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Clover Mites Can Invade Homes in Fall

By Chris Williams on September 23, 2013.
Clover mites in fall

Question

Just in the last week we have seen lots of tiny mite-like things around our windows on the ground level. They’re red in color; does that mean they’re chiggers that suck blood?

Answer

The tiny pests could be a number of things: bird mites, brown dog ticks, rat mites — and you should have them identified by an expert. One thing they wouldn’t be though is chiggers which are found only outside. Given the red color and the time of year, I would guess clover mites. Most people think that clover mites are a spring problem. But they commonly invade homes in the fall as their outside vegetation starts to die and dry up, and the weather becomes cooler.

Clover mites are barely visible to the human eye, but are noticeable when you have a number of them clustered together or crawling on light-colored surfaces. When they begin their fall migration, they will crawl up outside walls (especially on the sunny side of the house) and can find their way in around doors and windows, even through screens. Fortunately they don’t survive long in the drier indoor air.

If You Fertilize It, They Will Come!

Clover mites are mostly your own fault because the more lush your lawn, the more likely you will have a problem with clover mites. Clover mites feed and live in grass, clover, ivy, on shrubs, or on other plants but their feeding usually does no real damage. The mites can build up to high numbers in heavily fertilized, well-maintained lawns. That doesn’t seem fair but that is why clover mites are often a problem in new developments with newly installed lawns. Once the lawn becomes established, clover mite problems usually decline.

Homes with grass or weeds growing right up next to the house have the biggest problem with clover mites moving inside. You can greatly reduce your clover mite problem by removing grass right next to the house. Replace it with an 18-inch wide strip of pea gravel, bare dirt, or ornamental (not shredded wood) mulch.

Another way to reduce the number of mites finding their way inside is to have a pest management company treat around the exterior foundation of your home and around doors and windows. It’s not too late for that fall treatment but you should call Colonial and schedule it now. For more tips on how to control clover mites, see our blog Clover Mites Are Common in Lush Lawns.

Photo credit: zzazazz / Foter / CC BY-NC

 

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