Clover mites vs spider mites identification is important information to have because both of these are common plant pests.

Distinguishing Clover Mites and Spider Mites

Spider mites and clover mites live only for one month, and they multiply a ton and suck the sap from their host plant.

As a result, you will see the affected plant yellowing and turning weak before succumbing. In this guide, you will find an exhaustive comparison of both of these pests. 

Clover Mite Spider Mite
Scientific Name Bryobia praetiosa Tetranychidae
Size One-thirtieth of an inch One-fiftieth of an inch
Color  Reddish-brown to bright red  Varies from green to yellow to reddish
Timing of Appearance  Spring and fall Peak summer months
Mode of Reproduction Parthenogenesis Egg fertilization
Types of Pest Cool-season pest Warm-season pest

What Are the Main Differences Between Clover Mites vs Spider Mites?

The main differences between these two mites are that clover mites are slightly larger, reddish-brown in color, and prefer cooler weather, while spider mites can vary in color from yellow and green to bright red and are too microscopic to be seen by the naked eye.

– Appearance

Clover mites are tiny red bugs barely the size of a pinhead. On measurement, they are about one-thirtieth of an inch or less than a millimeter long.

Spider mites, in comparison, are even tinier and grow only about one-fiftieth of an inch long. While clover mites appear as red spots on the surface of the affected plant, it is extremely difficult to catch a glimpse of a spider mite.

Technically, it is important to see spider mites without the help of a microscope, but if you could, you would see that their bodies are made of two distinct parts.

There are several varieties of this mite, all of which are differently colored. For example, the spruce spider mite is bright green, while the southern spider mite is red-colored.

Clover mites have a right thorax with a head, snout, and eight legs attached. These arachnids tend to exist in groups, making their detection much easier. Their front legs are much longer than the other pairs and might be mistaken as antennas.

– Timing of Infestations

Clover mites are better known as cool-season mites because they like attacking during spring and fall when the temperature is low but not too cold. This is because they require 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit for their eggs to hatch. Surprisingly, they appear mostly on the southern-facing plants in search of warmth.

Comparatively, spider mites are warm-season mites and appear when the weather gets hot and humid at the peak of summer. July through September are the months when the activity of these pests is at its peak. There will be respite during colder months as spider mites hibernate in their host plant’s soil. 

Certain species of spider mites, such as the spruce and southern mite, do the opposite. They hibernate during the summer months and come to attack your plants in the winter.

– Infestation Locations

Clover mites not only attack the plants and vegetation in your lawn but will also make a home within the cracks and crevices of your house. As the weather starts to cool, you will find more and more aggregating on southern-facing walls and sidewalks. Although they are mostly found outdoors, they can be brought indoors through contaminated shoes and clothes.

Spider mites infest mostly only plants, grass, and other vegetation growing outdoors. They also take shelter on the undersides of leaves of indoor plants if they somehow gain access to them. Because they are hard to detect, you can identify them by the spider-like webs that they spin around the leaves under attack. 

What Are the Characteristics of Clover Mites?

The characteristics of clover mites include reproducing by parthenogenesis — laying eggs that hatch themselves without fertilization. Each adult female mite lays around 70 eggs at a time when the weather is right. They lay their eggs on the plants and in crevices between the turf, walls, and fence posts.

Clover Mite Characteristics

Let us see how long a clover mite lives and takes to reproduce, along with easy methods to prevent and get rid of these common housepets. 

– Life Cycle

The whole lifespan of these mites barely lasts for one whole month. Since they do not need fertilization, they hatch within a week and reach maturity within the next couple weeks before laying eggs and dying. You might be astonished to find out that the whole population of clover mites is comprised of females.

Temperature plays an important role when it comes to their life cycle. Below 75 degrees Fahrenheit and above 100 degrees, their eggs remain dormant until the temperature becomes just right enough for hatching. It goes through the four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. 

– What They Like To Eat

You can probably guess why these bugs have been named clover mites. This is because they love attacking and feeding off the clover plant. Their diet is primarily plant-based as they use their suckers to suck sap running through the plant’s veins.

Their second favorite food source is the grass growing on lawns and turfs. These mites are particularly fond of plants and grass that are well-fertilized. Clover mites have also been seen growing over mold and mildew between the cracks in the walls. 

– Clover Mites Infestation Symptoms

The worst thing about a clover mites infestation is that they do not stay confined to the plants. They reproduce so fast that soon reddish brown colored spots begin appearing over the walls, carpets, draperies, cupboards, and even clothes. They also tend to leave red-colored pigmentation behind on these surfaces, which can be difficult to remove.


In the case of host plants, they begin to develop red spots on the areas that have been affected the most. Sometimes, this is often mistaken for brown spots due to a drop in temperature. Remember that winter kills always occur in peak winters, while these mites are most active during fall and spring.

The development of silver streaks on the leaves and stems is an unmistakable sign of a clover mite infestation. However, this symptom does not occur in all affected plants and should not be taken definitively.

– Not Harmful to Humans

Although clover mites look horrible and occupy every other surface within your house, they aren’t harmful to you and your family. Your pets, too, are safe from these bugs because they are strictly herbivores and are not known to carry any infectious organisms. Even when they infest your house, they only look for a place to hide and mean no harm. 

– Getting Rid of Clover Mites Using Homemade Remedies

It makes sense to avoid exposing your plants and house to harmful chemicals in the form of insecticides. When a clover mites infestation is confined to plants, it is considered mild and can be dealt with using only homemade remedies.

  1. The first step is to wash the host plant as thoroughly as possible. If the plant is present indoors, it’s best to move it outside to wash it better.
  2. Using water pressure, grab a water hose to wash the bugs off the plant. This is the most important step because most of the pests will be washed away after this.
  3. A more potent alternative is to use insecticidal soap water instead of plain water. Buy insecticidal soap from any manufacturer and mix a few drops with clean water. 
  4. Insecticidal soap has the advantage that it will get rid of eggs and larvae along with adult mites.
  5. Afterwards, give the plant a final rinse with clean water to wash off the soap.
  6. Once the plant dries, you can use household remedies like neem oil or rosemary oil in spray form once a week until the infestation clears up.

– Preventing Clover Mites From Attacking

As a lawn owner, you must always be mentally prepared for attacks by pests and bugs. Taking useful precautionary measures beforehand will help you from dealing with them later on.

  1. Overfertilization is the primary reason behind most clover mite population boom. Decrease the fertilization of your lawn so that only adequate nutrients are available for the grass.
  2. These bugs can hide in tall grass and unruly shrubs and go unnoticed until their population gets out of control. Maintaining grass at a reasonably short height and trimming the trees and shrubs in your lawn will help prevent this.Preventing Clover Mites From Attacking
  3. It is impossible to eradicate pests from the outdoors 100 percent, but you can prevent them from infesting indoors by caulking window frames and door sills.
  4. If an indoor plant is teeming with these bugs, move it outdoors immediately, or these might spread everywhere in the house.
  5. Overwatering creates many problems for plants and grass, and inviting clover mites is one of them. Keep your grass watered at only one to two inches per week, and water plants only when their topsoil dries up. 


What Are the Characteristics of Spider Mites?

The characteristics of spider mites include having a life span of no more than one month, during which these pests can produce hundreds of offspring. Unlike clover types of mites, there are both male and female spider mites present in nature.

Find some natural means of eliminating these sap-sucking bugs from your precious plants here. 

Spider Mites Differences

– Life Cycle

Spider mites mating occurs just as the female mite enters adulthood from the larval stage. The average lifespan of a female spider mite is barely two to four weeks. However, it still manages to lay hundreds of eggs during this whole time.

After an egg hatches into larvae, it takes two weeks to become an adult. Like clover mites, these mites also live for only one month. With an average female laying as many as 20 eggs per day, their population is prone to exploding within just a few weeks.

Since these are warm-season pests, they need temperatures greater than 85 degrees Fahrenheit to hatch. When the temperatures are right, the eggs hatch quickly within three days. Throughout its life cycle, a spider mite goes through five stages: the egg stage, larvae, two nymphal stages, and the adult stage.

– What Spider Mites Like To Eat

Spider mites are natural herbivores and will make a home in all plants and grass species. Their major negative point is that their favorite plants to attack are the most beneficial to humans. Your sweet cucumber, tomato, and pepper plants growing in the kitchen garden are more at risk.

Even ornamental plants like chrysanthemums and dendrobiums growing indoors are susceptible to a mites infestation if exposed to them. They make puncture marks on the leaves of their host plant and suck plant sap through those holes. As a result, the plant starts weakening and ultimately dies.

– Infestation Symptoms

The entry points on leaves and stems from where the red spider mites take their food often turn yellow. Within two weeks of this bug infesting a plant or lawn, yellow and black spots develop all over the host plant.

One telltale and a hard-to-miss sign of a spider mite infestation is the appearance of delicate webs around the plant.

Infestation Symptoms on Plants

These webs are mostly found under the leaves and around the stems and are sometimes not easily noticeable. Try rotating the plant and seeing it from a different light angle to see these webs.

The leaves may turn brown and crispy around their edges in advanced cases. The plant becomes progressively weaker, leading to an alarming leaf fall. If mites are allowed to infest a plant or grass lawn for a long time, they will eventually kill it. 

– Might Be Harmful to Humans

Strictly speaking, spider mites are also herbivores and do not pose any serious threat to the health of their human hosts. They are not known to carry any human diseases and will not cause any particular health problem to humans.

They are carriers of several nasty plant viruses that are especially infectious and contagious. Because they prefer plants that are of value to us humans, a spider mites attack has the capability to destroy large crops of important plants within a very short period of time.

– Getting Rid of Spider Mites

Complete spider mite treatment and control cannot be achieved in one sitting alone. It will take weeks before all the stages of a mites lifecycle are killed off and the host plant is completely freed. That is why consistency is the key to effective pest control.

  1. Take potted plants to the sink for a wash, whereas a hose is more suitable for outdoor plants.
  2. Use water pressure to dislodge all the adult mites and larvae off the plant, especially from their hiding spots under the leaves. On the flip side, the water should not be so pressurized as to damage the plant parts.
  3. The most heavily infested leaves turning brown, yellow, or silvery are better removed fully. 
  4. After this, you can go for any natural remedy like neem oil, water with vinegar, or rosemary oil every week. If you want a quick fix and don’t mind using chemicals, start a weekly insecticidal regimen after washing the plant.
  5. Natural remedies will have to be applied every week as consistently as possible. 

– Organic Methods of Killing Spider Mites

Unlike chemical insecticides, natural pesticides are safer for the health of plants. There are tons of these ingredients present in your pantry that are effective against spider mites.

  • Neem oil is a wonderful ingredient in the plant world because it is both anti-fungal and anti-insecticide. You can use it directly via a cotton roll on the affected plant parts or mix a teaspoon in water to make a spray. Try to source the most authentic and pure quality neem oil you can find for a more rapid effect.
  • Surprisingly, lemon oil kills eggs, larvae, and adult spider mites. Dap a few drops of lemon oil on a clean piece of cotton and rub it on the undersides of the leaves, as this is where the bugs hide the most. 
  • Take one cup of water and mix one teaspoon of cayenne or hot pepper. Fill this mixture into a spray bottle and use it generously all over the plant, especially under the leaves.
  • Another natural method is introducing organisms in the lawn that naturally feed on spider mites. In nurseries and greenhouses, you can easily find these biological agents, such as lady beetles and six-spotted thrips. These insects are not pests and will not harm any plants while they get rid of mites for you.


As we have discussed in this comparative guide between two common pests of household plants, there are several differences and similarities. Spider mites prefer mating in the hot and humid summertime and multiply significantly, while clover mites must be dealt with during spring and autumn.

The thing that makes spider mites more dangerous is that they cannot be seen and often go undetected until significant damage to the host plant has been caused.

These mites also prefer destroying useful plants and crop varities, leading to massive economic losses. Both these pests can be easily treated using thorough rinsing followed by natural or commercial insecticidal agents. 

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