the difference between CLOVER MITES and BED BUGS


From time to time we get calls from customers who have found these tiny red bugs thinking it may be a bed bug. The thought of these tiny bugs taking over your home is sure to make your skin crawl. The first step to controlling a pest problem, is correctly identifying the pest. This can be challenging when pests leave behind the same clues. Clover mites and bed bugs do share a key infestation sign that can make it difficult to tell them apart. We’ve gathered information about clover mites and bed bugs to help you spot the differences between them.

While they don’t pose any danger or risks, they’re still pesky to have around and can be discouraging to see. Clover mites are known for being tiny and bright red. These pests are less than 1mm in length. Like other arachnids, they have eight legs. However, their front two legs are longer than their other legs. Their placement near their head leads to them being mistaken for antennae. Clover mites emerge in the spring when temperatures are still cool. They often sneak into homes by crawling on vegetation close to homes.

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. After a feeding, their bodies take on a reddish hue. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal. Bed bugs are active at night and can infest homes year-round. These pests are great at hiding, which can make it difficult to spot them.


Clover mites and bed bugs aren’t similar in appearance. However, they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. One of the main concerns of a clover mite infestation is the red stain they leave behind when crushed. This spot is created from the pigmentation of their skin. Bed bugs also leave behind red blood stains when they are crushed. Bed bug droppings can also create dark stains. The spots of these pests can lead to confusion about which pest has invaded your home. These pests also share the ability to multiply quickly, which can lead to large infestations.


Since clover mites and bed bugs share a common warning sign, it may not always be easy to know which pest has taken over your home. Thankfully, there are a few things you can look for to spot the difference between the two pests.


Bed bugs and clover mites look distinctly different. If you’re able to spot one of these pests, the color and size will help you correctly identify it. Bed bugs are brown and will be larger than clover mites. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, while clover mites are smaller than a pinhead.


Clover mites don’t typically hang out near beds. Clover mites tend to stick to window sills, however, it’s unlikely you’ll find any in your bed, but it’s worth keeping in mind in case you start to notice red dots on your curtains.  They are usually found in large numbers on the sunny side of the structure, gathered together on siding, bricks and around outside window ledges. When inside houses or businesses, they will be gathered in the same huge numbers on window sills, windows, and walls.

A bed bug infestation will likely occur in bedrooms since this is where they can easily access a host. They will spread to furniture and fabric in the room.

Bug Bites:

Clover mites feed on plants and will not bite humans or cause any health-related problems like their close cousin the dust mite. However, they can cause mild skin irritation for those who are allergic.  When bed bugs bite, it can lead to itchy, red bumps that are often clustered together. They typically appear on areas that are exposed when sleeping like your arms and legs.

What will kill Clover mites?

If clover mites have invaded your home, it’s important to remember to not crush them. This will prevent staining your household items. Instead, you can use a vacuum or wet rag to remove them.  If you are looking for an all-natural alternative you can apply a natural, plant-based insecticide spray or you can use an indoor-safe insecticide like permethrin, diazinon, bifenthrin, or chlorpyrifos. Make sure you apply the insecticide directly to the mites.  However, if you’re dealing with an infestation then it may require a professional to serve up the correct cocktail to discourage them from continuing their residency at your property.

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