FLORIDA TICKS & MITES
A source for information on ticks
Clover Mites Bryobia praetiosa
Clover mites are reddish-brown in color and ovoid in shape. As arachnids, mites have four pairs of legs
and are incapable of flight. Clover mites are slow-moving. They are known to reproduce in the spring and summer,
when temperatures are suitable for their breeding and survival.
Although clover mites are not a danger to human health and do not destroy furniture, they are considered
indoor pests. Their populations grow rapidly, as females lay up to 70 eggs, each of which matures within 30 days.
Eggs can be found in small crevices in concrete and wooden structures, as well as within walls, under loose bark
and in other protected locations. Inside the home, these mites leave reddish stains on surfaces when
they are crushed. Outside, clover mite populations are extremely destructive, as they feed on plants, flowers and
Common insecticides can be used to eliminate clover mites inside the home. However, pesticides also can be toxic
to humans and house pets and should be used with extreme caution. Always follow label directions. Because clover
mites reside within close proximity to their preferred food sources, controlling the growth of grass and weeds
outside the home will help to ensure that clover mite infestations do not occur.
Clover mites are tiny, the adults being smaller than the head of a pin.
The larve of the clover mite, freshly emerged from eggs, are bright red. The older stages and the adults are
darker reddish brown.
Clover mites feed on plant fluids, such as grass, and are common outdoors around most buildings. During the
fall, however, the mites may crawl onto building foundations in large numbers and deposit eggs within cracks
found in the building exterior. In the spring, the tiny red larvae hatch and may crawl up the foundation and
through cracks around windows and in walls and then into the building. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of these
mites then may be seen on window sills, curtains, and on walls. When smashed, a red stain may result that may
be difficult to remove from fabrics. Inside, the mites cannot find food and will soon die. These mites do not
bite people or pets.
During most of the year, clover mites are found outside in lawns and on other landscaping plants. They may
be seen inside during the spring. Many mites have complex symbiotic relationships with the larger organisms on
which they live. Plants, from crops to the canopies of tropical rainforests, are inhabited by numerous mite
species that feed on mosses, ferns, leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit, as well as other arthropods and even
other mites. Many mites found on agricultural crops are major economic pests due to the damage they bring and
plant pathogens they often carry.
Mammals and birds are hosts to innumerable species of parasitic mites (such as scabies and mange mites), as are
many reptiles and some amphibians. This makes various household pets unlikely mite hosts that unwillingly bring
them indoors. Insects and rodents, especially those that build nests, are also hosts to mites, and homes with
pest problems may also become contaminated with mites as a result.
House dust mites can be especially problematic in the home. They are found in mattresses, pillows, and
furniture containing natural fibers. They are scavengers that feed on human detritus but do not bite humans.
About 90% of those that are allergic to house dust are allergic to house dust mite extracts. More than half of
all homes are believed to be infested with these pests.
Mites are also among the oldest of all terrestrial animals, with fossils dating nearly 400 million years. They
have successfully colonized nearly every land, marine and fresh water habitat, from the desert barrens to polar
climates and in deep-sea trenches.
For most mite species, standard insect repellents will usually prevent bites. Locate and remove bird and rodent
nests, and treat infested areas with household insect sprays. A vacuum cleaner will collect many mites, and
make sure to dispose of vacuum bag contents immediately. Discard old or infested bedding and linens and clean
premises thoroughly. For treatment of scabies, dermatitis and other skin disorders, contact a physician.
Obviously, removing all vegetation next to the home will eliminate clover mites; however, this is not
- Homes that have regular annual clover mite infestations will benefit from sealing exterior cracks and
holes where the adult mites might deposit their eggs.
- When clover mites are a significant problem, treatment of the building foundation and perimeter,
together with treatment of cracks and holes in which mites may have crawled, can greatly reduce the
Such treatments are best completed by a professional.