Beetle mites

Suborder Oribatidae


These minute eight-legged wonders are like miniature pac-men and pac-women.

Looking like slow-moving tiny dots, these critters are a critical part of the “infantry class” of visible decomposers.

However small they are, soil mites are reliable workers in worm bins. Their presence undeniably indicates healthy and bio-active soil.

Idea for environmental educators

Use Soil Mites to Discuss Overpopulation, Food Scarcity.

Though their tiny size might make them seem less interesting in the eyes of folks who attach importance to large animals, these eight-legged beasts grow in number quickly and provide a way to discuss food scarcity.

Why, and how? Because beetle mites will reproduce at their regular speed whether or not there is enough food to feed them.

So, while they may have food on Monday, they are completely unconscious to the fact that their food supply may run out by the following Monday.

In other words, if you do not feed the beetle mite colony, they will get restless and start little tiny food riots. And you can use this opportunity to discuss why modern apocalyptic and/or end-of the world zombie movies almost always feature scenes of frantic people stashing groceries or medical prescriptions into shopping carts.