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What Are These Tiny Red Bugs in My House?

Clover Mites, and What to Do About Clover Mites in Your Home

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Red Mite (clover mite)
uuzinger/Flickr

Question: What Are These Tiny Red Bugs in My House?

Help! I have hundreds of tiny red bugs on my windowsills and curtains. When I squash them, they leave nasty red stains on everything. What are these tiny red bugs in my house? What do I do to get rid of them?

Answer:

Clover mites invade homes, usually in early spring or late fall. These tiny red bugs measure a mere millimeter or less in size, so it's easy for them to squeeze through the smallest of cracks around windows or in foundations. You probably wouldn't notice a few clover mites in your home, but they tend to aggregate in large numbers that can be a little disarming.

The good news is you've got nothing to worry about if clover mites invade your home. They don't bite people or pets, they don't carry diseases, and they can't damage your furniture or food items. They do, however, leave a nasty red stain if you squash them. This isn't blood, it's the pigments in their body that give them their red color.

Clover mites (Bryobia praetiosa) feed primarily on grasses and clovers. They aren't insects, but true mites belonging to the class Arachnida. They thrive on heavily fertilized lawns, so cut back on your fertilizing regimen if you've got a clover mite problem. Lawns that extend to the foundation of the house provide an easy pathway for mites to make their way indoors.

Why do clover mites invade homes? These tiny red bugs like to bask in warm, sunny places, so they crawl up the sides of buildings, usually on the south or west facing sides. Then, they'll look for hiding places, and crawl into the first crevice they find. Often, this is around a window, so they'll end up inside your home, crawling around on your windowsills and curtains.

If you find the clover mites a nuisance and want to get rid of them, use a vacuum cleaner to suck them up, then dispose of the bag in an outdoor garbage can away from the house. They can and will crawl back out of the bag if left indoors. You can also place sticky traps on windowsills or other places where you find large aggregations of clover mites.

 

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