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Mites and ticks

Micrograph of a citrus yellow mite, magnified about 200 times. It is commonly found on the foliage of citrus trees. Mites and ticks are tiny arachnids. They all have a single body segment and eight legs. Mites live in soil, water and even inside other animals. Some feed on insects or blood, while others feed on plants. Many mites are only visible with the use of a microscope. All ticks feed on the blood of other animals. They may carry blood-borne diseases.

Varroa destructor on its honeybee host, seen through a powerful microscope.


Varroa destructor is the scientific name of a mite that attacks honeybees. The mite lays its eggs in the bees' larva cells. The mites hatch out at the same time as the bees and they remain living on their hosts throughout their lives. By sucking the bees' blood, they cause varroatosis, a disease that is thought to wipe out colonies of honeybees across the world. By destroying the bee colonies and severely reducing bee numbers, the mites threaten the pollination of plants, including agricultural crops, worldwide.

There are about 48,200 known species of mite.

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