Clover Mites

What do clover mites look like? 

  • Color: brown to olive-green.
  • Size: adults are about 1/64 inch long.
  • The body shape is similar to that of ticks (although they are NOT ticks).
  • Adults and nymphs have eight legs (front legs longer than the body and twice as long as any of the other legs).
  • Younger stages are bright red, as are the smooth, round eggs.

What are the habits of clover mites?

  • The females are parthenogenetic, i.e., laying eggs without fertilization by a male.
  • Eggs are deposited in the fall in protected locations on building foundations, on “green roofs” and under the bark of trees.  
  • Eggs do not hatch unless the temperature is between 40 and 70 F.
  • Developmental time (egg to adult): from one to seven months.
  • Despite their name, clover mites are plant feeders that infest more than 200 different types of plants.
  • They overwinter as adults, immatures, or eggs. They build up very large populations around houses surrounded with lush, well-fertilized lawns and shrubbery.
  • They often move into houses by foraging in tremendous numbers in the autumn when vegetation begins to die.
  • During spring, large numbers found indoors are usually the result of recent mulching and the onset of higher temperatures. Large populations of clover mites occurring on the roofs of houses are associated with moss growth, especially cedar shake shingles.

What kind of damage is caused by clover mites?

  • Despite being a “mite,” clover mites are completely harmless and do not feed on humans.  
  • They are merely a nuisance and a great annoyance to building occupants.
  • If crushed, they leave a red stain on walls, floors, and furnishings—this red stain is often misinterpreted as blood.  

What should I look for? 

  • Look for mites crawling in long trails on the inside of exterior walls, window and door frames.
  • Look for tiny reddish-brown clover mites on the exterior of siding, trim or the interior window frames.

How do I control and kill clover mites?

  • Infestations in the home should be controlled using mechanical control measures such as a vacuum cleaner.
  • Small bottle caps can be placed with soapy-water to capture and reduce numbers.
  • Residual or aerosol pesticide applications indoors does little to solve the problem and are not recommended; however, exterior applications can be made to intercept others as they move in.  
  • To prevent clover mite invasions, lush vegetation within an 18-inch band around the house perimeter should be removed to allow the sun to dry out these moisture-prone areas adjacent to the home’s foundation.

If you feel that you have a clover mite infestation and need assistance, contact our entomologist trained team at Innotech Pest Management today.