I Finally Have a Name for Those Tiny Red Bugs That Pop Up Periodically

I Finally Have a Name for Those Tiny Red Bugs That Pop Up Periodically

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Dabney Frake
Jun 4, 2016
(Image credit: Steven Ellingson/Shutterstock)

You know them by their size (smaller than a pinhead) and their color (bright red). You see them every once in awhile crawling across the back of your hand, or on the kitchen countertop. But what exactly are these little guys?

Welp, they are clover mites. And they are pretty harmless. They eat grass and clover (hence the innocuous name) so they hang out in particularly lush lawns. They can be annoying if they make their way into the house in large numbers —which they sometimes do in the spring. You can often find them crawling near open window sills or the cracks they rudely used to come inside. They don't stick around long so, no matter how many congregate, you won't be stuck with them for long.

SHOULD YOU SQUASH THEM?

They won't bother you, so just leave ‘em alone. They don’t bite, eat clothing, or teach your children cuss words when you're not looking.

Crushing them will leave a little red skid mark behind —something to think about if you're wearing something white or if your curtains are a light color. Don't worry though. It's not blood they sucked while you were sleeping. It's just smeared bug body pigment, which can easily be cleaned up with a paper towel or sponge.

If you are undeterred by the prospect of bug bits, take them out immediately with some dishwashing detergent and water. This won't deter them in the future, so from then on it's all about prevention.

PREVENTION

Preventing clover bites from coming into the house en masse falls, for the most part, under regular home maintenance. You deter them the same way you do other bugs and household pests: sealing up your home the best you can. This is kind of tough given their small size; clover mites can weasel their way through the tiniest of holes and cracks. Still, here's what to do:

  • Keep screens on all your windows and doors.
  • Seal any (even tiny) cracks or crevices to keep them from entering the home.
  • Make sure you don't have any gaps underneath your exterior doors.
  • Make a barrier between any grass and your actual home, using something like gravel.
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