The name of the red velvet mite (Trombidiidae) just got added to the list of the most unlikely pets in Adilabad district head quarter town. Yes, people here are purchasing these velvety insects, also called rain bugs or ‘aridra purugu’ in Telugu and ‘beerbahuti’ in Hindi, to keep them as pets at home, despite their life span in the adult phase being much shorter.
The rain bugs are bright red in colour and the coat of fine hairs is velvet like. These insects appear in soil during the start of the rainy season.
“I collect more than a 100 of these creatures everyday and sell it for a price between ₹2 and ₹5 each,” said Md. Shahid, a school student belonging to Bokkalguda locality, who has been collecting the mites from the aerodrome since the last few days.
“On the first day, I just happened to take a few of the lovely creatures home and they became an instant hit with our people and now I am earning between ₹200 and ₹500 every day,” he disclosed of the business aspect.
Md. Shahid and one of his friends have little to do with schools being closed due to COVID-19. “We chanced upon the business when we went to the aerodrome for a stroll recently,” he pointed out. The boy uses common sense to advise his customers on the care to be taken with these pets. He asks them to feed the insects with grass much like what he puts into the bottle when he picks them up.