By Thorn Team • May 23rd 2022
Clover mites (Bryobia praetiosa) are a very common pest in the state of Utah, both indoors and outdoors. Whether they're popping up in droves on the patio or invading classrooms, offices and kitchens, a sudden large appearance of clover mites can be seriously alarming.
Should you worry about clover mites?
Ultimately, these tiny arachnids are considered harmless to humans, though they can cause damage to outdoor plants (especially turfgrass) and can leave small, red-brown stains when they are crushed.
So, where do clover mites come from, and how do you keep them away from your home, office or yard?
Clover mites have the following features:
Though they are hard to see with the naked eye, clover mites are arachnids, meaning they are related to spiders and ticks. Believe it or not, adult clover mites are some of the larger plant infesting mites.
Commonly found in dense vegetation and rich soil, clover mites are most likely to be seen making their way inside Utah homes from February to May. They are most frequently found popping up in windowsills, especially on the sunniest sides of homes and buildings (the south and west sides).
As soon as Utah temperatures begin to rise before spring*, clover mite eggs in the soil hatch and the mites start getting active. They are especially likely to hatch after rain. As they emerge from overwintering, they can show up in the hundreds (or thousands) inside structures and in the landscape.
One of the most common clover mite questions we get: What kills clover mites instantly?
It can be distressing to have thousands of tiny red pests invading your indoor spaces, especially because clover mites leave tiny red stains on fabric, paper and other materials when they are crushed. In other words, it's best to avoid crushing them.
When pests like clover mites pop up inside, it can be seriously tempting to turn to a chemical application. Here at Thorn, we get that! You want those little buggers out of your space immediately!!
While there are products available that do kill clover mites, proper pest control requires patience and diligence. Many times, chemical treatments are an unnecessary and potentially dangerous temporary solution that hide the symptoms of a deeper issue. Given the risks that come with improper chemical application and unnecessary use of pesticide, it's always best to opt for more effective, lower risk options first.
Like it or not, clover mites are an indication of healthy soil. As annoying as they can be inside, take their presence as a compliment when it comes to your soil health.
Luckily, there are some super easy, all-natural treatment options available to control these tiny clover mite invaders and keep them away.
The first thing you can do when you start seeing clover mites inside is to grab your vacuum. Consider using a large shop vacuum or higher-powered vacuum cleaner in this instance to ensure that you're picking up as many mites in as little time as possible.
Have faith that even if some of the clover mites escape the sucking power of your vacuum cleaner, they will dry out quickly.
If clover mites are a repeated issue around your home, start by making sure to seal them out.
In Utah, clover mites are most active when temperatures become warmer (February to May), but will also make an appearance in the late fall (October and November) after summer temps have cooled and before winter hits.
Take time to seal any gaps around your home with caulking in order to prevent clover mite entry. Focus especially on windowsills on the south and west sides of the home, but you can look to seal any areas where clover mites have created interior issues in the past. This is best completed in winter before spring clover mite activity really picks up, or in summer, after the spring activity has died down and before the fall activity increases.
Seek to reduce dense vegetation if interior clover mites are a concern of yours. This is especially true on the south and western sides of buildings where the sun is warmest.
Start with the areas closest the foundation of the structure or home. Aim to keep plants a minimum of 10-12" away from structures to prevent clover mites from seeking harborage right up against the building.
If you have seen clover mites hiding among the leaves or stalks of certain plants in previous seasons, make special efforts to address these plants.
This might be confusing after the last point, but there is a balance between leaving a yard unattended versus over tending it.
Clover mites are found in especially dense numbers in lawns that are heavily fertilized , so avoid over-applying fertilizer.
Another issue? Over watering. If you are seeing a sudden influx in clover mites inside, ask yourself if it has rained recently, or if you have watered your garden or lawn that day.
When we consider the biology of the clover mite, we know that clover mite eggs are most likely to hatch after rains. Over watering can cause an increase in population and flush clover mites out of the soil into the nearest home or structure.
Once the structure is adequately sealed and the surrounding vegetation properly tended to, keep an eye out for clover mites with monitoring.
After proper control measures are taken, monitoring is used to determine if an issue has reappeared. A great way to monitor for clover mites inside is to place double-sided tape on windowsills where they have been known to pop up.
If you start seeing little red dots stuck to the tape on the windowsill, there may be an incoming army of clover mites headed your way, so get your vacuum ready!
As annoying as they can be, clover mites are an important part of the eco-system. When they make their way inside, it is likely the time of year, surrounding vegetation and landscaping circumstances that are driving clover mites indoors.
Considering how common interior clover mite issues are in Utah, it is always a good idea to have natural control methods in place and ready to protect your spaces. If your home, business or school has had severe and repeated clover mite issues that are difficult to control, it might be time to get a second opinion.
A pest professional that specializes in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) will deal with a clover mite issue according to the pests' biology, which will get you the most effective and long-term results you're looking for.
If you're having trouble keeping clover mites away from your Utah home or business, contact your local pest specialists at Thorn ! After a thorough inspection and consultation, we will formulate a plan specific to your property's needs that will not only address your immediate concerns, but help give you the tools to keep clover mites away for good.
Thorn is a Utah local pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded too less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.