Monday, February 18, 2008

Landscape - Clover Mites Can Migrate to Houses

The following is a short article on clover mites that can be an nuisance invader of houses in the early spring.

Clover mites are accidental invaders that can be a temporary nuisance during the early spring. These very small, reddish brown creatures appear only as moving dark spots to the naked eye. Sheer numbers, plus the resulting red-brown stain left behind if they are crushed, make them unwelcome visitors. Clover mites are not blood feeders and will not harm people or pets, nor will they infest household products. Once inside a home or building they will soon die. Clover mites feed on clover and grasses. They can be especially abundant in the heavy, succulent growth of well-fertilized lawns. They usually enter a home around windows or doors so they are usually seen crawling along sills or thresholds. A soapy rag or wet sponge can be used to clean mites off of surfaces. Wipe carefully to avoid crushing the mites and causing stains. The crevice tool of a vacuum cleaner may also be used to pick up mites. Rely on non-chemical control indoors. Do not apply insecticides to kitchen counters or other interior surfaces. There is an increased potential for invading structures when grass extends up to the foundation. A plant bed or open area will provide a barrier that will stop many mites and provide a long term solution to persistent problems. Avoid overfertilizing lawns. This creates situations that are ideal for mites to increase to tremendous numbers. A barrier spray of a pyrethroid insecticide may reduce movement of the mites from grasses to patios, decks, or house walls. Use a sprayer to treat at the base of all exterior doors, garage and crawl space entrances, around foundation vents and utility openings, and up underneath siding. It may also be useful to treat around the outside perimeter of the foundation in a 2 to 6- foot-wide band along the ground, and 2-3 feet up the foundation wall. Follow label directions.

Reprinted and modified from CLOVER MITES CRAWLING By Lee Townsend in the March 12, 2007 edition of the Kentucky Pest News from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

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