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.
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 the perimeter of the home with MAXXTHOR EC. This fast acting, deep penetrating active will kill visual mites and penetrate their places of harborage so populations will be greatly reduced after just one application. That being said, plan on treating every 2 weeks until you don’t see any more. In most cases, 1 treatment does the job.
To get the most of your treatment, add SPREAD-X BOOST to your tank mix along with the Maxxthor. Boost is an adjuvant, also known as a wetter spreader or spreader sticker. It basically makes water and the mixture more “slippery” so you get better coverage. Treatments will spread 2-3 times wider and penetrate deeper.
The following short video summarizes why Boost can help deliver your treatment to where it matters the most. And this is extra helpful when treating homes with siding like vinyl, aluminum and stucco where clovermites are likely hiding.
Add no more than the rate you’re applying the Maxxthor so in this case, if you’re adding 2.5 oz of Maxxthor to the hose end sprayer, add 2.5 oz of Boost too before adding water. If you’re adding Maxxthor to a pump sprayer at the rate of 1 oz per gallon, use 1 oz of Boost.
And don’t spray in the middle of the day; treat late in the day close to sunset so the treatment can dry without direct sunlight. UV light on the Boost can stress plants if the temperature is 85 degrees or higher so treat 2 hours or less before sunset to reduce sunlight stress.
Use a good HOSE END SPRAYER if you don’t have a pump sprayer that can reach high enough. These hook to your garden hose and allow you to apply a lot of water and chemical quickly which is important when spraying for clover mites. Add 2.5 oz of Maxxthor to the sprayer (and 2.5 oz of Boost if you get it too) and then fill it to the 5 gallon line with water. Use this entire amount around the homes exterior being sure to spray the homes siding as well as a good 5-10 feet of ground out from the foundation. Maxxthor is fine for use on flowers, shrubs, trees and more.
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. Using the Maxxthor as detailed above will get them on siding like brick or stucco. But if you have cedar or masonite, siding which is effectively layered, you’ll need to spray FS MP AEROSOL into all cracks and crevices where you see them. Typically this will be the bottom 10 feet or less, close to the ground.
FS MP comes with a thin straw so you can inject it where clover mites like to nest.
CLOVER MITE INFESTATIONS – LEVEL 3
Level three infestations are when you’re finding mites on the inside of the home or apartment. This generally happens when the outside population has gotten so large they are foraging inside as they migrate seeking food. It can also happen on large apartment buildings, hospitals and other cement structures which have plenty of inherent environments clover mites find attractive. Typically large structures have large roof tops and clover mites can live under the shingles as well as in tiny cracks that develop in brick and mortar joints. Algae and mold will readily grow in these locations and clover mites will easily find this food and take up residence on such structures. From there some will inevitably end up inside the structure and in most cases, it will start out small with just a few being seen. But if the problem isn’t properly treated, it will only get worse.
To start, try to see where they are emerging and what part of the building might be harboring the population. Is it a ledge, balcony or deck that has plants? Maybe it’s a roof top garden or a leaky roof? Identifying any “hotspot” can no doubt prove helpful for solving the problem efficiently.
So if you’re seeing them outside, be sure to watch if they are emerging from the siding, from the ground, from behind a window frame or shutter, etc. 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 Maxxthor.
2) If you are finding them throughout the yard, treat the entire area first with the Delta Gard and then with the Maxxthor as explained above.
3) Spray the side of the home to at least a height above that which the mites are crawling. Use the Maxxthor for this application. If you’re up high in an apartment building, reach out every window you can and treat with one of the aerosols listed below.
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.
So after doing the outside treatments detailed above, get to work inside. This will require BITHOR mixed 1 oz to a gallon. Plan on spraying all baseboards, under appliances and anywhere low where activity is seen.
Use a good PUMP SPRAYER to get the Bithor applied.
Bithor is odorless, fast acting and should be applied once a month until you see no activity.
For areas you don’t want to spray with a liquid, use the FS MP Aerosol. Its better suited for use around countertops, window frames and doorways.
Level 1 and 2 infestations are easy to control following the treatment guidelines listed above. Maxxthor and FS MP applied outside will take care of clover mites before they get inside. But if you have them in the home, use Bithor and FS MP where activity is seen. Repeat as necessary to insure they don’t return.
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