- Scientific name: Bryobia praetiosa
- Size: 1/20th of an inch
- Color: Reddish brown (adults), bright red (eggs and younger ones)
- Shape: Long, oval shaped bodies with long, thin legs
- Found in: The eastern coast states of the United States
What are they?
Clover mites area species of pest insect that are easily identified by their characteristic front legs, which are nearly twice the length of their other legs that are often mistaken for antennae. They are not usually harmful to humans, instead being damaging to the vegetation that surrounds homes. However, they can invade homes and cause considerable irritation to homeowners
How can you tell you have them?
Out side of the home, the main sign that you have clover mites is the characteristic silver color their infestations can leave blades of grass that large populations have fed on. You can also see them as a congregation of reddish-brown movement on the blades of grass or the stalks of other plants. Inside of the house, clover mites can be spotted as tiny, reddish-brown spots that congregate in large groups. However, the clover mite is a very small insect, so it can be hard to know what you are looking at unless there are more than one. When in large numbers, the clover mite will leave behind a reddish-brown stain when it’s crushed. This is one of the main causes of irritations for homeowners, especially if there are a large number of them present.
What kind of environment do they like?
The clover mite enjoys succulent plants and grasses to feed upon and can be found both in the wild and in human habitations, but the lure of a well-tended lawn and garden can be a very large lure for them. They appear most commonly during the spring and fall. Clover mites are most likely to appear in a home that is surrounded by very heavy grass, foliage or plant growth. The clover mite can climb long distances despite it’s very small size and can enter a home through the upper windows, cracks in the wall or siding and is drawn to the warmth and protection of the home.
Clover mites are what are called polyphagus, which means that they can feed on a wide variety of plants. They can eat everything from grass, to ornamental flowers and fruits. They also feed, as the name implies, on clover species. They are not terribly damaging to the plants they feed on, but an over population of them can cause discoloration and stipulation to the plants they feed on. The more well-taken care of the lawn, unfortunately, the more appealing for these pests.
What to do?
The clover mite is a temporary nuisance to the homeowner inside the home. They can invade in very large numbers and cause a great deal of annoyance. They are easily disposed of when they are inside with a wet cloth and some dish soap, but just getting rid of them will not stop them from entering the home. When wiped up, it is important that the homeowner takes care to crush as few of the mites as possible to prevent the signature stains these pests can leave behind. Outside of the home, the clover mite can be easily prevented with insecticides, but it is important that professional advice be sought to be sure that the environmental impact of whatever is used is a minimal as possible.