Known variously as Velvet Mite, Rani Keeda, Rain Mite, Beerboti and Bir Bahuti. These insects are related to mites, yes the same mites which you can find on dogs! Scientific name – Trombidium grandissimum. They emerge from the ground just after first rains and are found almost through out the central Indian plains…
As children we use to go to the grave yard to collect them and make them race, keep in glass jars – we knew that they are used in traditional medicine and felt very yuck!! who would want to eat them.
It turns out that amongst it purported medicinal property is some similarity with Viagra… in fact the name Bir Bahuti – literally meaning “the new bride” is an allusion to that very myth.
This myth will probably be the cause of its ultimate destruction – over the years a huge international market has emerged for it and they are collected not few at a time but by kilograms!! They are then dried in sun and shipped to Varanasi where there are Bir Bahuti oil extraction factories.