If you’ve noticed some small red bed bugs recently, you may be dealing with clover mites. Clover mites are indoor nuisance pests that can invade your home and show up anywhere – not just in your bed.
Because of their similar size, shape, and appearance to bed bugs, these little red bugs in bed often get confused with bed bugs. The two creatures are very different, so it’s essential to learn how to identify them.
Once you know what clover mites are, you can address the problem and remove them from your home.
What Are Clover Mites?
Despite the tiny size of this creepy crawler, the clover mite is the largest of the mite family. It measures approximately 1/30 inches long, making it smaller than the head of a needle. However, its bright-red color makes it straightforward to spot against things like tiled floors, sinks, and bed sheets.
Although it’s easy to toss clover mites into the insect family and call it a day, it’s actually not an insect at all. Clover mites belong to the arachnid family and are closely related to spiders and ticks. Rather than having six legs like insects, these tiny bugs have eight.
A clover mite’s oval-shaped body has featherlike scales, though its small size may make them difficult to see.
Are Clover Mites Harmful?
As far as physical and health concerns, clover mites are not harmful at all. They do not bite or sting, don’t bother pets, and won’t invade your food sources. Strictly speaking, clover mites are nothing but nuisance creatures that disturb the appearance of a home.
The only damage that clover mites can cause is to plants. After all, these arachnids are herbivores, so can’t help but feed on plants—especially grasses and clover—and love sap from lawns and succulents. A clover infestation will not harm you but may impact your yard and houseplants.
How Fast Do Clover Mites Spread?
The good news, aside from the fact that clover mites do not bite, sting, or cause damage to your home, is that they will not usually reproduce within your home either.
Female clover mites will lay their eggs in tiny cracks and crevices during the winter outside. When spring rolls around, these eggs hatch, and the clover mites live outside for a couple of weeks before they seek shelter and go dormant in the hotter weather.
Once the weather cools down again, the mites reemerge and migrate indoors. With many of their food sources gone in the cold, they tend to look elsewhere. The biggest surges of clover mites tend to come in the spring and the fall.
But most of their reproduction will occur outdoors, so you’ll rarely see a significant spread of clover mites due to the eggs hatching.
Are Clover Mites Different From Bed Bugs?
Spotting little red bugs in bed is usually a warning sign for bed bugs, but when you consider clover mites vs. bed bugs, the two are vastly different.
To start, bed bugs are insects and clover mites, as we’ve established, are arachnids. Bed bugs are also much larger than clover mites, comparatively, so they’re easier to see and identify. The average bed bug is typically around the size of an apple seed.
Perhaps one of the most critical distinctions between the two is that bed bugs bite humans and clover mites do not. Bed bugs get their nutrition from humans, biting into the skin and sucking on the blood. But clover mites don’t feed on blood, nor do they even bite humans.
If you’re spotting tiny red bugs that bite, your problem is with bed bugs, not clover mites.
How to Get Rid of Clover Mites Indoors
Clover mites may not be harmful to you, your family, or your home, but they can still be a nuisance to see roaming around. Like with most homes, you will want to keep yours free from all kinds of pests, insects, and arachnids.
Thankfully, you have several simple steps available to you that can help you get rid of clover mites and prevent them from entering your home in the future.
Vacuum the Ones You See
You might be tempted to squash clover mites the second you spot one of these tiny critters, but keep in mind that their heavily red-pigmented bodies will cause stains. Squishing these arachnids can leave lasting marks on your walls, floors, windows, curtains, sheets, and more.
Instead, grab your vacuum whenever you see any mites. Use the hose attachment or a handheld vacuum to suck clover mites up and into the bag. That will ensure the mites are gone without leaving any stains behind.
Vinegar and Water
Two simple household products can help you deter clover mites (along with many other insects). Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and aim it directly at any clover mites you see. The solution will kill the mites on contact, and you can carefully wipe or vacuum them up.
You can also treat the entrances of your home with vinegar and water to discourage mites and insects from entering. Spray it along the out parts of window sills and doorways.
Use Sticky Traps
Sticky traps have long been a practical option in getting rid of all kinds of pests, from flies to rats and everything in between. These same traps can be incredibly helpful if you have a problem with clover mites.
Purchase some sticky traps and place them at key entry points, such as windowsills or doorways. You can also try putting them wherever you find clover mites the most in your home.
Because these mites can’t fly or jump, it’s easy to catch them crawling over these types of traps. Not only are they effective, but they are very affordable and come with easy clean-up. Simply toss the traps in the trash when you’re done with them.
Sprinkle Baby Powder
Baby powder is a talc-based powder that will deter clover mites and stop them from entering a room or building. Simply sprinkle the powder in areas you commonly find clover mites and watch them run away.
Most mites will run from baby powder, but if they do walk through it or eat it, it will kill them. Go back later and vacuum the area to get rid of any dead bugs that might be trapped in it.
In addition, you can try sprinkling baby powder outside to keep clover mites away from plants, gardens, and entry points of your home.
Outdoor Clover Mite Treatment
Taking care of clover mites in your home is a pretty simple and quick process, but what do you do about the pests outside that keep coming in or destroying your plants? Check out these tips.
The best way to treat your outdoor areas for clover mites is to apply the proper insecticide to your plants and yard safely. Choose a treatment that specifically mentions mites. Follow the instructions closely and apply the substance to your lawn and plants as required.
Keep in mind that some insecticide treatments can cause staining on the exterior of your house, so be sure to read through all the instructions and warnings.
Insecticides won’t always kill clover mites, but they will prevent more from coming. It’s best to continue both indoor and outdoor treatment of clover mites to completely mitigate the problem.
Fertilizer is excellent for your plants, but overdoing it can actually attract clover mites. Clover mites are attracted to high levels of nitrogen caused by fertilizers. Given that, you could be doing more harm than good if you add too much to your plants.
Practice Good Yard Maintenance
Something as simple as good, consistent yard maintenance can help keep clover mites away from your property. Keep your lawned trimmed and in good shape to discourage mite invasions.
Likewise, be sure to regularly trim any trees and shrubs so that you keep them away from your house. Make sure no branches hang over your deck or roof or near any windows, as mites can use these as connections to your home.
Finally, try to keep at least three feet from the foundation of your house to any grass or plants. You can fill these gaps with gravel or mulch, as mites have a difficult time crossing these terrains.
If you’re finding tiny red bugs in bed but haven’t spotted any itchy, red bites on your body, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with clover mites and not bed bugs.
Take this as good news, as bed bugs can pose a much more severe threat to you and your family. Clover mites are harmless to people and pets, so there’s not too much to worry about.
Keep your home and yard free of clover mites by following the tips we mentioned above. Maintain a clean home and yard for the best results, and these nuisances should bother you no more.