CLOVER MITES often become pests indoors after heavy rain, excessive heat or a change in the season, which stimulate massive numbers to enter buildings. To the naked eye, the mites appear as tiny moving dark spots crawling around walls, windows and doors. Crushing them to kill them leaves a reddish spot. Fortunately, the mites do not reproduce indoors and will die within a few days from dehydration.
The mites are 0.75–0.85 mm (0.030–0.033 in) long, oval shaped arachnids with a pair of long legs pointing forward often mistaken for antennae. They are reddish brown; the younger ones and the eggs are a bright red. They are extremely common in late spring in North America.
Clover mites can be especially abundant in heavily fertilized lawns, but have many host plants including certain lawn grasses, ornamental flowers, clover, dandelion, shepherd’s purse, strawberry, daffodil, salvia, alyssum, and primrose, to name only a few.
Prevention is the most effective way to control populations of clover mites. Remove all lush vegetation from the house in an 18-to-24-inch band around the perimeter of buildings. This plant-free zone will discourage mites from movement into building and will also provide an easily treatable area. Treating and sealing cracks and holes on buildings in which mites may have crawled can also be very helpful in reducing the problem.
Large populations can also be reduced by providing supplemental watering to areas where clover mites develop, such as dry areas at the base of sun-exposed walls and around evergreens. Also, planting flowerbeds with plants that are not attractive to clover mites might be helpful, such as: geranium, chrysanthemum, zinnia, marigold, salvia, rose, petunia or shrubs such as barberry, juniper and yew.
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