Tiny, tiny, red spiders

At work today I ran into these spiders. There were two of them. I went to mail a letter and they were crawling on the postal meter. They were tiny, tiny things: about twice as long as the width of a pencil tip. It moved in a jerky, spidery kind of way. They were completely red. I went to flick one of them off, and killed it, leaving a tiny red smear across the cover of the machine. The second one I just squashed. From what I hear, the picnic table that is outside the building, about ten feet from that very spot, is infested with them.

So anybody know what these little red spiders are?

Could it have been a chigger?

If so, hope and pray that you didn’t get some of his brothers who stayed on you unnoticed.

They’re Red Spider Mites. Harmless, unless you’re a plant.

Yeah, there isn’t much worse than a chigger infestation on your skin. I was always tempted to shred my skin right off when I got them as a kid.

Could have been a red spider mite. They’re pretty common.
This Wiki article on Tetranychus urticae really needs a decent picture of the little bugger.

Ah, good. I was half expecting to get an answer like:

Remember an encounter with a four foot long red spider? Well, no, of course you don’t; her venom is an amnesiac. Anyway, it’s obviously been seven years, and those eggs are hatching now. Expect to wish for death soon.

Sounds like adult chiggers to me. (Adult chiggers look like miniscule red spiders.) The adults are harmless, but their larvae are annoying biting pests.

Spider mites. We have them all over the rocks and steps. Harmless. They won’t suck your blood.
Chiggers, IIRC, ar nasty little parasites that can give you infections. Unless there’s some local usage that has the same word alsio meaning spider mites.

Cal, it is the larval stage of the chigger that infests humans. The adult looks like a tiny red spider. See YWalker’s link above.

You mean those little red bug dealies?

I thought that to be a much better thread title :smiley:

Here’s an adult chigger.

And the fact that the picnic table (where human ankles abound) is infested with the things makes me think chiggers.

If you look up close, the red skin of mites have a very velvety appearance. Not hairy: velvety.

Spider Mites are tiny – 1/50 of an inch, according to one website. Chiggers are, even in their larval stagwe, much bigger. The tiny red moving bits on our steps aren’t chiggers, or else we’d have perpetual skin rashes. They’re very different creatures.

I think you may be mistaken, at least about the larval stage of chiggers. According to YWalker’s link, chigger larvae are only 1/150 - 1/120 of an inch long. Adult chigger mites are only 1/20 of an inch long

I have never knowingly seen a chigger, but it sounds to me like that’s what you’ve got. Red spider mites (of which I’ve seen plenty) are no way twice the size of a pencil tip. They are much smaller than what you describe.

The traditional test for spider mites is to hold a piece of white paper under the suspected plant. Tap the plant, and you’ll see what seems to be paprika on the paper.

Chiggers, on the other hand, produce an itching that goes down to the molecular level. If you get chiggers, wrap the affected area with a cloth soaked in whiskey. They’ll leave, because chiggers can’t be boozers.

They sound like red spider mites to me. If they are running around on relatively dry surfaces like a postal meter and a picnic table they are very unlikely to be chiggers. In my experience, at least, chiggers are mainly confined to somewhat moist surfaces like plants and damp soils. Red spider mites are frequently seen on drier surfaces.

Since we don’t know how sharp **saoirse’s ** pencils are, we don’t know exactly how big twice the length of a tip is; but spider mites are somewhat less than 1 mm.

The door is over thattaway ------------------------------------------------->

Heh! Now go directly to your room! :wink: