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Don’t Confuse Clover Mites and Chigger Mites

By Chris Williams on March 23, 2011.

Q. My daughter found tiny, reddish bugs crawling on the wall of her bedroom around the window. She had a terrible time with chigger bites last summer. Could these be chiggers coming in from outside?

Chigger Mite

chigger-miteA. Not likely. Chigger mites are found only outdoors. Clover mites, however, can be found indoors at certain times of the year. Like chigger mites, clover mites are very tiny and reddish (which is why people assume incorrectly that they suck blood). Both mites are visible to the human eye, but just barely. Clover mites are most often noticed when large numbers of them are seen together, crawling on light-colored surfaces. Clover mites don’t bite people or transmit diseases; they are strictly a nuisance pest.

Clover mites live outside where they feed on grasses and other plants. They can build up to high numbers in lawns that are heavily fertilized and are often problems in new developments where lawns have just been installed. They don’t do any significant damage to the grass. After the lawns become well established, clover mite problems usually subside.

Clover Mite

clover-miteSo what are the clover mites doing inside your house instead of staying outside feeding on clover where they belong? Clover mites try to move inside in late fall when colder weather arrives. They also become active on sunny days in early spring and crawl up the outside walls of homes (especially on the warm, sunny sides of the house), where they can follow any crack or crevice and end up inside. Clover mites don’t survive long inside. They can stain walls or fabrics red if you crush them. If small numbers of mites get inside, vacuum them up with a soft brush tool and discard the bag.

There are steps you can take to reduce the clover mites in your lawn and home: (1) Caulk window and door framing and weather-strip windows, especially on the sunny side of your house. Screens won’t keep them out; they’re too tiny. (2) Mow grass short next to the house, and do not overfertilize. It’s best to replace grass right next to the foundation with a gravel or mulch strip instead, or plant flowers or low shrubs. (3) Prune back shrubs or ivy that are touching the house.

Call the experts at Colonial for professional help. We can apply a perimeter treatment around the outside foundation of your home that will keep clover mites from climbing outside walls and getting inside. For large indoor infestations, you may need to have a professional treat around windows and doors, or in wall voids and other areas where the mites are congregating

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