What Is A Clover Mite?

Clover mites are tiny red bugs, measuring about 1/30th of an inch, smaller than the head of a pin. They are actually arachnids, so they have eight legs instead of the six legs that insects have. They are distinguishable from other mites by their front pair of legs, which is very long compared to the other six legs, and may sometimes be mistaken for their antennae. Clover mites differ from many pests in that they prefer cooler weather. Their activity peaks in the cooler, early spring months when they can become the greatest nuisance to homeowners.

Once the hotter summer weather arrives, clover mites will lay eggs and become latent. In the northeastern US, for example, they may go into a dormant state (aestivate) around May and remain that way until September.

Clover mite populations may become large since females can lay up to 70 eggs and each becomes a mature adult in 30 days or less under suitable circumstances. Clover mites are parthenogenetic, which means the females are able to reproduce without being fertilized by the males. No male clover mites have been found. Any eggs that are laid in fall will overwinter until hatching the following spring. These eggs are often positioned in the cracks and crevices underneath a piece of bark, or those of a home’s exterior or between walls, creating issues for homeowners when those eggs hatch. Clover mites may also overwinter in their other life stages. The winter eggs of the clover mite begin to hatch very early in the spring.

Thick shrubbery around homes creates the perfect conditions for a clover mite infestation. Populations of the insects are at their peak in the spring and early fall, when plants are thriving.

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What Do Clover Mites Eat?

Clover mites are not blood feeders, but feed on plants outside, getting their nutrition from sucking plant juices from grasses, clover and other plants common to lawns. Clover mites can become a nuisance in multi-story buildings since they can live on rooftops and patios where mold or mildew provide sources of food. Clover mite activity increases as temperatures start to drop, during which time they pay homage to their name by feasting on clovers, over-fertilized grass and many other plants. In fact, clover mites eat more than 200 different plant species, including some flowers. 

 

How Do I Know If I Have A Clover Mite Infestation?

Seeing clover mites crawling on surfaces like the siding and window sills (inside and outside) on the sunny sides of your home is typically the clearest indication that you have a clover mite infestation. Other common spots that clover mites can be found include around pools, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces that receive a fair amount of sun during the daytime.

 

Why Do I Have Clover Mites Around My House?

Abundant in well-fertilized lawns, clover mites get into houses through cracks around windows and doors, especially on the sunny south and southwestern side of buildings. Because of their small size, even the tiniest of gaps may provide entry. The pests can also climb home siding to come inside through openings into attics and upper levels.

Clover mites are the most active in the fall. At this time, they move from their normal habitat and crawl inside homes and office buildings. Clover mites sneak indoors to avoid cold temperatures and typically move back outside in the spring.

Home infestations are most severe when sudden changes in weather or habitat occur. Populations typically move indoors in autumn when the plants that clover mites feed on start to perish, causing these pests to invade in high numbers — even by hundreds of thousands. Additional infestations occurring in the spring are typically driven by the sudden growth of lush vegetation around a home’s perimeter, which is especially palatable to clover mites.

 

Are Clover Mites Dangerous?

This dark reddish brown pest, which is smaller than a pinhead, does not pose a threat to human health since they do not feed on blood like other species of mites, and they do not cause major damage to homes. Once inside, they will soon die, but not until they have created problems resulting from an annoying presence.

The issue with clover mites is that they can be a severe nuisance when they invade structures. The typical person's reaction when seeing clover mites in the home is to smash them. When smashed, adult clover mites leave behind a red stain, especially on items that are lighter in color such as curtains, wallpaper, rugs and other furniture. This stain is not the clover mite's blood, but is actually its body pigments. Because crushed clover mites can stain, whenever clover mites are found in the home, they should be vacuumed up instead of crushed.

 

Do Clover Mites Bite?

Clover mites bite and chew the foliage of clover, ivy, grass, trees, molds, and other plants & vegetation. Although they do not bite, their populations can become large and difficult to manage. They are not known to spread diseases.

 

How Do I Get Rid Of Clover Mites?

A proper treatment for clover mites will first include vacuuming up as many mites as possible without crushing them. In addition to the extensive use of a vacuum, residual sprays may be used in areas such as doors and windows. Outside, a perimeter treatment around the foundation will help. Care should be taken to ensure that the juncture of the foundation and the soil or grass is well saturated, since this is a perfect harborage for eggs and mites. Due to the potential for large infestations, if homeowners notice signs of clover mite activity on their property, we recommend hiring a professional before they have a chance to invade the walls of the structure.

Miche Pest Control is a top rated, family owned and operated pest control company that provides extermination services for clover mites and more in Washington DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia. Our expert technicians get rid of clover mites fast! Miche Pest Control has a 4.9 star rating and over 1,000 reviews online - give us a call today!

 

How Can I Prevent Clover Mites In The Future?

There are several steps that homeowners can take to help prevent clover mite infestations indoors:

Remove all grass and weeds from around the foundation perimeter and leaving a vegetation free strip about two feet wide. Clover mites are not as likely to move through bare, loose soil as they are through soil that is supporting plants that touch the structure's foundation. Use of pea gravel can also discourage mite movement into the structure.

Inspect your home, including the foundation, window frames and siding for cracks that may serve as entry points. These spaces should be properly caulked or otherwise sealed to prevent clover mites from laying eggs or entering the home. Make sure your window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.

Make sure your lawn and ornamental plant beds are not over-fertilized, since clover mite populations tend to do better when the plants they're feeding on are well fertilized.

 

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