Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Clover Mites

Clover mite
Rayanne Lehman, PA Dept. of Ag)
You may soon begin seeing tiny, bright red insects crawling around on the sunny sides of buildings, windowsills, retaining walls, etc. Most likely, the insects are clover mites. They can become a problem in early spring when they invade structures in large numbers. Clover mites are tiny (1/30-inch long), red to reddish-brown, oval-shaped mites. Clover mites, as do other arachnids, have 8 legs. They hold the front pair of legs straight out in front of the head (see photo at left). Many people actually mistake this pair of legs for antennae.

Clover mites do not bite nor do they burrow under the skin. They are strictly plant feeders. Hosts include grasses, clover, and dandelion, to name a few. Most heavy outbreaks occur in the early spring, especially around heavily fertilized lawns. In heavy infestations, the mites may invade structures and can leave a reddish-brown stain if crushed.

Placing gravel around the structure can 
help prevent clover mite invasions.   
(Photo: M. Waldvogel, NCSU)
Control. Effective control means preventing entry into buildings in the spring. Exterior cracks around doors and windows or holes in the foundation should be caulked. An 18”-24” grass and weed-free zone around the structure’s perimeter can greatly reduce the number of invading clover mites (see photo at right). Many plants are actually unattractive to clover mites, including geranium, marigold, zinnia, salvia, rose, chrysanthemum petunia, juniper, spruce, yew and barberry. Planting these non-attractive plants in the weed-free zone will help reduce the number of clover mites around the structure. You may also contact your county Cooperative Extension Center for advice on proper fertilization of lawns. For extremely heavy infestations, it may help to treat a 5-10 foot wide area of ground along the foundation, as well as an 18-24 inch wide vertical band of the foundation wall with an appropriately labeled residual liquid insecticide. Keep in mind that you will be applying a broadcast spray in this case, so you must follow proper notification procedures.


The application of insecticides indoor for clover mites is not warranted. There is no specific target site and excessive indoor applications are potentially harmful to children, teachers, and staff. Clover mites are not a true “emergency” and so any spraying indoors would require that you follow the 72 hour notification policy. Simply use a vacuum cleaner to collect any mites found indoors. Care should be taken not to crush the mites. The vacuum bag should be sealed in a disposable plastic bag before throwing it away

Monday, March 7, 2011

School IPM Workshops Scheduled!

With the October 2011 deadline for implementing IPM in Schools looming in the fall, we are offering 3-hour workshops for IPM Coordinators and maintenance personnel. We will have at least 2-CCUs of P-phase recertification credits available. The primary purpose of the workshop is to begin distributing the IPM kits for the school systems to use to conduct their own in-service training & information sessions about School IPM for staff, teachers, and parents other other interested parties.  The kits contain:

- A collection of common insect pests
- A CD of Powerpoint presentations & scripts to be used for training
- A DVD on School IPM (produced by Dr. Godfrey Nalyanya before he left   NCSU)
- A set of identification guides and CDs donated by Syngenta.

The topics for the workshops will include:
- How to use the training materials for promoting IPM in your schools
- Handling bed bugs infestations
- School IPM for start to implementation - problems and solutions

Currently, we've schedule four workshops. The others will be announced when we have dates and sites.

Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time:  1:00pm - 4:15pm
Location:  Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center, Mill River, NC (near the Asheville Aiport)
Website:  http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/

Date: Friday, March 11th
Time:  1:00pm - 4:15pm
Location:  Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Center, Winston-Salem, NC
Website: http://forsyth.ces.ncsu.edu/

Date: Monday, April 18
Time: 1:00pm - 4:15pm
Time: Pitt County Cooperative Extension 
403 Government Circle, Suite 2
Greenville, NC 27834

Date: Thursday, April 21
Time: 9:00am - 12:15pm
Location: 201 Venus Street, Monroe, NC 28112

We are planning other sessions later in the year for Wilmington, Raleigh, Fayetteville and another location to be determined in the northeast.

Please email us to let us know if you are planning to attend one of the sessions so we can have enough materials to distribute.

Patty Alder 
Training Coordinator
NCSU Department of Entomology
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