• August 11, 2020

GARDENING: ‘Rain bug’ aids ecosystem - Odessa American: Gardening

e-Edition Subscribe

GARDENING: ‘Rain bug’ aids ecosystem

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020 12:45 am

The red velvet mite is sometimes referred to as the “rain bug” since they will frequently reemerge after it has rained. They have eight legs and chelicerae like spiders and are approximately 1/8 inch long. They are vital to the environment and play a large role in the soil ecosystem. They do not bite or sting and will feed on insects that eat fungi and bacteria, stimulating the decomposition process.

They get the name red velvet mite because they have tiny hairs on their bodies that resemble velvet. They are closely related to spiders, scorpions and harvestmen. As larvae they will attach themselves to a variety of arthropods and feed parasitically. They will suck blood (hemoglobin) from their arthropod host. Once they become nymphs and adults, they will move on to larger prey in the soil such as other mites, the eggs of insects as well as snails and other wingless insects.

They have bright red coloring due to the carotenoids in their body, warning predators of their toxicity.

Next time you see these in your yard, do not be alarmed, they are not there to hurt you or your garden. They may look daunting, but they just want to do their part to help keep our ecosystem functioning.

For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland or visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu or westtexasgardening.org.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 23%
Winds: SSE at 14mph
Feels Like: 96°

Your Extended Forecast


High 101°/Low 75°
Mainly clear. Lows overnight in the mid 70s.


High 104°/Low 77°
Abundant sunshine. Highs 102 to 106F and lows in the upper 70s.


High 105°/Low 75°
Sunshine. Highs 103 to 107F and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.