How to Get Rid of Clover Mites Naturally

Say farewell to those pesky red buggers with these chemical-free solutions.

<p>Joseph Dreimiller/Getty Images</p>

Joseph Dreimiller/Getty Images

If clover mites have invaded your home or yard, you may be alarmed by the little red critters. Smashed clover mites can leave red stains on your furnishings or walls. Although seeing small red mites may be troubling, clover mites are generally harmless to people—but they can damage plants in your lawn and garden.

The tiny, red mites (Bryobia praetiosa) feed on plant sap by piercing leaves and flowers, which can cause discoloration and stunted growth in plants. While clover mites do not spread plant diseases and are not known to kill healthy plants, they can wreak havoc on vulnerable ones. “Clover mites are tiny arachnids infesting lawns and gardens, damaging plants, and becoming a nuisance to homeowners,” says Matthew Wilson, CEO of Handy Gardeners.

The good news is that you can get rid of the pesky critters from your home and garden and take some precautionary steps to prevent them from spreading. Landscaping and pest control experts offer tips on eliminating clover mites and preventing them from entering your home and yard.

Meet Our Expert

Related: 10 Common Houseplant Pests—and How to Eradicate Them

Natural Remedies for Clover Mites

Natural, non-toxic solutions should be your first defense against clover mites. Natural remedies can kill the little red buggers without posing risks to your health or environment.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a popular, non-toxic way to eliminate clover mites. “For natural control, diatomaceous earth can be very effective,” says Steve Sylva, owner of Steve’s Services, a landscaping company based in Malden, MA. “Sprinkling it around the infested areas creates a barrier that dehydrates the mites.”

Essential Oils

Sylva says essential oils like peppermint or clove oil can also help deter clover mites. He recommends mixing a few drops of essential oils with water and then spraying the perimeter of your home to ward off clover mites.

Neem Oil

Another natural way to kill clover mites is to use neem oil. Neem oil disrupts mites’ life cycles and can be used as a natural pesticide.  "Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is effective in killing clover mites,” Wilson says. “Just mix neem oil with water according to the product label instructions and then spray it on affected areas.”

To make a potent neem oil pesticide, mix 1 gallon of warm water and 1 to 2 teaspoons of dish detergent. The dish detergent acts as an emulsifying agent, allowing the neem oil to mix better with the water. After combining the water and dish detergent, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of neem oil. Spray the neem solution around entryways and areas of your home or yard where you see clover mites.

Garlic and Chili Pepper

Other natural clover mite repellents to protect your plants include garlic and chili pepper spray. “Combine crushed garlic or chilies with water and then strain them before spraying them on the plants,” Wilson says.

Physically Removing Clover Mites from Your Home

Another way to protect your home from clover mites is to physically remove the tiny red arachnids. Vacuuming is one of the best ways to remove clover mite infestations from your home.

“Physically removing clover mites can be done through vacuuming,” Sylva says. “It’s crucial to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent the mites from spreading. After vacuuming, seal and dispose of the bag immediately. Regular cleaning of affected areas with soap and water can also help remove any residual mites and their eggs.”

If clover mites attack your plants, you can use physical barriers like mesh netting to protect them. “Use physical barriers like row covers or fine mesh netting to protect vulnerable plants against clover mite infestations,” Wilson says.

Related: The 13 Best Vacuums, Tested and Reviewed

Tips for Preventing Clover Mites

Clean your home and yard regularly to help prevent clover mites. Remove weeds and cut your grass frequently. Ensure your soil is well-draining to eliminate places for clover mites to gather and feed. Clover mites love feasting on moist lawns. To prevent this, keep a strip of your lawn around your home (18 to 24 inches) free of grass, weeds, and mulch. You can replace mulch with dry materials like pea gravel or crushed rock.

“Maintain your lawn by regularly mowing and removing excess thatch,” Wilson says. “Clover mites thrive in dense vegetation, so a healthy lawn maintained with proper aeration and drainage can discourage their proliferation.”

If clover mites are entering your home, check for cracks around doors and windows. Seal and caulk any entryway areas that leave gaps for mites to enter. Vacuum regularly and wash your linens frequently to keep your home free of clover mites. 

Related: 10 Organic Lawn Care Ideas Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Frequently Asked Questions

If natural methods don't work, what chemical products should I use?

If natural methods do not deter the clover mites from your home, or if they return, it may be time to turn to chemical treatment.

“Insecticides are usually a last resort,” Sylva says. “However, they become necessary when natural methods fail to manage a severe infestation. I recommend products containing bifenthrin or permethrin for effective control. These chemicals are safe when used as directed and can provide long-term solutions by killing mites on contact.”

For indoor chemical use, follow package directions and ventilate the area well because insecticides can cause poor indoor air quality. Wear goggles and protective clothing when spraying insecticides. Spray pesticide around doors, windows, and entryways to get rid of clover mites in your home. Remember that chemical control methods can also damage helpful insects and plants, so use chemicals sparingly and keep pets and children away from treated areas.

When should you seek professional help for clover mites?

If DIY methods have not eliminated the clover mites from your home or if they keep coming back, it’s time to call a pest control professional. “Significant infestations or recurrences often require professional intervention,” Sylva says.

“When the problem persists despite DIY methods, it’s time to bring in experts who can apply more potent, targeted treatments and provide ongoing monitoring to prevent future outbreaks.”

A professional pest service will inspect your home and yard for clover mites and devise a customized treatment plan to eliminate them. A pest control professional can also recommend strategies to prevent future infestations.

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