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Ask Mr. Burger – I see little red spiders on our sidewalk; what are they and how do I get rid of them?

August 31, 2022
Ken Burger

In late spring to early summer you tend to see these little guys and what you see are most likely Clover mites (Bryobia praetiosa). They are small, reddish mites, about the size of a pin head and usually moving around very quickly. If you would happen to crush one of them, they can leave a red stain. These are sometimes confused with red spider mites who we will discuss in a moment.

Clover mites generally live and feed in grass and for the most part remain unnoticed. Every once in a while populations can get very large and the mites start to migrate from the grass.  They are not harmful to people or pets and will not harm your plants or lawn; they generally are just a nuisance.

Burger Farm and Garden recommends using Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4 to control Clover Mites:

Red Spider Mites however are garden pests that affect a wide variety of plants. A plant that is infested by red spider mites will start to look unhealthy and will have a dusty appearance to the undersides of their leaves. Close inspection will reveal that the dust is actually moving and is in fact the spider mites. The plant may also have some webbing on the underside or on the branches of plant.

The best way to control red spider mites is through the use of insecticidal soaps and oils. Applications of these products should be applied every 5 to 7 days for 21 continual days because the spider mite has a 5 to 7 day reproductive cycle and it’s important to break that chain.

Burger Farm and Garden recommend the following products to control spider mites:

Organic approaches: Insecticidal Soap, Fertilome Fruit Tree Spray, Horticultural Oil Spray, Triple Action Plus Insect Spray.

Pesticide approaches: Malathion 55%, Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4, Bayer 3-1 Insect, Disease, Mite control