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 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.
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Identification and Control Information
- Household Pest Management: Clover Mites (PDF)—West Virginia University Extension Service
- Home & Garden: Clover Mites (PDF)—Maryland Cooperative Extension
- Entomological Notes: Clover Mite (PDF)—Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension
- Clover Mites (PDF)—Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Forest Service
[Photos, left to right: Rayanne Lehman, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org; Rayanne Lehman, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org; Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org]