Dear Home-Ec 101,
We are currently dealing with an invasion of clover mites in our two bathtubs. The current method of eradication involves flushing them down the drain with hot water when bathtime rolls around. Any non-chemical advice for letting them know they’re not welcome around here? They’re driving me buggy.
A mite irritated
This is a bad time of year for bugs. This year seems to be worse than usual, too. Fortunately, clover mites are actually quite easily kept out of your house.
Clover mites generally come around in early spring and late fall. When you crush them, they leave a brownish-red stain. It’s not actually blood, as you might think, but it is pigment. They’re annoying, but not dangerous- they don’t bite or transmit disease or any of the other things creepy crawlies normally do.
Clover mites cannot cross bare strips of land, so if you remove a strip of grass, weeds, and other lush vegetation from the sides of your house about 18-24 inches wide, they will not be able to come in. Fortunately, you are able to plant certain types of flowers so the area won’t be totally bare- geraniums, petunias, and chrysanthemums are quite unattractive to them and will keep them away. You can also plant shrubs such as spruce, juniper, or yew.
Pea gravel will also help keep them away. Make sure any possible points of entry are caulked or otherwise sealed. You can whip out your trusty shop vac to vacuum these dudes up- but they can escape from the container, so make sure it is emptied outside immediately.
Thanks for the great question- I get clover mites sometimes and they are really irritating!