If you see these strange, red critters crawling around outside or inside it can be hard to tell what it is.
Often times we panic and think that we have fleas or ticks. But there are certain mites that hide and live in the same locations that fleas and
Unfortunately, telling them apart is difficult which makes determining your next course of action even harder.
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered.
In this post, I will give you all the information you need to determine if you have chiggers or clover mites and what you should do if you have each one.
Let’s dive in.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Appearance
Chiggers are mites are often confused because they look very similar. But there are some key things you can look for to tell them apart.
- Clover mites are one of the largest mites, measuring around .75mm. This makes them visible to the naked eye, although still difficult.
- Chiggers are around half the size, adults measuring .4mm. Chiggers are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.
- Both chiggers and clover mites are oval-shaped and have six legs as larvae and eight legs as adults.
- Chiggers are known for their long legs that resemble antennae.
- Clover mites and chiggers are both reddish in color. With the exception that Nymph chiggers are typically yellowish.
Before we start, it is essential to note that clover mites and chiggers are both types of mites; in particular, chiggers refer to a group of different mites.
These mites are most known for their larvae must consume blood to reach adulthood.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Distribution
In What Region do Clover Mites Live?
Clover mites are found across the world. Since they feed plants and vegetation as adults, they are adaptable and can live in most places around the globe.
They are found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
In What Region Do Chiggers Live?
Like clover mites, chiggers are well adapted to live across the globe.
Chiggers can be found in Africa, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and North America.
Regardless of the region, chiggers prefer to live in areas where there is sufficient grasslands or vegetation.
They tend to prefer areas with low vegetation such as forests, grasslands, woodlands, bushes, orchards, lakes, and streams.
In cities, they are common in lawns, parks, fields, and golf courses.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Distribution
Where Do Clover Mites Hide?
Although their name suggests that they prefer to live on clover trees, this is not the case.
Clover mites eat over 200 different species of plants.
As a result, they typically live anywhere there is sufficient vegetation. This includes well-fertilized lawns, ivy, grasses, fruit trees, and any other plants or flowers they can consume.
While clover mites live outside, they are known for migrating inside structures in large numbers.
They typically migrate towards structures when their food source is removed or a lack of water.
They also tend to migrate towards structures when the temperature gets colder and then need shelter to remain warm.
Since they are so small, clover mites get in through cracks and crevices on buildings.
When migrating, they often do so together in large numbers, making it easy to spot large red-brown patches moving towards or on buildings.
Where Do Chiggers Hide?
Very similar to clover mites, chiggers live within vegetation.
They tend to prefer low vegetation because it makes it easy for the larva to attach to mammals.
Larva needs blood to survive; in low vegetation, they are more likely to contact their host.
They also prefer vegetation because adults have access to their primary source of food.
Unlike clover mites, chiggers do not migrate indoors.
They can live indoors for short periods, but they only get indoors by hitchhiking on humans.
If left indoors, they can only survive around 50-70 days without feeding.
If they feed, they can develop into adults and begin feeding on plants. After they become adults, they do not bite humans or other mammals.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Diet
What Do Clover Mites Eat?
Clover mites do not consume blood.
Their red clover often makes people assume they consume blood like bed bugs or ticks.
But, this is not the case clover mites consume plants. They suck the juices from grass, plants, and trees to survive.
Clover mites can feed on 200 different plants. This includes grass, trees, shrubs, flowers, crops, and any other plants.
They are said to prefer clover plants if they are available. But, they have no problem surviving on different vegetation.
Due to their varied diet, they are highly adaptable. They can live almost anywhere vegetation is present.
What Do Chiggers Eat?
Chiggers are unique because the adults and larvae consume drastically different diets.
Similar to clover mites, adult chiggers eat decaying organic matter.
This can range from leaves, rotting wood, fruit, or any other organic material it comes across.
Chiggers can also consume small insects in the soil.
Chiggers larvae are unique because they consume blood.
The larvae need blood to mature into an adult.
If larvae do not consume blood for 50-70 days, they will die.
The larvae does not consume blood like a mosquito or a bed bug.
Where they directly withdraw blood from the capillaries. Chiggers use an enzyme that destroys tissue; the larvae hen consume the liquified skin tissue.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Bites
Do Clover Mites Bite?
Clover mites do not bite. They are not known to cause harm to humans or pets.
Clover mites do not bite because they do not consume blood.
Also, they do not have the anatomy to be able to bite humans.
Do Chiggers Bite?
While adult chiggers are entirely harmless to humans, the larvae are not.
The larvae require mammal blood to reach adulthood.
This means that it can bite both humans and your pets.
Dogs and humans are commonly bit by chiggers because they are the most likely to come in contact with them.
Chiggers typically hide in large numbers and wait in low vegetation, waiting to latch on to any warm-blooded animal that walks by.
They effectively find a host because they are highly sensitive to movement and can detect the CO2 exhaled from their host.
Once attached to a host, they use enzymes to destroy the skin tissue of the host.
The hardened skin creates a feeding tube that the chiggers insert their feeding structure into to consume the liquified tissue.
Chigger bites typically leave blisters or swollen red areas on the skin.
The bites are also typically itchy and uncomfortable to most.
Once attached to a host, chiggers will typically only stay attached for several days, if possible, before they release.
In most cases, chiggers will fall off before then because they are quite fragile and easy to remove.
Also, chiggers commonly fall off before several days pass due to the itching that their bites cause
Chiggers typically bites humans anywhere there is exposed skin. This typically occurs:
- Behind the knees
They are also commonly bite dogs:
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Flight
Can Chiggers and Clover Mites Fly?
Both chiggers and clover mites can not fly.
Both do not have wings at any stage of their life cycle.
Both mains means of movement is walking. Chiggers, on the other hand, do hitchhike on mammals to get around.
Overall, clover mites are much more agile and capable of moving than chiggers.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Dangers
What Dangers Do Clover Mites Pose?
Since clover mites do not bite, they do not pose severe dangers to humans or pets.
The main danger that clover mites pose to humans is allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
When they enter your home, they produce residue and particles that enter the air.
Allergic reactions can cause mild irritations to extreme asthma attacks depending on the person’s allergy level.
Minor cases typically result in the common symptoms of allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.
Clover mites are small and do not pose any structural damage. The main damage they can cause is the red stains they leave when they get smashed.
A common confusion is that the red stains are from blood, but they are not. The red stains are from the clover mites pigment.
What Dangers Do Chiggers Pose?
Chiggers cause more serious dangers than clover mites. This is mainly because they bite humans and pets.
Their bites can cause severe itching. Although their bites do not spread diseases, scratching can result in infections.
Overall, the bites typically heal in two weeks.
The serious dangers that chiggers pose are the number of bites they can cause.
Chiggers often hide in large numbers on lawns or other grass patches. It’s possible to end up with hundreds of chiggers on your body after walking through the grass.
They also pose the same dangers to pets such as dogs and cats if they frequent the outdoors.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Life Cycle
What is the Life Cycle of Chiggers?
Chiggers go through four separate stages during their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.
When the temperatures begin to rise, adult female chiggers will lay eggs. They lay around one to five eggs per day.
They typically place their eggs in leaf litter, vegetation, and lawns.
After about one week, the larva will emerge as 6-legged larvae.
The larva then needs to feed on the blood of mammals. They do this for around two to four days. The larva then leaves their host and drop into the soil for about one to two weeks.
The larva then molts into nymphs. Over the next several weeks, the nymph will continue to molt until it reaches an adult.
What is the Life Cycle of Clover Mites?
Clover mites are unique in that they are parthenogenetic. This means they can reproduce from unfertilized eggs.
This means that clover mite populations are composed entirely of females.
Clover mites lay their eggs in spring and place them where they receive enough sun.
This will allow them to survive winters.
The eggs hatch, and the first phase of immature clover mites begin eating on plants.
After about one week, the immature will progress towards the second immature phase.
The final stage is when the immature nymph reaches an adult.
This typically takes around two weeks.
Adults live for around two weeks outdoors if conditions are suitable.
Overall, one generation of clover mites typically only survive one month.
Eggs laid in the late spring lay dormant in the hot summer and hatch in the fall.
After hatching, immature clover mites begin to feed on plant juices and pass through their life cycle (two immature stages and adult) over the course of a month.
These adults lay eggs which overwinter, but all stages of clover mites may be present in the wintertime.
Clover Mites vs Chiggers: Elimination
How To Get Rid of Clover Mites and Chiggers?
Clover mites do not harm humans or pets, so the main goal should be to keep them out of your home.
You should only want to eliminate clover mites from your yard entirely is if they are staining your property.
Getting rid of clover mites that are inside your home is very easy.
All you need to do is vacuum thoroughly. Vacuuming is a great way to get rid of clover mites without smashing them and staining your home.
Since clover mites do not live very long, they will die shortly afterward, even if you miss a few.
To keep clover mites out of your house, the best way is to seal any cracks and crevices.
You can do this with caulk. Inspect your home and apply caulk to any cracks or crevices you see.
Since clover mites are extra small, seal up even the smallest cracks you see.
It’s also an excellent idea to weather-strip your home.
This will help you create seals on your doors and windows to prevent clover mites from getting inside.
If you truly want to eliminate all the clover mites in your yard, I recommend using a residual insecticide such as Bifen I/T.
You can spray this on your home and on your yard and eliminate a large variety of insects that infest homes.
If you have a garden and want to use a more natural alternative, then you can use Diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth can be combined with water and sprayed over your yard and garden.
Once the DE dries, and the clover mites begin to walk over the substance, it will start taking effect.
Over one week, the DE will break down the exoskeleton, and the clover mites will begin to die.