Clover mites are little red arachnids which exist throughout the United States. They are small – about the size of a poppy seed – and thrive around homes and other warm structures.
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Clover mites began to surface as a residential pest problem in the years following world war II. This is when the great housing boom began to place plants and landscaping close to houses. Though this new look to homes was nice, it introduced environments that several insects, arachnids and other creatures like as well. This lead to them living alongside homes which in turn lead to them finding there way inside. Much of the demand for pest control service is based on the fact that pre-existing conditions around the home are conducive to insect or pest infestations. The clover mite is such a pest.
CLOVER MITE BIOLOGY
Clover mites are plant eaters. They can live on many types of plants, trees, mold or algae. Clover mites are strong and hearty. They will easily endure a cold, long winter and will emerge on the first warm day of January. Clover mites live on or close to the food they like to eat. Once they find a food supply around your home, they will quickly move onto the siding. They like wood such as cedar, pine or pressboard. They will live in all the cracks and crevices such siding provides. It is likely they will find mold and algae on which to feed in these cracks as well. Clover mites are egg layers and usually lay eggs at least once a year. Though they may lay their eggs on plants, they prefer to do so on behind tree bark or house siding. The eggs will hatch in the spring as larva and begin feeding immediately. The larva will pass through several nymphal stages before reaching adulthood. This is true with most mites. In most areas, their is one generation that reaches adulthood a year. However, this generation is usually hundreds if not thousands of mites. Though small, they will utilize every space they can find. If they are allowed to nest on the side of your home a few years without being noticed, you will probably have quite an infestation by the time you find them!
CLOVER MITE PROBLEMS
Clover mites are a problem for several reasons. Since they are able to live in wall voids, under siding and generally out of view, many times their activity will go unnoticed for several years. During this time they will be reproducing and growing the population. This can happen out of sight since they are able to find food in areas where you don’t look on a regular basis. At one point their numbers will be so large they will have to migrate. This migration usually happens in the spring or during a warm spell in the winter. If you have such a migration expect to see thousands and thousands of red specs running around in circles. This migration may start from plants or trees adjacent to your home. It may be originating from the siding and wall voids of your home. This migration will lead to them getting in around window and door frames. The mites are not looking for anything specific but they will be persistent. These migrations generally happen when the nest areas are filled up and they are simply looking for a new place to live. You’ll know you have clover mites because they smear red if you crush one with your finger. This video does a good job of showing what a clover mite looks like close up, what they look like compared to a persons finger and what they look like after they’ve been crushed by that same finger!!
As demonstrated in the above video, The smashed mite will leave a red blotch. But this red is not blood. Clover mites don’t bite, but they will leave a mess. Their red will stain just about anything you smear them on so try not using the crushing method of control. It will prove to be easier to vacuum the active ones or to use a piece of scotch tape with light pressure. These migrations may be the first clue you receive that you have a problem. Rest assured it will continue throughout the spring and then appear to pass as summer sets in. You may have another exodus in the fall, but they probably won’t appear in great numbers until next year. These migrations and their populations will continue to grow unless you implement a pest control program designed to get them where they are living.
Although you may find them randomly around the home, in most cases the migration occurs on one side of a home. It may be on the second level coming from the roof. It may be on the first floor on the southwest side of the home. It may even be only on the outside of the house and even on only one side. If they haven’t gotten inside yet, treatment will be limited to the outside siding. If they have found their way inside, you will need to attack them at both fronts. It is important to understand that the pest control program you set up will not be done one time. It must be set up to be done at least twice, depending on the level of infestation. Clover mites don’t establish themselves overnight and you won’t be able to get rid of them overnight. In the worst scenario, the treatment will be labor intensive. For the outside infestation it will be as simple as spraying the outside foundation.
CLOVER MITE CONTROL
There are three levels of infestation that most clover mite problems follow. If the first level is detected before it reaches the second level, control is easy. If the house has reached the second level, more treatment is needed but you will be able to get control. The third level of infestation involves the most work and greater time to get under control.
CLOVER MITE INFESTATIONS – LEVEL 1
Level one infestations are when clover mites are found around the home. You may be finding them in mulch material like pine straw or wood chips. Any natural mulch decomposes and will create enough food to feed a lot of clover mites. Rock or gravel beds around the home are excellent clover mite beds. The rock tends to hold moisture which in turn allows algae to grow. Clover mites will readily take advantage of this food supply. Fence rows, railroad ties and plants which are contacting or in close proximity of the home will all attract and provide both food and shelter. If you come home one day to thousands of clover mites active in any of the above areas, don’t be surprised. Be thankful they aren’t inside your home at this point. This activity should be controlled immediately. The best method of control is to use a product called BIFEN. It mixes with water and is applied with a PUMP SPRAYER. One gallon will treat up to 800 sq/ft. Be sure to treat all around the home even though you may be finding activity on only one side. Bifen uses an active ingredient which is very effective against mites. Bifen is odorless, easy to mix and works the best. Be sure to treat all flower beds, mulch piles and turf that is suspected of having activity. Bifen will quickly kill what is active and provide a few weeks of residual.
If you have a large area of turf to treat, you should first apply some DELTA GARD GRANULES. These will penetrate pine straw, mulch, thatch and get deep down where the real nest sights are located. Apply them with one of our HAND SPREADERS to insure even distribution and then spray over the top with some the BIFEN listed above. Though you can apply Bifen with a pump sprayer, it is easier to use our hose end sprayer for large jobs. The GILMOUR 20 GALLON HOSE END hooks to your hose and uses the power of your water spicket to spray. This will save a lot of time and mixing effort. Most importantly, it will insure you use enough water to get proper coverage. Pump sprayers just won’t cut it for this type of application. Water – and a lot of it – is best so the Hose End is the sprayer of choice.
CLOVER MITE INFESTATIONS – LEVEL 2
Level two infestations are when the mites have found their way onto the home. If you are seeing thousands of mites crawling on the side of your home a foot or two high, don’t panic. In most cases, this activity can be controlled quickly and effectively.
A timely treatment with the Bifen listed above on the home will stop them from being able to establish themselves. Be sure to spray a 4-6 foot high band around the home in addition to treating as described above for a level one infestation. Be sure to treat well above the height you see them crawling. The liquid treatment on the home should keep them out, but you must attack them in the mulch, plants or other areas they are nesting. If you fail to do this, they will surely find their way inside at some point as the foundation treatment will break down and be ineffective after a month. This is why the Delta Gard Granules is so important to use if you intend on breaking the cycle and keeping them out for good. Treat once a month for two or three months to insure you have them under control.
CLOVER MITE INFESTATIONS – LEVEL 3
Level three infestations are when you are finding mites on the inside of the home. This generally happens when the outside population has gotten so large they are foraging inside as they migrate seeking food. This might happen gradually, but in most cases homeowners come home to a migration in process. If such a migration is found by you or someone else in the home, don’t remove or kill any mites.
To start, step back and watch to see where they are emerging. This information will prove helpful for treatment. If you are seeing them outside, be sure to watch if they are emerging from the siding or from the ground. The two most important things to watch for is how high they are actively nesting and which side or sides of the home they are most active. If they are inside, watch to see if they are coming from the rug, the wall, the ceiling, a window frame, a door way, electric outlets, or other entry point.
Again, this information will prove critical for the best treatment results. By knowing their entrance points you will be able to treat them directly. This will enable you to get results quicker. Controlling level three infestations is more difficult as more treatment methods and material is needed. You will need to follow the guidelines outlined above:
1) Treat plants and/or mulch areas that may be harboring populations with Bifen.
2) If you are finding them throughout the yard, treat the entire area first with the Delta Gard and then with the Bifen as explained above.
3) Spray the side of the home to at least a height above that which the mites are crawling. Use the Bifen for this application.
Since level three infestations mean the mites are living in the siding and/or the walls of the house, the level of nesting can vary dramatically. You could get lucky and only have them in a small section of one side of the exterior of the home. However, this is not likely. In most cases, the clover mites will be very active on at least one side of the structure. This activity is usually on both sides of the home. Although it may only be one level deep, such as under the wood shakes or around a window frame, in most cases they will have gotten to several depths by the time you find them inside. This means you will have to have some patience and persistence when treating. It is important to realize you will not be able to treat one time and be done with it. Most infestations which have reached level three will require treatments every few months for a year or two. Use DFORCE AEROSOL under siding, around windows, in light fixtures, around door frames or any where you saw them emerging. This treatment is both fast acting and easy to do.
However, if you want or need something that will last longer, use DELTAMETHRIN DUST. This material will last 6-12 months – even in wet environments – and does a much better job of breaking the cycle than just the aerosol alone. Apply the dust with a HAND DUSTER. This tool will let you get the dust into wall voids, electric outlets, switchplate covers and just about anywhere the Clover Mites may be hiding. Once you have dusted, mix up some BIFEN and apply it with one of our SPRAYERS to baseboards, carpeting and any flooring where the mites are active. This product is both odorless and safe for children and pets to walk on once it dries. Since these mites are small and can hide in many areas around the home, a blanket type application is sometimes needed. In other words, don’t just treat where you have seen them. Make a point to spray areas which are adjacent to where they were most active. This will insure you get enough coverage of key spots. Level three infestations of clover mites are usually not controlled with one or two applications. In most cases, you will need to treat sporadically throughout the year.
Level 1 and 2 infestations are easy to control following the treatment guidelines listed above. Bifen and Delta Gard are able to control outside infestations and keep them from penetrating your home. Once clover mites have established themselves in the home and reached level three status, you will need to treat outside and inside as well. Dforce aerosol will let you penetrate most any crack or crevice where clover mites like to live; use the Deltamethrin Dust for longer protection in wall voids where the mites like to nest. Spray Bifen throughout the home in any room which has activity for long term surface residual to kill off migrating mites as they enter living areas. Repeat as necessary to insure they don’t return.