Giant Red Velvet Mites

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What do giant red velvet mites look like?

giant red velvet mite crawling on mulch in tucson

Giant Red Velvet Mites are visible to the naked eye growing to a length of 1/2 inch.  They are covered with red, velvety fine hairs.  They have eight legs.

Life cycle of the giant red velvet mite

Incomplete metamorphosis

Eggs are laid and young hatches emerging with six legs rather than eight.  The young will go through a series of molts reaching the adult stage and forming their fourth set of legs.

Habits of giant red velvet mites

  • Diet: Pests including termites.
  • Activity: Mainly underground, but come above ground after monsoon rains.
  • Preferred Climate: Warm, humid.
  • Defense: Coloration.
  • Cautions: Irritation can occur from the oils they release if on your skin, however, very rare to have human contact without human intent.
  • Home Invasion: Not a typical concern because they live in the soil.

Are giant red velvet mites dangerous?

Giant red velvet mites do not bite or sting however, skin can become irritated when their oils are released.

Where do giant red velvet mites nest?

Giant red velvet mites are notorious for making multiple nests in an area they settle in. Loose bedding is a common nesting site for these red mites. 

Helpful hints for giant red velvet mites

To prevent giant red velvet mite problems on your property, try implementing these prevention tips:

  • Keep other insect populations under control to minimize their food source(s). 
  • Monitor their population and if you notice eggs anywhere, make a note on whether they are increasing year over year. 
  • These red mites may develop a resistance to insecticide so talk with a local pest control specialist

Interesting facts about giant red velvet mites

In India, the oils of the giant red velvet mite are considered an aphrodisiac, therefore, they are often captured and sold in stores.

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