Clover Mites in Turf


Clover mites are more often an annoyance in northern states, but have been noted as a pest in different parts of North Carolina during certain years. If populations build to large numbers, they may invade homes, overrun floors and furniture and create great worry among homeowners. Homeowners often first notice them as tiny moving red dots on sidewalks or foundations. Severe infestations may cause tiny stippling in turf leaves that could slightly reduce the intensity of green color, however, damage is not severe enough to justify treatment on turf under normal circumstances. They do not bite people, transmit diseases or feed on furniture or pantry items. There is an old, suspect, isolated report of skin irritation from Argentina from children scratching at the mites. When crushed, however, they may leave a tiny red stain. Other common names for this mite are Ivy red spider mite and Bryobia mite.

Cultural Control

Caulking and weatherstripping may help create a physical barrier around windows, doors and cracks. Buildings with grass growing up to the foundation often have more mites entering. Do not over-fertilize turf.

Chemical Control

If clover mites become a problem or are a routine problem, the lower three feet of foundation or outside wall may be sprayed with with a pesticide containing cyfluthrin or fluvalinate. Treat around any entry points. The surrounded lawn may also be sprayed six to ten feet from the building. Two or three sprays may be needed at two-week or three-week intervals. Malathion may be used, however, there have been reports in Poland of resistance by this mite to organophosphates.

After mites have entered a building they will not survive for long. Generally, it would be better to confine any chemicals to the outside perimeter of the building or threshold and rely on frequent vacuuming and patience, rather than using household insecticides.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Rick BrandenburgDr. Rick BrandenburgExtension Specialist (Peanuts & Turf) & Department Extension Leader (919) 515-8876 rick_brandenburg@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University
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