How to Get Rid of Clover Mites

Clover mites are tiny red or brown bugs that can infest homes and become a nuisance. Getting rid of clover mites requires patience and diligence, but there are several effective methods you can use to eliminate and prevent these pesky pests. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about how to get rid of clover mites.

What Are Clover Mites?

Clover mites, also known as red velvet mites, are very small arachnids that measure only about 1/30 of an inch long. They have oval shaped bodies that range in color from reddish-brown to dark brown.

Despite their name, clover mites do not actually feed on clover plants. They feed on a variety of different plants, grasses, and turf. Clover mites get their name because they are commonly found in lawns and fields where clover grows.

Identifying Clover Mites

Here are some key identifying characteristics of clover mites:

  • Size: Extremely small, about 1/30 of an inch long. Much smaller than spiders.
  • Color: Reddish-brown to dark brown. The legs are a paler brown color.
  • Shape: Oval shaped bodies.
  • Legs: Eight legs. The front pair of legs are longer than the other legs.
  • Markings: Some faint darker brown/black markings visible on their bodies. No stripes or patterns.

Clover Mite vs Spider

Clover mites are often confused with spiders since they both have eight legs. However, there are a few key differences:

  • Size: Clover mites are much smaller than most spiders.
  • Color: Clover mites are red/brown unlike most spiders.
  • Body Shape: Clover mites have oval-shaped bodies whereas spiders have two distinct body segments.
  • Legs: The front legs of clover mites are disproportionately longer than spiders.
  • Markings: Clover mites lack any patterns like stripes. Spiders often have markings.
  • Webs: Clover mites do not produce webs. Spiders make webs.

If you see a very small reddish bug crawling around, it is likely a clover mite rather than a spider. Examining them closely will help identify them.

Where Are Clover Mites Found?

Clover mites thrive outdoors in grassy areas that provide plenty of vegetation to feed on. Lawns, fields, gardens, landscaping plants, and turf are prime clover mite habitats.

The mites end up around structures when weather conditions force them to seek shelter and warmth. During the hot summer months, clover mites gravitate towards cooler, damp areas to prevent desiccation. When the weather turns cold in fall and winter, they will move indoors seeking warmth.

Common areas around the home where clover mites are found include:

  • On the south and west facing sides of the home. These areas get the most sun exposure which attracts clover mites.
  • Around windows, doors, roof eaves, siding cracks, and attic vents. These allow easy access inside.
  • Near outdoor lighting. The lights attract night-flying insects that the mites feed on.
  • On foundation walls close to vegetation. Easy access from nearby plant food sources.
  • Under decks, porches, and patios near landscaping.

Clover mites found indoors are usually located along exterior walls, windowsills, curtains, furniture, and ceiling corners. Their small size allows them to squeeze through tiny cracks and crevices.

Why Are Clover Mites Problematic?

Although clover mites do not bite humans, transmit disease, or cause actual damage, they can still become a nuisance in several ways:

  • Sheer Numbers: Thousands of clover mites may invade a home when their populations explode. The swarms end up everywhere.
  • Stains: When crushed, clover mites release red pigment that can leave unsightly red stains on walls, furniture, curtains, and other surfaces. These stains are challenging to remove.
  • Allergies: Some individuals may have allergic reactions to clover mites. The mites and their feces can trigger respiratory issues for sensitive people.
  • Discomfort: No one wants bugs crawling all over their home. The presence of clover mites results in significant discomfort and distress.

Clover mites are definitely more of a nuisance than a danger. However, the annoyances they cause make controlling clover mite populations well worth the effort.

How to Get Rid of Clover Mites

Eliminating clover mites requires diligence and patience over a period of time. There are a variety of chemical and non-chemical methods that can be used to kill clover mites and prevent future infestations.

Remove Vegetation and Debris

Since clover mites rely on plants as a food source, removing vegetation around the foundation of your home eliminates a major attraction. This also takes away protective hiding spots.

  • Cut back or remove any grass, plants, bushes, trees, mulch, and debris along the foundation, under decks, and around outdoor lighting fixtures. Create a vegetation-free zone approximately 3 feet wide.
  • Rake up fallen leaves, straw, grass clippings, twigs, and other organic debris. These provide cover and breeding areas for mites.
  • Consider replacing mulch beds right next to the home with gravel, pebbles, or patio blocks to reduce appeal.
  • Prune overhanging tree branches back from the roof and side of the house.
  • Keep lawn areas mowed short and tidy to reduce appeal.

Removing vegetation deprives clover mites of their main food source and protective habitat right around the structure. This forces them to look elsewhere.

Caulk and Seal Entry Points

Sealing up exterior cracks shuts down the pathways clover mites use to get inside your home.

  • Caulk cracks and crevices around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and siding with a silicone-based sealant.
  • Weather strip around doors and windows to close gaps.
  • Screen attic, roof, and foundation vents using fine mesh.
  • Replace damaged window screens and screen doors.
  • Seal openings where cables, pipes, wires etc. enter the house.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, especially in fall when mites start moving indoors.
  • Use foam backer rod or steel wool for larger gaps and holes before caulking or sealing.

Blocking access points forces clover mites to remain outdoors instead of invading the home interior.

Vacuum Indoors and Outdoors

Frequently vacuuming areas inside and outside the home helps remove clover mites. Concentrate on entry points and walls where they congregate.

  • Use a powerful vacuum with a hose and crevice tool to reach cracks along baseboards and window frames.
  • Vacuum mites, webs, and debris off of windowsills, curtains, furniture, and flooring.
  • Clean carpets and rugs thoroughly to pick up mites.
  • Vacuum mites off exterior walls, windows, vents, lights, and other outdoor surfaces where they gather trying to get inside.
  • Safely change and dispose of vacuum bags after use to prevent mites from escaping.
  • Use duct tape wrapped upside down around the vacuum nozzle to trap mites trying to crawl up the hose.

Vacuuming helps instantly decrease clover mite populations both indoors and out.

Remove Their Food Sources

Eliminating other insects that clover mites feed on indoors takes away a key food supply.

  • Use flying insect traps and baits to reduce flies, mosquitoes and other prey.
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean and store food properly to avoid pests like grain moths.
  • Treat ant and other insect infestations promptly if they occur in or around the home.
  • Avoid using bug zappers since these just attract more insects that the mites will feed on.

Without access to other bugs for food, clover mites have a tougher time surviving long inside a home.

Use Desiccant Dusts

Desiccant dusts like diatomaceous earth (DE) and silica aerogel can kill clover mites through dehydration. The fine particles damage the waxy outer coating causing the mites to dry out.

  • Apply a very light coating of DE or silica dusts in a thin layer to baseboards, window sills, and cracks inside.
  • Use a hand duster to puff small amounts into wall voids, attics, vents, and other enclosed spaces where mites may hide.
  • Dust a light coating along exterior foundation walls and potential entry points outside. Avoid plants.
  • Reapply monthly since rain and moisture reduce effectiveness over time.

Desiccant dusts offer ongoing control when placed in clover mite hiding spots and travel routes. They are safe for use around kids and pets when used properly.

Insecticide Sprays and Foggers

Insecticide sprays, foggers, and aerosols can provide quick knockdown of clover mite populations. Look for products containing fast-acting ingredients like pyrethrins or zeta-cypermethrin.

  • Treat outdoor gathering sites like walls, windows, vents, lights, doors etc. with sprays. Follow label directions carefully.
  • Use foggers or aerosols indoors according to label instructions to reach into cracks and crevices. Ventilate thoroughly afterwards.
  • Hire a pest control company to perform professional perimeter treatments around the home’s exterior.
  • Limit use of broadcast spraying across entire lawns since this can inadvertently increase mite populations. Spot treatments are better.
  • Avoid using insecticides directly on plants and turf that bees may forage on.

Insecticidal sprays provide quick elimination of clover mites. However, reinfestation may occur unless you also address underlying reasons for the infestation like food sources and entry points. Combine insecticide treatments with exclusion methods for most effective control.

Remove Clover Plants

Although clover mites do not directly feed on clover, removing clover plants in lawns and fields near the home takes away a significant attraction.

  • Pull out white clover plants in lawns by hand or use a weed digging tool. Ensure you get the taproots.
  • Apply a selective herbicide containing dicamba or triclopyr to lawn areas to kill clover without harming grass.
  • Reseed any bare spots caused by clover removal to prevent new weeds.
  • Maintain a healthy, lush lawn through proper mowing, fertilizing, watering, and aeration. A thick lawn outcompetes weeds.

While removing clover alone will not solve a clover mite problem, it is still a smart tactic since clover attracts the mites. Focus on lawn areas within 50 feet of the home’s foundation.

Use Predatory Mites

Releasing predatory mites like Neoseiulus californicus or Amblyseius swirskii provides biological control of clover mites. The predatory mites kill and eat clover mites but pose no danger to humans.

  • Apply predatory mites around the exterior foundation and potential clover mite entry points in spring before problems start.
  • Make additional releases every 2-3 weeks during peak mite seasons in fall and spring. Follow product instructions.
  • Mist areas with water to provide moisture and humidity which the predatory mites need to survive. Avoid treating the mites directly.
  • Limit use of any harsh pesticides since these can kill off the beneficial predatory mites.

Predatory mites offer natural suppression of clover mite populations using Mother Nature’s own pest control methods!

Discourage Ants

Ants have a symbiotic relationship with clover mites where the ants actually “farm” the mites to feed on their eggs. Controlling nuisance ants makes the area less welcoming to clover mites as well.

  • Remove wood debris, mulch, and other moist items right next to the home’s foundation that attract ants.
  • Prune back trees and bushes to avoid contact with the house. This takes away ant highways into the structure.
  • Seal up cracks in the foundation, walls, and openings around utility lines where ants may enter.
  • Treat ant nests and trails with ant baits, borax, or insecticide sprays. Be sure to follow directions carefully.
  • Trim back vegetation and plants away from the home to discourage ants.

Making the perimeter of your home less inviting to ants helps break the ant-clover mite cycle. This provides significant long term relief from both pests.

Adjust Exterior Lighting

Since clover mites are drawn to bright light, adjusting outdoor lighting can make a big impact.

  • Switch exterior bulbs to yellow “bug” lights which are less attractive to the mites (and other flying insects they feed on).
  • Move light fixtures as far away from the home as possible including backyard lighting.
  • Direct lighting away from the house rather than towards walls.
  • Shut off unnecessary outdoor lights or put them on motion detectors or short timers.
  • Replace bulbs with lower wattage to reduce brightness.

Reducing and modifying outdoor lighting takes away a major lure for clover mites congregating by the home’s exterior walls trying to get inside.

Maintain Proper Moisture Levels

Clover mites prefer damp areas so maintaining proper moisture and drainage around the home’s foundation discourages them from congregating too close.

  • Repair leaky faucets, gutters, sprinklers, and AC drainage lines that create wet areas.
  • Improve drainage along the foundation through use of downspout extensions, French drains, sloped grading, and fill dirt if needed.
  • Avoid over-watering lawns, beds, and landscaping right next to the home’s foundation.
  • Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation for planting beds rather than sprinklers.
  • Consider use of a dehumidifier or vapor barrier in crawl spaces prone to dampness.
  • Redirect rain gutters to drain water at least 6 feet away from the base of the home.

Clover mites prefer dampness so improving drainage and reducing moisture strips away another attraction. Try to keep the first 3 feet of soil away from the foundation as dry as possible.

When Are Clover Mites Most Active?

Clover mite populations fluctuate in activity and size depending on environmental conditions throughout the year. Peak activity occurs in spring and fall in most regions. Here is what to expect monthly:


Clover mite numbers start increasing in early spring as temperatures warm up and vegetation begins growing again. Effects of cold winter temperatures have declined.

  • March-April: Mating occurs and populations start rapidly increasing. Mites become more noticeable around structures.
  • May: Populations peak as temperatures climb and mites seek cool, moist areas. Mass migrations indoors begin.


Hot, dry conditions in summer cause clover mite activity to decline and populations to decrease. They retreat to cooler, damper areas under leaf litter, mulch, etc.

  • June-August: Few clover mites noticeable as they avoid hot, parched locations. Mainly active at night.


Cooler fall temperatures are ideal for clover mites. Populations start booming again as mites prepare to move indoors seeking shelter from winter.

  • September: Mite activity increases and swarms form as temperatures moderate.
  • October: Peak populations and heavy swarms on structures occurring as mites migrate indoors for warmth.


Clover mites seek shelter indoors during cold winter months, becoming less active but still surviving. Outdoor populations decline until spring.

  • November – February: Mites congregate along indoor window frames and walls. Attempting chemical control indoors is not advised during winter months.

Follow a diligent prevention regimen during peak seasons in spring and fall to help minimize indoor clover mite invasions.

Common Questions and Answers About Clover Mites

Many homeowners have additional questions about the habits and control of annoying clover mites. Here are some frequently asked questions with answers:

Can clover mites bite or spread disease?

No, clover mites do not bite humans or pets. They do not spread disease or cause health issues directly. However, their shed skins and feces can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals.

What do clover mites eat?

Clover mites feed on a wide variety of plants including grasses, flowers, vegetables, and turf foliage. They also prey upon other small insects like mites, aphids, and eggs. Indoors, they eat mold, fungi, and leftover grains.

How do clover mites get inside?

Clover mites use small cracks, crevices, gaps, and openings to squeeze their way into structures. Common entry points include under siding, around windows/doors, through vents, and wherever exterior walls meet roofs or foundations. Their small size enables them to crawl into the tiniest spaces. Sealing up these access points prevents indoor entry.

Can clover mites damage my plants?

Although clover mites feed on plants, they rarely cause serious damage to landscape vegetation, gardens, or lawns since their populations are usually quite small outdoors. Occasional minor damage may happen to flowers and other ornamental plants. Clover mites are more of a nuisance pest to humans than a horticultural pest.

How long do clover mites live?

The average clover mite life cycle lasts about 3-4 weeks. After hatching from eggs, clover mites develop into adults in 1-2 weeks. Adult females then lay eggs, which hatch into larvae. The full life cycle from egg through larva, protonymph, deut