Interior Pests

Solved! What Are These Tiny Red Bugs In My Home?

Spotting tiny red bugs can be frightening at first, but homeowners can keep them out for good with the right preventative measures. Here’s more information on those tiny red bugs in the home.
Nicole Fallon-Peek Avatar
Tiny Red Bugs

Photo: istockphoto.com

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Q: Help—I found lots of small red bugs in my home! How can I get rid of them and keep my home free of these mysterious, tiny red bugs?

A: While managing pests in any person’s home can be complex, the challenge proves even more complicated when that pest is unfamiliar. Clover mites, a.k.a. those tiny red bugs that are so hard to clear out of a house, continue to prove challenging for those seeking to keep their homes clear of pests.

While they don’t pose any danger or risks, they’re still pesky to have around and can be discouraging to see. However, there are strategies homeowners or renters can take to minimize infestations and keep clover mites out for good.

The tiny red bugs are most likely clover mites. They’re small—no bigger than a pinhead.

Tiny Red Bugs
Photo: istockphoto.com

Those tiny bugs that keep popping up around the home are known as clover mites. Officially classified as Bryobia praetiosa, the clover mite is native to North America and is a close relative of ticks and spiders, though not nearly as harmful as either of their relatives. Clover mites have entirely red bodies that measure roughly 0.03 inches long and appear no larger than a pinhead to the naked eye. This can make these little red spiders difficult to spot, which in turn makes it more difficult to prevent further infestation in a person’s home or apartment.

Even though they do not present any direct threat to humans, clover mite infestations can become quite a nuisance. When squashed, these small red bugs leave behind red stains that can be difficult to get out of clothing, carpet, or upholstery. Before taking on the challenge of keeping the red bugs at bay, it’s necessary for homeowners or renters to understand how and why they come into people’s homes so they can mitigate and prevent future red mite invasions.

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Clover mites usually hang out on lawns, but they can make their way inside through open windows or cracks.

Much like other bugs that prefer yards and gardens to indoor environments, clover mites generally reside in the grassy sanctuaries of many front lawns. However, they may venture into people’s homes if they find the right opening in a window or door—and the right food source inside.

Green grass, sprouting shrubs, and flourishing flowers make for an irresistible feast no clover mite could turn down. But when they’ve gorged on all the green goodness of front lawns, they often set their sights on houseplants in people’s homes. These bugs often squeeze through cracks and windows to reach and enjoy their indoor feasts.

To keep these unwelcome guests from invading their space, residents will want to be sure to seal all cracks and holes at the base of the house that could be the perfect entry point for clover mites. For those who like letting a nice breeze or fresh air in through open windows, they’ll want to make sure the windows are equipped with tight-fitting screens that are free from holes and tears.

You’ll usually find clover mites on the sunniest side of the house, facing south.

Clover mites are drawn to the sun like moths to a flame. This is why—when they do find their way into homes—they will often roam along sun-soaked windows that face south or southwest. The sun also boosts reproductive processes for clover mites. Female clover mites lay roughly 70 eggs each in dry and protected areas that benefit from significant sun exposure.

The prolonged sun exposure is what allows the clover mite eggs to survive colder temperatures when the seasons change. Luckily, clover mites cannot reproduce indoors. As long as holes, cracks, and windows around homes are well sealed, the chances of mass clover mite hatching inside a person’s home are substantially reduced.

Tiny Red Bugs
Photo: istockphoto.com

Clover mites aren’t harmful to humans or pets, but they can be a nuisance.

They may not be harmful, but that doesn’t mean clover mites are welcome in anyone’s home. When a homeowner or renter finds many different kinds of insects—including clover mites—in their home, it could mean there are gaping holes and cracks in walls, doors, and joints, through which the pests can enter. In addition, clover mites can squeeze into wall voids and crannies, making it even harder for homeowners to get rid of them.

Many people use hairspray to get rid of these nasty little red bugs without spraying dangerous products around the house, which has proven to be quite effective against clover mites. This is because hairspray is very sticky, so when sprayed on clover mites, it slows them down and keeps them from hiding in unreachable nooks. Cleaning up the hairspray and mites after use can be annoying, but it’s often preferable to letting the clover mites continue to roam throughout the house.

Want to avoid the added mess of hairspray? Vacuum cleaners also work very well to clean out tiny red clover mites (with the added benefit of knocking a household chore off the list).

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If you squash clover mites, they may leave behind a red stain.

Though crushing clover mites may seem like the obvious solution to a homeowner or renter’s clover mite woes, there are more effective ways to get rid of the mites without staining furniture or other surfaces around the home. Clothing, drapes, couches, beds, and windows are all at risk of becoming stained with clover mite residue and remains.

While it might be easy to assume the red stains they leave behind are blood, that is actually just the natural color of the clover mite. These stains can become incredibly hard to remove with even high-grade cleaning products, so it is essential for residents to avoid squishing them on clearly displayed furniture or floors where the stains could be clearly visible.

If you’re concerned about a pest infestation, contact a professional exterminator.

Homeowners or renters who have tried every possible preventative measure to get rid of bugs in their house but still can’t keep those pesky clover mites out may wish to contact an exterminator for additional help. The best pest control companies, such as Orkin or Terminix, can offer residents an effective solution to ridding their home of tiny red bugs, getting rid of bed bugs, and eliminating other unwanted infestations.