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Although a terrace or a balcony does not have a natural origin, these places also represent a habitat for numerous small animals. Sometimes the biodiversity of the animals is fascinating, but sometimes it also becomes a nuisance. However, chemical agents should never be used to combat it. Fortunately, there are numerous biological alternatives that are easy and inexpensive to produce yourself in the form of simple home remedies. In order for them to be effective, however, the gardener should be aware of which pest it is. So who is behind it when small, red animals cavort on the terrace and balcony?

Little red animals

There is a high probability that the small, red animals in the outdoor area are one of the following types of mites:

  • spider mites
  • velvet mites
  • predatory mites

notice: These animals are also popularly referred to as “blood lice”. But where does this name actually come from? This is not a scientific synonym. The expression came about because the pests burst as soon as the gardener crushes them. A red secretion then comes out of the body, reminiscent of blood and leaves red spots on the surface.

spider mites

  • comes in different types
  • worldwide occurrence
  • belongs to the genus of arachnids (eight legs)
  • belongs to the pests
  • 0.25 to 0.8mm in size
  • green, yellow, orange or brown body
  • translucent body
Spider mite infestation

Preferred Conditions

The spider mite loves warm temperatures and dry air. Especially in autumn and winter she finds these conditions in the apartment. At this time, the spider mite most often affects indoor plants such as

  • room ivy
  • fuchsias
  • rubber trees
  • Cyprus grass

The pest is also common in greenhouses. If the gardener cultivates susceptible plants on the terrace or balcony, there is a high probability of spread here as well.

Are spider mites dangerous?

Spider mites can cause a lot of damage to plants. The pests suck the plant sap from the leaves and thus rob the plant of the sugar it needs for healthy growth. If the gardener does not take effective control measures in good time, the plant will most likely die.
A spider mite infestation on plants manifests itself in the following symptoms:

  • bright speckles on the leaves
  • cobweb-like threads
  • dead leaves in the final stages

tip: The cobweb-like threads are not always visible to the naked eye. To be sure that it really is a spider mite infestation, it is helpful to dust the plant with a little water. The small droplets then remain clearly visible on the threads.


  • increase humidity
  • Cover the plant with a plastic bag for two weeks
  • Make spray solutions from neem or canola oil

fruit tree spider mite

A subspecies of the spider mite is the fruit tree spider mite (Panonychus ulmi), also known as the red spider. As the name suggests, it primarily attacks fruit trees such as

  • apple trees
  • pear trees
  • plum trees
  • or grapevines

Their body size is around 0.5 mm. The females are easily recognized by their brick red body color. The red spiders also have fine, white bristles. If small, red animals cavort on the terrace or balcony, the spider mite is probably this species.

velvet mites

  • grows up to 4 mm
  • scarlet body, also hairy
  • live parasitically on insects
  • stay on the ground
  • feed on small animals and insects

Preferred Conditions

The velvet mite prefers warm places. It therefore occurs most frequently on walls and stones in the blazing sun.

Are velvet mites dangerous?

In contrast to the spider mite, the velvet mite does not pose a threat to garden or indoor plants. On the contrary, it even feeds on aphids and is therefore actually one of the aphids beneficials. However, biologists suspect that infected velvet mites can be dangerous for humans. The small, red animals are considered borreliosis carriers.


In the case of a light infestation, it is sufficient to hose down the terrace and balcony with a garden hose. In addition, the small, red animals shy away from glass substrates and barriers. It is therefore helpful to choose the terrace edging from the material mentioned. Windows near the balcony should not be left open for too long. If there is an increased need for ventilation in summer, insect screens prevent the little animals from getting into the house.

predatory mites

  • belong to the arachnids
  • economic use against pest infestation

Preferred Conditions

Most predatory mites live epigean, that is, above ground. Only a few animals lurk on leaves for their prey. The beneficial insects move even less frequently in the top layer of soil.

Are predatory mites dangerous?

Although predatory mites are undesirable on terraces and balconies, they are very useful in the garden. Farmers and gardeners even use the mites specifically against pests. Therefore, the animals are also commercially available. They feed on the spider mites and red spiders described above. However, its use is limited in time.


Since predatory mites are beneficial and pose no danger to people or plants, the gardener should also tolerate them on the balcony.

tip: Have you been observing small, red animals outdoors for a long time, but cannot tell which species they are? In this case, hairspray destroys all kinds of unwanted pests.

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