What bug is the size of the head of a thin needle. orange/red and bites?
July 15, 2020 8:14 AM   Subscribe

What are they and how do we get rid of them? We have these teeny barely visible crawling bugs in our gazebo that bite. I've tried washing the chairs and tables down with pinesol but that hasn't helped. You can feel them immediately and it feels like a mosquito bite. Sometimes I see them crawl across a page in a book so their colour is clear.
posted by Tziv to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Where in the world are you?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:15 AM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

We had those in Michigan when I was a kid. Around here they are called "spider mites." They're harmless and not known to bite, though. But if you're sensitive to them it might feel like a bite where they've been on your skin. It sounds like you did the right thing with the washing. If that doesn't work, it might be time to call pest control.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:26 AM on July 15, 2020

Chiggers (trombiculid mites).

You can prevent bites by wearing insect repellent (even though they are not insects). A common recommendation is to clear vegetation and trim bushes since they like shade and woodsy areas, but I wouldn’t turn a pleasant, shady backyard into a sterile lawn just to get rid of them.
posted by musicinmybrain at 8:27 AM on July 15, 2020 [6 favorites]

If it's chiggers, then note that the adults, which are visible to the naked eye, do not bite. It's the larvae that bite, and they are extremely small and generally not visible without magnification except under ideal conditions.
posted by jedicus at 9:24 AM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Probably no-see-ums (aka biting midges). Their bite is one you feel and they can go right through many types of window screen.
You can't feel a chigger bite- it's painless. You don't know you had a chigger bite until quite some time after when it starts to itch.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 9:31 AM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

They are known in the midwest as Oak Mites and they are too numerous to effectively be eliminated but can be lightened with monthly sprays of Deet(?) pesticides but I hear essential oil of clove repels them or patchouli. They slip into cracks in window framework, holes in screens and exhaust vents and snuggle in between you and your snuggest clothes. Socks and bras are a favorite. The bites are very easily felt they sting at first but you have never itched so bad in your ever loving life if you get a cluster of them puppies. You can barely if ever actually see one because they move fast and are nearly brownish red and blend into oak and wood colored home decor and actually live in oak trees which is why they are called oak mites.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 9:50 AM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I live in Toronto, Ontario
posted by Tziv at 9:53 AM on July 15, 2020

It could be a species of thrips. While they are plant feeders, thrips will bite humans either because they mistake us for plants or they want the moisture in our skin. A few summers ago I got several bites while sitting out in my back yard (western Massachusetts).
posted by brianogilvie at 11:10 AM on July 15, 2020

I don't want to project my own insect horror story but wee bedbugs are red dots and their last bastion were the cushions on the porch chairs.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:53 AM on July 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

The cushions on our outdoor furniture were the last place we expected bedbugs. Tiny and red at first.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2020

I know exactly what you're talking about and I don't know what they are either but have wondered and spent more time fruitlessly googling than I'd like to admit. I've only ever experienced them in Austin, Texas. They are absolutely miniscule and when they land on your skin it stings terribly, but the moment you swipe them away the stinging stops and they don't leave a visible mark or bite, at least not for me.

Definitely not bed bugs or chiggers.
Probably not oak mites - color and shape is wrong.
Maybe spider mites - the color is similar. I think though, it might be thrips!
posted by bahama mama at 4:53 PM on July 16, 2020

Response by poster: Hi Everyone.
I just had someone come in for pest control to get rid of anthills. I asked him about those little insects. He said they were clover mites.
posted by Tziv at 3:16 PM on August 10, 2020

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