Pest Control

Where Do Clover Mites Come From? What Attracts Them?

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A clover mite with green background and blog post title

Clover mites are tiny red bugs that sometimes appear in large numbers indoors. They feed on plants, and they’re not harmful to humans or pets. 

However, it’s usually not a comfortable feeling to have tiny red mites running around your home and, on top of that, damaging your plants.

In this article, I will show you where clover mites come from, what attracts them, how they get into your house, and more importantly, how you can prevent them from coming back to your home.

First Make Sure You Are Dealing With Clover Mites

If you’re absolutely certain that your home is invaded by clover mites and not some other mite or insect, you can skip this section and jump to the next one.

However, in my own experience, people often confuse clover mites with other bugs that look similar.

Here’s what a clover mite (Bryobia praetiosa Koch) looks like:

A close-up of a clover mitePin

Here’s another photo:

A close-up of a clover mite on a plantPin

Description to identify an adult clover mite:

  • It has a length of about 1/30 inch.
  • It’s either red or reddish-brown, sometimes with a greenish tint.
  • It has an oval body.
  • Its front pair of legs are much longer than the rest (usually at least twice as long, thus they look like antennae).
  • A clover mite has eight legs altogether.

Clover mites are often confused with concrete mites and chiggers. You’ll find the main differences between these tiny red bugs in this article (I also included photos of them). 

Where Do Clover Mites Come From?

Clover mites come from the outdoors. They especially love and thrive in grassy areas, lawns, and fields. These tiny bugs need lush vegetation and ample food sources to survive, such as clover (hence the name) and other plants.

Clover mites are more likely to invade your house in the spring or fall because this is the time of year when these pests are most active (but this does not mean you can’t have an infestation during a summer month).

While clover mites prefer the outdoor environment, they can move into your home when the outdoor conditions become unfavorable. 

In late spring and early summer, as the weather warms up, they look for cooler habitats in order to avoid extreme heat, find fresh food sources, and often breed. As winter approaches, they frequently look for warmth and shelter in the fall to escape the chilly temperatures. Drought can also be a reason why clover mites infest your home.

Sometimes these tiny mites migrate into your house because of overpopulation. This is why it’s so important to keep your yard tidy, especially those areas that are within 3 feet of your house.

Common Entry Points

There are various ways clover mites can enter your house. Here are the most common ones:

1. Gaps Around Your Windows and Doors

See the small gaps around your windows and doors? These provide easy access for tiny bugs, such as clover mites. These pests can squeeze through the smallest gaps and take advantage of cracked or broken screens, worn-out weatherstripping, or weakly sealed gaps.

2. Outdoor Plants

As you may recall, clover mites feed on plants. If your home is surrounded by vegetation, mites could unintentionally attach to your clothes or pets and travel into your home.

They can easily get inside by crawling from plants onto people or objects. Also, they are more likely to get inside if the distance between them (being on a plant) and the house is diminutive.

3. Cracks Around Foundation

Cracks and gaps in the foundation wall or basement provide pathways for clover mites to get inside, as they can navigate through the smallest crevices. Sealing any openings you can find in the foundation can reduce the chance of them coming back.

4. Openings for Utilities

Clover mites can also take advantage of utility gaps, such as those around pipes, AC units, and cables. In this respect, basements, attics, or crawl spaces are especially vulnerable.

What Attracts Clover Mites?

Knowing what clover mites are attracted to will help you take preventative measures to avoid severe infestations.

Here are some common factors that attract clover mites:

1. Vegetation

Clover mites feed on plant sap and are particularly attracted to lawn grass, ornamental shrubs, and many other green vegetation types, especially those that are rich in nitrogen.

Heavily fertilized lawns and newly established lawns often attract a large number of clover mites. So, if your property has plenty of these plants, there’s a greater chance of mites appearing.

2. Moisture

Moisture is an important factor in the survival and reproduction of clover mites. They prefer moist areas, which is why they thrive in your yard and other damp areas where the excessive moisture they need is constantly present.

3. Optimal Temperature

Clover mites are most active during the spring and fall, when the temperature is relatively high and there’s also enough water because of the frequent rainfalls. They become inactive when the temperature is either too cold or too hot.

How to Stop Clover Mites From Coming Back?

Prevention can sometimes be tricky, but in most cases, if you take the following measures, you can say goodbye to clover mites pretty quickly.

Keep in mind that a female usually lays more than 50 eggs, so these bugs can multiply rapidly if you ignore an infestation. The quicker you act, the easier it will be to exterminate them.

The main reason why clover mites keep coming back to your property is that the conditions are favorable for them.

Here’s what you should do to get rid of them as soon as possible:

1. Remove visible mites manually

First, eliminate all mites you can see using a vacuum cleaner or pressure washer. You can also use sticky traps.

2. Do not over-fertilize your lawn

As we’ve already discussed, heavily fertilized lawns are much more likely to attract clover mites. Perform a soil test if you’re uncertain whether your lawn needs any fertilizer.

3. Make sure there’s no heavy vegetation close to the foundation

Clover mites feed on plants, and the closer these plants are to your house, the easier it is for mites to get inside. Mow grass regularly, trim back shrubs, and remove excess leaf litter around the foundation. This is an essential step in clover mite control.

To combat a persistent clover mite infestation, create a vegetation-free area around your house that is at least 2 feet wide. Fill this area with gravel, sand, or wood chips.

4. Seal the gaps

Use caulk or weather stripping to fill in any gaps or cracks around your doors, windows, and foundation. By doing this, you will stop clover mites from penetrating your home through these cracks.

5. Chemical extermination

If you’re dealing with a larger infestation, you may need to use a miticide, insecticide dust, or pyrethroid insecticide spray to quickly and permanently put an end to the problem.

If the infestation is severe, you may need to call and hire a professional pest control service to completely exterminate your unwanted guests.

FAQs

When to use pesticides to exterminate clover mites?

Pesticides are often not necessary to get rid of clover mites and prevent them from coming back. These chemicals should always be used cautiously, as they can be harmful to beneficial insects and the environment as well. If you’re in doubt, consult with a professional pest control service to determine the best course of action.

Are clover mites attracted to specific colors?

No, they are not attracted to any specific color. Vegetation, moisture, warmth, and sunlight have a greater impact on them.

What do clover mite eggs look like?

It’s extremely hard to see clover mite eggs with the naked eye, as they’re very tiny, about 0.2 mm (1/130 inch) in diameter. The eggs are semi-transparent and oval-shaped.

Where do clover mites lay their eggs?

Clover mites typically lay their eggs in protected, hidden areas that are close to vegetation. Some examples are cracks and crevices, fallen leaves, mulch, or the bark of trees. The eggs hatch in the spring and fall.

Photos: Wikimedia (James K. Lindsey), Flickr (Ed Ogle)

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More

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