If you've ever noticed clover mites, the tiny red bugs crawling on surrounding plants or on your concrete, it's a good chance you have a clover mite issue. These tiny red pests are arachnids. They are not insects but relatives of spiders and ticks.
Concrete mites (or sidewalk mites) are red velvety mites that crawl over pavement, patios, foundations, and other outdoor surfaces in the early summer. Occasionally, they wander indoors and crawl all over floors, walls, countertops, computer monitors, and anywhere else they find available.
Tiny Red Bugs, aka Clover Mites - Are They Harmful?
Even though they do not directly threaten humans or human health, an infestation of clover mites can become quite a nuisance to other outdoor objects. When squashed, these clover mites, the tiny red bugs, leave behind red stains that can be difficult to remove from concrete surfaces.
Before considering keeping these red bugs at bay, homeowners or renters must understand how and why they come in.
Spider Mites vs. Clover Mites
The primary difference between adult clover mites and spider mites is that clover mites are a little bigger, have a reddish-brown coloring, and prefer cooler climates. On the other hand, the spider mite's colors vary from green to yellow to brilliant red.
Don't confuse concrete mites with Red Grasshopper Mites, Trombidium Holosericeum, or other Trombidae family mites.
These solitary, predacious mites that eat other mites are among the most significant in the United States. They are beneficial mites, sometimes referred to as "red velvet mites" due to the soft, fine, red hairs covering their body, making it appear covered in red velvet themselves.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: What is the Difference Between Them?
Clover mites are a type of small, reddish bugs that are commonly found in homes. Despite clover mites being small, chiggers are even tinier or smaller. The primary differences between clover mites and chiggers lie in their appearance, diet, habitat, and bites.
A clover mite measures approximately 1mm, making it visible to the naked human eye whereas, chiggers are less than half that size. This makes chiggers difficult to see or spot if no magnification was used.
Moreover, clover mites infest and feed on plants while chiggers that are too small to see live in shady and wet spots. In contrast, clover mites that look like tiny red dots don't bite, unlike chigger bites that can leave itchy red bumps.
What Do Clover Mites Look Like?
Before taking steps towards getting rid of clover mites in the vegetable garden, ensure that you are truly dealing with clover mite infestation. Due to their tiny size, it is hard to see they have eight legs; this includes two front legs, often confused for the four other legs, and two second and third legs being antennae.
The easiest way to identify clover mites is by crushing some of them. If, after doing so, there remains a bright red and blood-like stain, you have clover mites.
Bryobia praetiosa are tiny red bugs about 1/30 inch long and smaller than a pinhead. Clover mites do not bite, and eggs can be identified by the red color associated with these insects, while adult clover mites are typically darker brown.
These tiny mites usually appear in large numbers during early spring. Although they are more of a nuisance when they invade your home, they can also wreak havoc in the yard and garden.
Biology of Concrete Mites
The eggs of clover mites are red, circular, and a mere .12 millimeters wide--as small as a speck of dust! Detecting them with the human eye is nearly impossible unless laid out in a large group.
These small red bugs become Clover Mite larvae after starting off as eggs. The eggs will hatch in spring and fall, dropping the larva onto nearby plants. Adult mites prefer laying their eggs in window sills, cracks, and crevices of a building's walls with grass growing below.
Concrete mites are part of the genus Balaustium in the Erythraeidae mite family. They get their name because of the places where they like forming mass gatherings on masonry foundations.
Clover Mite Eggs
They breed outdoors in moist, organic, vegetative environments, such as those that often occur around the foundations of buildings. They do their primary egg laying in leaf litter and on the bark and leaves of host plants where eggs overwinter. If they wait too long to lay eggs, they will be dormant until the weather cools. They are cool-season mites that prefer when temperatures cool and are commonly found on picnic tables and trash bins.
Clover mites lay tiny eggs, merely .004 inches or .12 mm wide, round, and brilliant red. The female lays eggs in the crevices and cracks of a home's foundation. They also lay eggs beneath the siding, around window frames, and under loose bark.
Depending on when the clover mites lay their eggs, it can take a few hours to an entire week for them to hatch. Once the eggs hatch they become clover mite larva. The larvae, which have only six legs, feed for a few days and then seek shelter. Once they find it, they go dormant until the molting process begins. This cycle of feeding, finding shelter, and molting happens twice.
Unlike chigger mites, however, concrete chigger mites are nonparasitic during their larval stage. Instead, they sustain themselves at every stage of life by predating with piercing mouths. Their diet consists of other soft-bodied arthropods and small insects.
What Plants Attract Clover Mites?
Clover mites love to eat plants. They can be especially abundant in areas with succulent growth and well-fertilized lawns. There are over two hundred varieties of plant species that clover mites feed upon, preferably clover, hence their name. When these tiny red bugs on concrete feed on plants, they leave silvery trails, similar to snail trails, on the plants.
Clover Mites vs. Red Spider Mites
Another tiny red bug you might recognize outdoors is the red spider mite—the way to distinguish between clover and small red spider mites. Clover mites are always red. However, those that are get their coloring from the pigments in their body fluids.
Bryobia praetiosa Koch, commonly known as clover mite species, goes by several names but some people refer to them as concrete bugs or concrete mites. Others call them red clover mites or the tiny red spider mite.
Clover mites are not spider mites. They are actually arachnids, not insects—are coming from—other than that, they appear when the weather warms up in the early spring.
The primary difference between red clover mites and spider mites is size. The cover mites are a little bigger, prefer cool temperatures, and have reddish-brown coloring. While the spider mite colors vary from yellow to green to brilliant red. In addition, spider mites are microscopic and invisible to see with your naked eye.
How to Get Rid of Clover Mite Infestations
Upon noticing you have an infestation of clover mites on your concrete, the first question is how to get rid of them. Before starting any measures to get rid of clover mites, ensure that the problem really is clover mites.
Because they are so small, it is difficult to see their eight legs, including two front legs, which are often mistaken for antennae.
Are Concrete Mites Harmful?
Do concrete mites bite? Do clover mites bite a common concern for homeowners? Concrete mites do not bite and aren't dangerous to you, your children, or your pets. The most harm they can do is stain the walls, clothing, and furniture if you accidentally smash them.
These tiny pests tend to appear in large numbers. Therefore, if you're concerned about what they might do to your garden plants or landscaping, it's best to eliminate them early.
These tiny, fast-moving bright red mites scurry around on sunny surfaces such as on picnic tables, patios, sidewalks, concrete retaining walls, and on the outside walls of homes and buildings.
Will Mites Harm Your Concrete?
When smashed, these tiny red bugs on concrete leave a red stain behind that is not blood. It is the mite's body pigment. Besides the ugly red stain they leave on your concrete, they are generally harmless.
Contact Us to Get Rid of Concrete Mites
When looking for preventative measures to remove concrete mites, call A.N.T. Pest Control. Call us at 815-215-7211 for a free quote on how to prevent clover mites from creating an infestation.