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University of Minnesota Extension

Clover mites

Quick facts

  • Clover mites are a common nuisance in and around Minnesota houses.
  • They are most common in the fall and spring.
  • They can sometimes be seen on sunny days in the winter.
  • Clover mites feed on grass, but do not bite humans or animals.

How to identify clover mites

This pest is not an insect but a true mite.

  • All mites have two main body parts and eight legs.
  • Slightly smaller than the head of a pin with a reddish or reddish-brown body.
  • When the mites are crushed, they leave rusty or blood-red spots.

Damage caused by clover mites

Clover mites actually do not damage a house, its furnishings, or even humans or animals.

  • They feed on the lawn where they suck sap from grasses, clover and other plants.
  • In the fall they sometimes gather on walls, windows, tree trunks and other outside surfaces where they seek protected hiding places.
  • They crawl into cracks around windows or in foundation walls and under siding, shingles or shakes.
  • They can be seen inside houses on window sills, walls, tables, etc.
  • Most of the mites will congregate on the sunny side of the house, indoors or outdoors.

Mites become inactive in cold weather, and are seen feeding on the lawns again in spring.

How to get rid of clover mites

Small number of clover mites

If clover mites have entered your home, physically remove them with a vacuum cleaner or wipe them up with a moist cloth.

Be careful not to crush the mites as they can stain surfaces.

Large number of clover mites 

  • Treat the foundation with a residual pesticide such as permethrin, bifenthrin or cyfluthrin.
  • Contact a professional pest control service to treat your home’s exterior.

CAUTION: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. Remember, the label is the law.

Clover mites entering homes every year

You might see several mites on the outside of your building year after year. In this case, maintain a barrier of clean, bare soil around your home. This area should be free of grass and leaves.

  • Clover mites generally do not cross such a barrier.

  • This barrier should be about 18 to 24 inches wide.

  • If you have annuals, perennials or shrubs planted in this zone, have them far enough apart so the clover mites cannot bridge across this barrier.

  • Landscape rock is not enough of a deterrent to keep clover mites away from buildings.

Authors: Jeffrey Hahn and Mark Ascerno, former Extension entomologists

Reviewed in 2019

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