These little red (sometimes brownish) pests, normally no bigger than the head of a pin, can swarm into homes by the hundreds or even thousands. When squished, they leave a tell tale red stain, leading some people to think these are some type of blood sucking bugs, when in fact they are not bloodsuckers, nor bugs at all.
Clover mites are a species of arachnids, meaning they are closely related to ticks and spiders. Along with their reddish brown coloring and their remarkably small size, they can also be identified by their long front legs. Clover mites feed predominantly on clover, grassy lawns, and plants and weeds in general. While they are most active in the fall and spring, they can even be seen in the winter. They do not hibernate and are capable of being active in temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They reproduce asexually, hatching from unfertilized eggs. These eggs are left in cement cracks, under rotting leaves, and under tree bark, though they have been known to reproduce by the thousands in wall voids.
For those who are experiencing clover mites on their property, it is not uncommon to see thousands of these tiny red bugs crawling up the siding and exterior surfaces of the home, usually on the sunniest side of the structure. They then invade homes by crawling through tiny cracks and openings around doors and windowsills. Most likely a pest control expert will recommend treating the exterior of the home with a residual insecticide. Clover mites, between their size and their ability to reproduce asexually, are very difficult to eradicate. Therefore, do-it-yourself methods for tackling clover mites are rarely effective. While seeing hordes of tiny red arachnids swarming your home may be unsettling, it is good to know that they cannot bite and do not pose a real threat to humans or pets.
High clover mite activity can be caused by the level of fertilizer applied to the lawn. They’re drawn to nutrient-rich plants – the healthier your lawn, the more clover mites you’ll attract. A good preventative step against clover mites is to create an area between the foundation of the house and the lawn that is free of grass and weeds. Something as simple as putting rocks around the house instead of flowers and shrubs can greatly reduce the number of clover mites you see.