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Clover Mites

One of three turf damaging mites in Colorado, clover mites are frequent nuisances inside of structures as well.  Typically entering on the sunny exposure sides of the buildings (primarily south and west sides), clover mites often migrate inside through cracks and crevices around windows and doors.  The sheer numbers in which clover mites typically invade a structure is typically the cause for concern from occupants.  Many believe that they are blood sucking species of mites due to the reddish colored stain that occurs from the mites being crushed when in fact clover mites do not bite at all, nor do they transmit diseases.  Smaller than the head of a pin, clover mites range in color from reddish brown to green and upon closer examination display a distinguishing characteristic of an extraordinarily long pair of front legs.

The only damage that occurs from a clover mite infestation is to turf grasses and plants on which they feed.  Frequently mistaken for winter kill in turf grass, clover mite injury is typically found in sunny, dry areas of the lawn.  A vast majority of the time the damage will occur within 10 feet of a tree, building or other apparatus in which clover mites can climb in order to shed their skins and lay eggs.  Two or more generations are produced during cooler weather seasons with breeding occurring from fall through the beginning of May.  Turf grass injuries due to clover mite infestations happen only in the early growing season, usually February to May and therefore clover mites are often considered cool-weather mites in contrast to their relatives that cause a majority of damage during the warmer months.

Currently, there are no highly effective chemical methods of control for clover mites and therefore control is limited at best.  Changes in availability of previously utilized chemical control products played a significant role in the decrease in control methods of clover mites.  Elimination of grass and plants around the foundation of the building and extending out a minimum of three feet will often aide in decreasing clover mite activity within the building.  Thoroughly sealing all gaps and cracks on sunny exposure sides of the building will also assist in the reduction of migrating clover mites.  Vacuuming of clover mites from walls and window sills will prevent staining experienced when clover mites are crushed while trying to wipe them up.  Vacuum bags should be disposed of or canisters washed following clean up.