Reddish stains around the house? Could be clover mites. Find out about this tiny insect and how to get rid of infestations.
What is it?
Byrobia praetiosa is a pest related to spiders and found throughout the United States. They feed, and reproduce on clover, many grasses and other plants.
What does it look like?
They are each a mite smaller than the size of a pinhead. Clover mites are reddish-brown and have long front legs. Often infestations are so plentiful that infested surfaces get a reddish cast to the surface. If crushed, the mites leave a reddish stain.
How does it manifest?
Mites lay eggs during the summer and fall. Young hatch from the eggs and feed on surrounding vegitation. In early autumn they migrate into homes and other protected areas by entering through cracks or openings in the foundation of the home or around windows and doors. You may find them on windowsills, furniture, floors and walls. Usually clover mite activity decreases once temperatures fall below 40° F or rise above 85° F.
What can you do about it?
Your best bet is to treat outdoor areas with a chemical such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos or malathion. Mites in the home can be decrease by keeping a strip of soil about 18 to 24 inches wide around the foundation that is free of vegitation or any debris that might harbor mites. Once indoors, mites can be removed by vacuuming them and destroying the vacuum cleaner bag so that they cannot escape from it. If you choose to spray them indoors, chlorpyrifos is your best choice. Do not crush the mites in an attempt to kill them as this may result in a reddish stain that will be harder to get rid of than the mites.