One hot summer day, we received a call from one of our commercial accounts in Menands, New York. Employees were seeing hundreds of tiny red insects that they thought might be spiders. The catch was that these “spiders” were only found in the offices on the top floor of the 4-story building.
During the inspection, I discovered that these insects were not actually spiders, but an unusually large number of Clover Mites. Clover Mites are microscopically small insects that typically live in lawns. They eat by sucking the juice out of clovers, grasses or flowers. Clover Mites are not harmful to humans or plants, but they will sometimes leave your turf grass discolored and ornamental flowers spotted. Young Clover Mites are bright red and will leave a red stain when squished. These insects will sometimes get into houses, especially those closely surrounded by bushes and other plants, by climbing through the cracks around doors and windows.
I was baffled by the fact that the Clover Mites were only on the top floor of the office building. I couldn’t find evidence of them on any other floor, and couldn’t figure out where and why they were getting in. Even the exterior foundation of the building left no clues!
Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the Clover Mites were entering around the windows that overlooked the lower roof of an attached 3-story building. Getting access to the building next door wasn’t easy, but I was finally allowed to check out the roof, and it was there that I found the answer to the mystery. The roof was covered with moss and the dripping air conditioning units were providing plenty of moisture, creating the perfect environment for Clover Mites.
Removing the moss and redirecting the water from the AC units was all it took to solve the high-rise mite problem!