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We were just bringing back in the rubbish bin this morning and found in the lid of it a medium sized black beetle(about 3cm) which was partly covered by a mass of pin-head sized creatures.  They were red/brown and quite shiny with the shape a bit like a ladybird but just a bit flatter and much, much smaller.  The beetle didn't look too happy but was still very lively.  I have seen ants eating something alive before but never seen these things.   "Little fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite them............... and so on ad infinitum", comes to mind.  Anyone know what they are?

Anne

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They were probably mites.  I often see them on bumble bees - yes they are parasitic and probably causing the beetle quite a bit of bovver!  I think there is a particular type of mite causing problems with the indigenous honey bee population at the moment.  Of course mites and other parasites carry other organisms including bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa which can add to the injury.  Not a happy beetle I should imagine!

Valerie
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Dog, unfortunately, I have not yet been able to convince my OH that my life is incomplete without a digital camera and also I am afraid that I just let the beetle go and hoped that it might survive though I doubt it.

Yes, Pixytoadstool,  mites do sound (and looked) like the answer but I have never seen so many and they have looked softer bodied.  These had hard looking bodies.  At least half of the beetle's body was encrusted with the things two deep or more - they were a moving mass.  Disgusting!  At first I had thought it was a kind of parti-coloured beetle and picked it up for a better look (am getting longer in the tooth and shorter in vision).  When I saw the little beasties I am afraid that I dropped the poor beetle in the long grass and left him to his fate.

We have been in France four years now, but until October, without a garden.  Now, I am constantly finding things that I have never seen before and often I cannot think of the right keywords to use for an internet search.

Anne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[quote user="pads"]I know this is probaly a stupid answer !! But could it of been her babies as i have seen Large beetles before with babies on mass clinging on while being moved? [/quote]

Not a stupid answer at all.  It was my first thought when I dropped it, otherwise I would have put her under the tap and washed them off.  Afterwards I thought that I had never heard of beetles which actually nurtured their young, only spiders, but I really don't know.  If they were babies, they were very different from the parent which was the usual sort of long shaped beetle whilst the others were insects (not larvae) and very round and quite red also extremely mobile as they were milling around.

Anne

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[quote user="chris pp"]

Mites on  Ischnura elegans . Anything like these?

Mites on a copula of Ischnura elegans

Chris.

 

[/quote]

Yes, thank you Chris.  I think they could be.  There were far more of them though.  Do they kill the host or do they eventually drop off and leave it to recover?

Anne

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