiggers....