02-17-17 CSU Ext News: “Walking Dust Specks”

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“Walking Dust Specks”

By Linda Langelo, Golden Plains Extension Horticulture Program Associate; 

Phone: (970) 854-3616; Email: Linda.Langelo@colostate.edu

According to CSU Entomologist, Whitney Cranshaw you may have these “walking dust specks” in your home.  How did they gain access?  First by climbing on a south-facing wall to a window or doorway with a slight crack on warm days fall or spring.  They are commonly known as clover mites.

Adult Description of Mites:

These spider mites have very long front legs and are slightly larger than the typical spider mites.  The top of their abdomen is flattened.  They are red or reddish green in color.

Life Cycle:

Clover mites produce two or more outdoor generations during the cooler seasons, February to May. They feed on grasses and other plants. Adult mites will lay their eggs in the turf.  Most of these eggs will remain dormant through winter and then become active during warm periods in February.  In one to two months the mites will reach their mature size.

Feeding sources:

  • Drought stressed turf grass
  • Clover
  • Weeds
  • Woody plants – honeysuckle, ivy, elm, apple and gooseberry

Control Measures:

To stop these mites from migrating inside by using of a fine layer of various dusts around windows and other points of entry.  Here is a brief list:

  • Talc-containing baby powder
  • diatomaceous earth
  • baking soda
  • corn starch

Supplemental watering to warm, dry areas at the base of sun-exposed walls and around evergreens.

Overall, there are no highly effective chemical sprays.  Some control other than watering can be done with chemicals with the active ingredient bifenthrin or lambda-cyhalothrin.

Reference: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/clover-and-other-mites-of-turfgrass-5-505/  or CSU Fact Sheet 5.505

Submitted to BARN Media by:

Jeannie S. Lambertson

Administrative Assistant

Colorado State University


181 Birch Avenue

Akron, CO  80720