Clover Mites and Clover Mite Control

Identifying Clover Mites

clover mites

The full-grown clover mite is slightly smaller than a pin head and has a bright reddish to reddish-brown body. They typically appear in large numbers.

Clover mites look like dark red specks crawling around siding, doors, windows, drapes, curtains and furniture. When crushed, clover mites leave a red stain. The stain is not blood, it's just their natural color.

The front legs are as long as the body, and extend forward.

clover mites

Clover Mite Biology and Habits

  • Clover mites are an arachnid, a close relative of spiders and ticks
  • Clover mites leave a red stain when crushed.
  • Clover mites feed on grasses, clovers, and certain other plants in the lawn and around the home.
  • They often crawl into cracks and crevices to molt and lay eggs. Typical "hiding places" are under the loose bark of trees, on foundation walls, beneath siding, and around window frames
  • Clover mites do not damage buildings and furnishings, nor do they injure humans and pets.
  • They attack a number of grasses and plants found in yards.
  • Clover mites are plant feeders that have been found infesting more than 200 different plant. They suck the sap.
  • They can live off algae and mold.
  • Clover mites live close by and on their food sources.
  • They become a real nuisance upon migration into buildings.
  • Heavy migrations of clover mites into houses are common in the early summer and fall.
  • Clover mites build up large populations around structures surrounded with lush, well-fertilized lawns and shrubbery.
  • Large populations of clover mites may occur on the flat roofs of commercial buildings and are associated with moss growth.
  • Clover mite females lay about 70 eggs each.
  • They lay eggs in the crevices of buildings, under sidings, and on the underside of bark at the base of trees.
  • Clover mites eggs do not hatch below 40 degrees F or above 86 degrees F.
  • They lay their eggs during the spring.
  • After eggs hatch, the newly emerged immature clover mites move to find hosts, molt, and pass through two nymphal stages.
  • Clover mites in the egg stage may either hibernate (overwinter) or become dormant during the summer under tree bark, in cracks of fence posts and foundation walls, under sheathing of buildings or in other dry protected sites, during adverse weather conditions.
  • Clover mites are most troublesome in early spring and again in fall, especially on the east and south sides of buildings.
  • They can be found randomly through the house, but very frequently on the south side of the house because of the warmth.
  • PA. Dept. of Agriculture : Clover Mites

James Kalisch, Department of Entomology, UNL

Barb Ogg, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Clover Mite Control Measures

  1. Clover mites mechanical treatments:

    The most effective prevention is removing any grass and weeds up to 24 inches away from the foundation of the house.

    Placing a plant-free band of gravel, coarse sand, marbles, lava rock, or wood chips around the foundation helps keep clover mites away from the structure. Clover mites have difficulty crossing such barriers.

    Avoid excessive watering and fertilization near the structure, to avoid the lush growth of host plants close to the house.

  2. Clover mites chemical treatments:

    If the mites have already invaded the home causing an infestation, chemical controls, such as Bifen IT will solve the problem.

    Bifen IT

    Bifen IT can be applied to lower foundational exterior walls up to the first floor window. A 10 to 20 foot wide strip of nearby lawn where the mites are found during their invasion period should be sprayed also. Thorough treatment is required for consistent results. Sprays are usually applied at the rate of 15-20 gallons of finished spray per 1,000 square feet.

    Hose End Sprayer
    Hose End Sprayers
    , make the job much easier and helps with consistent application.

    Spray the walls and foundation to the point of runoff and the vegetation until it is entirely wet.

    Use a vacuum cleaner inside the structure to pick up the live mites without crushing them so that they don't stain. Dispose of the vacuum bag.