Clover mites vs chiggers

Have you noticed tiny, reddish bugs crawling in your bedroom?

Did you naturally assume they were bed bugs? Don’t be so sure, they could be clover mites.

We are going to explain the differences and similarities between these two types of mite.

Clover Mites

Clover mites are quite common in North and South America. Often found invading homes and structures in huge numbers. These small pests are most problematic in spring and fall.

They are not blood feeders, their red body color is caused by the mite’s pigmentation. But much like red ants or bed bugs, if crushed they will leave a brownish red stain.

What do Clover Mites look like?

Clover mites are not insects but instead a close relative of spiders and ticks. They are eight-legged, their two front legs distinguish them from other species of mite.

The pair of front legs are double the size of the others and are pointed forward near the head. Causing the extra long front legs to be often mistaken for antennae.

The adult clover mite is about the same size as a pin head and has a dark red colored thorax and stomach. The body is an oval shape, roughly 0.75mm to 0.9mm in length.

They are commonly found crawling beneath windows, curtains or near furniture.

What do Clover Mites eat?

They prefer the outside to be closer to their food source. They eat on various plant life, they suck the sap from shrubs, trees and plants. These mites eat organic material such as clover, lawn and plant life. While this is their primary food source, they do not cause significant damage.

They can build up a high population in no time at all especially if their habitat is well-fertilized.

When do Clover mites invade?

Clover mites are normally active during the fall and spring when there is a moderate temperature. It’s not common to see them during the summer and winter. These pests tend to infest homes if their food source has dried up outside.

Clover Mite Biology

Clover mites are a parthenogenetic species, meaning that they evolve from unfertillized eggs. Their entire population is made up of only females.

Each generation lasts around one month. Each fully grown mite tends to live for around two weeks depending on the weather conditions.

Each female mite is capable of laying up to 70 eggs. Clover mites produce tiny reddish brown eggs in sheltered areas such as beneath tree bark, in cracks of fences or within foundation walls.

Once they hatch, immature mites begin to feed on tree sap, plant juices and pass through their life cycle within a month.

Clover mite pest control

Avoid crushing the mites especially on walls, fabrics or furniture. This is due to them leaving a red stain which can cause damage.

Clover mites are best removed with a vacuum cleaner.

Another handy trick is to use sticky tape, place double sided tape on areas where clover mites may enter such as window sills or beneath doors. Once the mite steps onto the tape, they will be unable to escape.

Chigger mites

Chiggers also called “red bugs” or red mites are the larvae of mites from the Trombiculidae family.

Chigger mites are only found outdoors, commonly in grassy areas near water.

Chigger Mite Biology

Their life cycle is split into five stages: egg, prelava, larva, nymph and adult. The female will search for a sheltered area close to a food source to lay her eggs.

Once the eggs hatch into prelarva, this is an inactive part of the cycle where they do not feed. The next stage is the blood hungry phase. During the larva stage the chiggers will try to find a host to feed on.

Ideal hosts include small mammals, birds, reptiles and occasionally humans. The larvae don’t actually bite you nor do they burrow under the skin. instead they suck fluids from the skin of the host.

Once the larva has had a blood meal, it falls to the ground. Ready to transform into the fourth stage; the nymph.

The whole process takes anywhere between two months to one year. Up to five generations may be created per year if the location, temperature and moisture is optimal.

What do Chiggers look like?

Both the adult chigger mite and the nymph have eight legs. Their thorax is normally hairy and roughly 0.95mm to 1.2mm long and red in color.

What do Chiggers eat?

Chiggers are blood suckers and feed on people, animals and household pets such as dogs and cats. Chiggers can cause red welts to appear on the skin, which iritates the skin causing intense itching.

This irritation caused by a chigger mite may result in further infection if the bite is scratched frequently. Red mites don’t actually bite, instead they consume on the fluids in skin cells. The skin reacts to this activity and normally shows within a few days after being exposed.

Small mammals, birds, reptiles and sometimes people are the ideal hosts for a Chigger mite. However people are more of an accidental host.

In the United States Chigger mites are not known to transmit any human disease.

How to treat chigger bites

Once the skin cells have been exposed, wash your skin several times using hot soapy water. Paying close attention around the red welt. If itching persists or the chigger rash gets worse, this could be a secondary infection. Contact your doctor immediately.

Chigger bites can be prevented by the use of bug repellents containing DEET.

Clover Mite & Chigger Differences
  • Chigger mites feed on people and animals, clover mites feed on plants.
  • Chigger mites are only found outdoors, whereas clover mites invade buildings during the fall and spring
  • Both congregate in large groups
  • The Clover mite population is only female
  • Both are small in length (under 1.2mm)
Clover Mite & Chigger Similarities
  • Both are reddish in color
  • They can stain walls and furniture a red-brown color if crushed
Summary

So there we have it, we’ve provided a bit about each mite and shown the key differences as well as the similarities.

A few core differences; Chiggers bite humans and can cause red welts on the skin whereas Clover mites only bite humans.

Though Clover mites will invade your home whereas Chigger mites only live outdoors.

Remember if you do find any of these mites in your home, use a vacuum cleaner first before any pesticide. 

If you’re still unsure about which bug infestation you have, we recommend calling a pest control expert.

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