Recently, I was sent to a residential community serviced by Cowleys in Colts Neck, NJ to resolve what was described as an invasion of hundreds of tiny reddish-brown bugs. I had a good idea of what I was likely dealing with. Upon arrival, I met with the property manager and he had me go to the pool area behind the clubhouse where the infestation was observed. Just what I was expecting. They had a clover mite infestation. Just like with this infestation, these nuisance pests are often found around well-fertilized lawns. If you see a mass of dark red specks crawling around your property, there’s a good chance you have clover mites!
Clover mites are are in the same family as spiders and ticks. They have eight legs, but are hard to see because they are about the size of a pinhead. These insects are called clover mites because they feed on clover plants (but also feed on grasses, ornamental plants, and shrubs). Just as with this infestation, clover mites, typically show up in large numbers. With this infestation, there were hundreds of these small mites crawling on the stonework, fences, tables, and chairs. These bugs typically prefer cooler temperatures, and are inactive on warm, dry days. So, these bugs emerge when temperatures start to warm in early spring and last through late spring/early summer. Once we start getting those scorching summer days, clover mite activity dramatically dies down.
Although these bugs are harmless to people and plants, they can be a major nuisance because of their sheer numbers. Also, if crushed, they leave an unsightly red stain from their body pigments that can get on patio furniture or your clothing should you sit on them by mistake. Also, because of their size, they can easily find their way into structures. They are even small enough to squeeze through many window screens. There is increased potential for clover mites to invade structures when grass extends to the foundation. Once inside, they soon die. These bugs do not infest pantries and contaminate food like many other pests.
I’ll be using a product around the pool area that will knock down the clover mite population in no time so everyone can get back to enjoying the pool area. It’s important to take care of the problem when the bugs are outside before they start entering nearby structures.