The large size and vivid color of red velvet mites (Figure 1) make them hard to overlook as they crawl across sidewalks, driveways, or soil. The red color of these mites is sometimes mistaken for blood and people fear that the mites are parasites of humans and animals. The color appears to be a warning to potential predators that the mites are distasteful and should be avoided.
The active adults live in soil, humus, and leaf litter where they feed on small arthropods. Most of their time is spent in the soil with occasional visits to the surface. The larvae attach to insects and other invertebrates where they feed as external parasites. There is no need for control.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Plant Entomologist