Clover Mites—Bryobia praetiosa

Clover mites are very tiny arachnids that live and reproduce outdoors, but are frequently encountered as a household pest in early summer and in the fall when they migrate into dwellings by mistake. Clover mites are harmless. They cannot bite or sting; they do not infest stored foods; they cannot attack the house structure or furnishings. They are an annoyance and nuisance because of their tremendous numbers. Clover mites are plant feeders only, they feed on sap from grasses and clover, and are especially numerous in lawns with a heavy growth of succulent, well-fertilized grass. They do not cause any apparent harm to turfgrass.

clover mite adult

clover mite adult

close-up of clover mite

Clover mites are 1/64 inch long, soft, oval, and flattened from top to bottom. They vary in color from rusty brown to dark red. A distinguishing characteristic is the very long pair of front legs that extend forward like antennae as the mites crawl.

Click on images to view full-size

Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: Rayanne Lehman, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,; Rayanne Lehman, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,; Gary Alpert, Harvard University,]