Warming weather begins to bring out some unwanted insect and mite activity. One harbinger of spring is clover mite. Clover mites are accidental invaders that can be a nuisance during early spring; we have had several reports of them recently.
Spring clover mites are very small, reddish-brown, fast-moving mites that appear only as moving dark spots on light colored surfaces. Their front legs are much longer than their other legs. Clover mites are nuisance pests in that they will not bite or harm people nor will they infest household products. Once inside a home or building they die quickly.
Clover mites can be common in the heavy, succulent growth of well-fertilized lawns where they feed on clover and grasses. If clover mites enter a home, it is around windows or doors, so they are usually spotted crawling along sills or thresholds. Clover mites can crawl up outside walls and may enter buildings at upper levels.
As clover mites are a temporary nuisance, they often disappear as quickly as they appeared.
- In the home, a wet sponge can be used to clean mites off surfaces. Wipe carefully to avoid crushing the mites and causing stains. Do not apply insecticides to kitchen counters or other interior surfaces.
- Mites observed on the outside of buildings can be killed with a direct spray of an insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap does not provide residual control.
- Clover mites are more common on buildings when lawns extend to the foundation.
- Avoid over-fertilizing lawns, as this creates situations that favor large populations of clover mites.
Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist