In a situation where guests have accidentally encountered clover mites in your house, you may always have a joke at the ready. “These are my Amazons!” one may say in an effort to play down the awkward moment. Indeed, there is some truth in this comparison since populations of clover mites consist of females only and not a single male has been discovered by scientists so far. Anyway, the analogy fails in one crucial point: the ladies in question are neither charming nor admirable. Actually, they are disgusting.
These pests, which peculiarity is in their disproportionately long front legs of a bright pink color, are a sheer nuisance indoors. Unlike mythological women warriors, clover mites are not aggressive and are unable to bite even a small animal, but they can stain surfaces and fabrics. When crushed, these pests leave a reddish smear. However, what makes them a real problem is that they arrive in large numbers. Not some dozens or hundreds but thousands of the pests can easily invade the building penetrating through crevices or any hole they find. Below, you will learn how to get rid of clover mites in the house and what kind of damage do they cause. For illustrative purposes, a comparison table of all methods of clover mite control approved by scientists is provided. In addition, there is a review of the 6 commercially available products labeled for these pests.
Table of Contents:
- Clover Mites: What Are They?
- Clover Mites in House: What Damage Do They Cause?
- How To Get Rid Of Clover Mites
- How To Get Rid Of Clover Mites In The House
- Methods of Clover Mite Control: Comparison Table
- TOP 6 Products Killing Clover Mites
Clover mites are not insects but rather relate to spiders or mites. Such a tiny pest cannot be clearly identified with the naked eye, instead, they appear just as dark spots moving around the walls and window sills. By comparison, the size of a clover mite does not exceed that of a pin. If you look at them under a magnifying glass, you will be able to see their bodies colored in either reddish or reddish-brown, with six legs in larvae and eight in adults. Their distinctive feature is long front legs held forward.
This species of pests is entirely female and reproduces without mating, therefore, their populations are built very quickly. Their eggs have a round shape and are red in color. In spring, adults lay eggs both in crevices of the bark of trees, closer to their base or in cracks of the walls in human-made structures. To determine where exactly you should look for the eggs, monitor the activity of adult mites. This will serve as an indicator of the presence of a breeding site.
Having left their offspring, the adults die while the eggs are dormant throughout the summer. In autumn, as soon as temperatures are about 70°F and the weather is wet, the eggs hatch. When hatched, the newly born clover mites crawl on plants to suck their juices. Over the course of the year, a number of generations may be produced by one population. It is worth remarking that not only adults but their eggs as well can overwinter. This is what you should take into account when planning your pest control strategy.
Normally, clover mites live in lawns consuming the foliage without inflicting any damage to it. The primarily feed on juices of turf grasses and clover, the latter explains the name of these pests. They can also be found on trees and shrubbery which leaves comprise their diet as well. The highest populations are typically built in newer lawns and plots of land, therefore, clover mites are one of the first challenges which beginning gardeners face.
Clover mites invade buildings in two cases: under unfavorable environmental conditions outside and when their population has grown too large and start lacking resources for survival, in particular, if the host plants have been removed. When the weather is rainy or, on the contrary, is too hot, clover mites turn to human-inhabited spaces, namely, houses. There is a tip for you on how to learn that they are approaching the house and determine which side of the house is attractive to them. First and foremost, clover mite cause damage on the southern and western sides of the building, with sufficient daylight. When these pests arrive indoors, they do it in vast numbers. You may detect them crawling around walls and windows, however, be careful when wiping them with a rag as they smear surfaces with reddish liquid.
Typically, you may encounter clover mites in spring but they also show up in the house in other seasons. In summer, they prefer cooler and more humid weather whereas dry and warm conditions make these pests inactive. Nevertheless, these pests do not live more than several days inside the house and die from dehydration. Nor do they reproduce indoors. Therefore, they are a temporary nuisance pest. They disappear as quickly as they emerge in the house, however, that is no reason for abandoning the pest management since clover mites can come from outside again.
In the garden, clover mites can be found in large quantities in well-fertilized lawns. The damage they cause is considered to be small, with silver streaks left in the leaves or on flowers. But the growing population of clover mites poses a far greater threat to the foliage making it turn brown or yellow and afterward wilt. As a result, patches of the lawn die, something that can be easily mistaken for the damage caused by drought. Take into consideration that similar-looking silver streaks are left by spider mites as well so they are easy to confuse.
To distinguish these signs of the presence of two different species, look for the silken threads which are produced by spider mites but not clover mites. Their activity can usually be observed in the period from February to May, diminishing with the weather getting warmer. However, there is a secondary peak of the damage which takes place in autumn. There is another sign showing that you are dealing with none other than clover mites: the spoiled patches should be approximately ten feet away from any vertical object like a building or tree. The thing is that they need such vertical surfaces to climb on and lay eggs.
To prevent migration of clover mites in the house, you should make some changes in landscaping in the area. Dr. Jay B. Karren, an extension entomologist from the Utah State University, suggests removing a strip of grass about twenty inches in width along the building foundation and covering it with mulch or pea gravel. In case it is not possible for whatever reason, just leave the bare soil. Note that hard soil is an easier barrier for clover mites to cross whereas fine soil obstructs their movement. Therefore, it would be useful to regularly work the soil. Also, do not forget to clear the debris as it can facilitate the pests’ movement through the barrier. This measure is crucial because grass and shrubs growing against the building’s exterior wall is a perfect bridge for clover mites to get into the house. In addition, you may also set plants which do not comprise the diet of these critters. In particular, rose, geranium and chrysanthemum, as well as barberry and yew do not attract them.
According to the researcher, in some cases, these steps will be enough to keep clover mites away from the house. However, bear in mind that while the above-mentioned plants are unattractive to clover mites, they are a source of food for some other species of pests which bring much more serious troubles. Therefore, this solution, albeit effective, is not ideal and some other approaches should be considered. As we have noted above, clover mites prefer areas exposed to the sun’s rays. Generous irrigation of patches of the lawn damaged by these pests will assist in decreasing their quantity. Apart from that, this measure will help the grass regrow.
Richard M. Houseman, an urban entomology specialist with the University of Missouri, points out that insecticides or miticides produce an immediate effect and are useful when the populations of clover mites are large. However, unlike physical control measures, this one is temporary.
Apply insecticides either in spring or autumn to the infested plants or to the exterior of the building. A 25-percent concentrate of diazinon should be mixed with water at a ratio of eight ounces per three gallons, while the recommended ratio for an 18-percent concentrate of kelthane should be one ounce per three gallons. The area coverage will be 500 and 1000 square feet respectively. Spray the mixture along the building’s foundation and up to twenty foot out from it into the lawn. Spray generously leaves of the plants to achieve the desired result. Compared with diazinon, kelthane is considered to be the least expensive and the most effective solution. Nevertheless, both of these products require several applications to get rid of clover mites.
Among other insecticides registered for clover mites, there are solutions with the following active ingredients: cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, tralomethrin and the like. These solutions are effective and safe when used as a barrier. However, if you decide on applying them to the plants, check the label to be sure that this is permitted. There is one important point you should take into account: insecticides affect only adults and do not kill eggs. That is why repeated applications are needed to eliminate newly hatched mites. Marianne C. Ophardt from the Washington State University recommends using insecticidal soaps which work well against clover mites. Their downside is that the stuff may stain the surface decoration, so be careful when applying such kinds of solutions. At the very least, the critters can be simply washed off with soapy water when detected on the outside of the house.
Be careful when using chemicals as they can harm humans, pets or plants. As each product has its own unique compounds, thoroughly read the label paying attention both to precautions and direction for use. Note that strictly following the directions is not only a matter of your safety. An applicator is legally accountable and the use of pesticides contrary to the label directions is a violation of the law.
Apart from treating the area outside the buildings, take steps to ensure that your house is protected from clover mite invasion. According to experts from the Purdue State University, it is quite difficult to manage clover mites in the house. They will emerge even after application of heavy insecticides, therefore, the best way to get rid of clover mites is prevention described above. Nevertheless, some measures can be taken indoors to reinforce your outdoor strategy.
Caulk crevices and cracks along the foundation, as well as around windows and doors. This will not entirely prevent the pests from penetrating the house but will significantly reduce their number. As Robert Bauernfeind, a scientist from the Kansas State University put it, sealing the entire building securely enough is an impossible task as clover mites are too small and will always find a loophole. Another easy but effective way to control clover mites is wiping them with a rag or vacuuming. In case of a heavy infestation, vacuuming should be conducted on a regular basis. However, be careful not to stain the surfaces as clover mites emit reddish liquid.
Dr. Raymond Cloyd from the Kansas State University recommends using traps to capture clover mites. Any homeowner can easily do it himself or herself. To this end, take a saran wrap, cover it with a sticky substance and place on windows sills or near other openings where clover mite movement has been noticed. Soon, you will get a collection of them stuck in your simple but effective trap. A double-sided adhesive tape will also do the job.
Once clover mites are indoors, apply insecticides based on permethrin, diazinon, bifenthrin and chlorpyrifos available in the form of spray or aerosol. As in the case with outdoor applications, spraying indoors should also be repeated several times because the stuff kills only those pests which contacted the liquid and is certainly a short-term solution. Whitney Cranshaw, a specialist from the Colorado State University, advocates the use of dust, the fine layer of which can be put around windows or sprinkled into cracks. Among the recommended solutions are baby powder containing talc, baking soda, and diatomaceous earth. The dust will cover and kill those clover mites which have entered the barrier.
|Removing the grass close to the building’s foundation||habitat modification||hampers clover mites’ movement towards the house; safe and natural solution; long-term effect||labor-consuming as you should regularly work the soil to keep it fine and remove debris.||10|
|Planting shrubs and flowers unattractive to clover mites||habitat modification||will discourage clover mites from approaching the house||these plants attract other pests which cause more severe damage; required extra expenditure||7|
|Vacuuming||physical elimination||reduces the number of clover mites in the house; does not involve using chemicals||there is the need to dispose of the dead which may smear; labor-consuming; will not prevent new mites from penetrating the house; has a short-term effect||8|
|Sealing gaps and crevices||exclusion||will prevent clover mites from entering the building; a long-term solution||clover mites are extremely small and it is impossible to seal all entry points; labor-consuming||10|
|Traps||physical elimination||easy to make; guarantees elimination of some of the clover mites in the house; no chemicals are involved||traps should be regularly checked and the captured mites removed; will not prevent new pests from getting into the house||9|
|Sprays||insecticides, miticides||produce an immediate result, helpful when the infestation is heavy; easy to use; recommended by scientists to be used as a barrier against clover mites||short-term solution; should be reapplied; may harm some plants; may pose a risk to the health of humans or pets when inhaled; kids and pets should be let in the treated room only when the spray has dried; work on contact only||8|
|Dusts||insecticides||most effective when applied to cracks and crevices; such dusts as boric acid and diatomaceous earth are residual insecticides; less toxic than liquids; neither stain nor damage surfaces and fabrics||should be applied only in sites inaccessible to kids and pets; diatomaceous earth effective only when it is dry; should be reapplied; do not prevent new clover mites from entering the house; poses a risk if inhaled||10|
Below, you find a number of solutions for clover mite control. We have analyzed three liquid insecticides of different levels of concentration with the active ingredients permethrin and bifenthrin. Also, you will learn advantages of using the aerosol to get rid of clover mites. For those relying on natural solutions, there is diatomaceous earth in dust and the spray containing potassium salts of fatty acids. Let’s start with natural solutions.
4-Pound Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth
If you search for a natural solution, this ~$9.47 diatomaceous earth is the best bet for you. This is dust made from crushed fossilized fresh-water algae and it kills critters by coating and dehydrating them. Scientists recommend DE against clover mites, although there is no information that the manufacturer has tested the stuff to prove the product’s effectiveness in clover mite control.
Apply the dust to window sills and other sites near entry points. The most effective way of application is sprinkling DE into crevices and cracks as in this case, the dust reaches the maximum number of the pests and, at the same time, is out of reach of kids and pets. One of the advantages of the solution is that critters do not become immune to the substance while its major disadvantage is that the product must be always kept dry, otherwise, it simply will not have an effect. The product rates 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with almost 500 customer reviews.
Price: ~$9.47 Check the current price
Safer Brand Insecticidal Soap, 32 oz
With the active ingredient including potassium salts of fatty acids, this insecticidal soap is eco-friendly and is approved for organic gardening. Therefore, apart from being safe for humans and pets, the product can be applied directly to plants without harming them. As the manufacturer indicates, this is a perfect solution for protection of houseplants.
Natural plant extracts contained in the stuff kill pests by dehydration, however, a direct contact is required for that. One of the advantages of this solution is that it does not affect beneficial insects which are very useful for the garden. Also, compared to the concentrate mentioned above, this product is easy to use. What you need is to always keep the bottle at hand and spray as soon as a congregation of clover mites is detected. For a consistent control of these pests in the lawn, apply the spray several times to ensure their elimination. The product has scored 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.
Price: ~$10.99 Check the current price
Cy-Kick Aerosol, 18 oz
Cy-Kick CS Aerosol is labeled for clover mite control and is intended both for outdoor and indoor use. With the active ingredient cyfluthrin, the stuff produces an immediate result, and furthermore, has a long residual effect, the durability of which varies depending on the type of a surface. After application, the aerosol leaves a film that continues killing clover mites over the course of several weeks.
The product’s advantage over sprays is that it can be used to treat such hard-to-reach areas as crevices and cracks. The manufacturer also recommends applying the solution to piled debris, around entrance areas and windows. As for downsides, its low cost-efficiency should be pointed out. With the volume of 18 ounces, the price is high compared to the insecticides analyzed above. Also, take into account that the aerosol is a ready-to-use solution while the concentrates should be diluted making up numerous bottles of finished solutions.
The aerosol rates 4.0 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com. As one of the customers put it: “Clover mites were no match for this. Excellent product, minimal scent, works well.”
Price: ~$19.95 Check the current price
Talstar Pro, 96 oz
The concentrate contains 7.9% of bifenthrin which is an active ingredient recommended for clover mite control both inside the house and on the lawn. It should be diluted with water in the ratio of one ounce of the liquid per a gallon of water. The product can be used as an effective barrier and is permitted for application in food handling areas of the garden. It kills on contact, so spray it in the areas of clover mite congregation.
This is a powerful solution but very toxic, therefore be careful when handling it. The toxicity of the product lasts too long because it remains poisonous for about three months. Over the course of this period of time, the stuff kills all pests listed by the manufacturer.
Talstar concentrate is very popular among Amazon users and it rates 4.6 out of 5 stars, with 81% of the customers giving the product five stars. Out of more than 2,000 customer reviews, the overwhelming majority are positive. Among them, there is feedback concerning clover mites. “This definitely does kill clover mites. We don't get a lot of those tiny red bugs but now we don't have any at all. I think you will be extremely happy with Talstar Pro! I am still very happy with the effectiveness of this insecticide & it's been awhile since I sprayed & it still continues to work even though some major thunderstorms we have recently had!”, a satisfied customer says. Another user notes that although he purchased the product to control other pests, the stuff has eradicated clover mites as well: “I used to always see them crawling on the bricks of my house around the windows. I haven't seen them since I've been using this”.
Price: ~$34.68 Check the current price
36.8 % Permethrin SFR 32 oz Pest Control Insecticide
Among the products suggested by scientists for clover mite control are solutions based on permethrin. Compared with Talstar, this product is cheaper but with the volume three times smaller, that raises a question of cost-efficiency. At the same time, the concentration of the active ingredient is higher in permethrin SFR than in the previous product what implies that you will get more finished solutions after the concentrate is diluted with water. According to the manufacturer, the product makes up about 20 gallons of a ready-to-use spray.
The advantages of the solution include its long-lasting effect and almost odorless formula. You may use this insecticide to treat lawns and plants, as well as crevices and cracks in the house. It is also a good solution for creating a barrier. As it follows from the producer’s directions, for effective control, the insecticide must be adequately dispersed in the soil to establish a barrier between the building and the pests. The product rates 4.7 out of 5 stars, with over 700 customer reviews, most of which are positive.
Price: ~$25.14 Check the current price
Bifen I/T Insecticide-Bifenthrin
Bifen is an insecticide labeled for clover mite control. The product contains the same level of concentration of bifenthrin as Talstar, however, is volume is just 16 ounces compared to 96 ounces of Talstar. If you compare prices, Bifen is two times cheaper, something that makes this choice not to be cost-efficient. Nevertheless, the product’s substantial advantage is that it was developed specifically for clover mites, among other pests.
Also, the solution does not have an odor, provides a fast knockdown of pests and has a residual lasting up to three months. However, its long-lasting effect also implies a high toxicity, therefore, the product should be applied and stored carefully and according to the label directions. When diluted with a gallon of water, the solution covers an area of up to 2,500 square feet indoors.
Bifen rates 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with 80% of the customers giving it five stars. As for clover mites control, opinions are divided. “Insecticide worked as described. I sprayed my yard, the sides of my house and my deck and so far do not see any clover mites. I do expect to respray in a couple of weeks. So far so good,” a satisfied customer says. But another customer is not so optimistic and claims that the product has not solved his problem. “I've sprayed this 3 times according to directions in an attempt to control clover mites. The mites waltz right through the stuff, not even phased,” he notes.
Price: ~$18.68 Check the current price
Top 6 Clover Mite Killing Products: Comparative Chart
Talstar Pro, 96 oz
|concentrate, the active ingredient: bifenthrin|
Permethrin SFR, 32 o
|concentrate, the active ingredient: Permethrin|
Bifen I/T Insecticide-Bifenthrin, 16 oz
|concentrate, the active ingredient: bifenthrin|
Cy-Kick, 18 oz
|aerosol, the active ingredient: cyfluthrin|
Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth, 4 pounds
Safer Brand Insecticidal Soap, 32 oz
|insecticidal soap, the active ingredients: potassium salts of fatty acids|