Clover Mites vs Chiggers: 4 Key Differences Between These Little Pests

© iStock.com/dna_beeb

Written by Niccoy Walker

Published: May 25, 2023

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During the spring and summer, you might notice an increase in bug populations inside and outside your home. While higher populations are normal during warmer weather, you may not appreciate their presence inside your home. Or maybe you were outside and came home to find unusual bites on your skin. Mites are arthropods that are closely related to ticks and spiders. And chiggers are a type of immature mite. Discover all there is to know about clover mites vs. chiggers, including their appearance, habitats, and how they affect humans. 

Clover Mites Vs. Chiggers: a Comparison

ComparisonClover MitesChiggers
TaxonomyBryobia praetiosaTrombiculidae and Leeuwenhoekiidae mites
DietNutrients from vegetationLiquified skin tissue, decaying organic matter
Size0.75 mm, look like red specks1/150 of an inch, mostly invisible to the naked eye
HabitatFull sun vegetation near exterior wallsShaded and damp vegetation in the wild
LifespanTwo to three weeks50 to 70 days
BodyEight legs, red or green colorEight legs, red or yellow color
BitesDo not biteLeave red pimple-like bumps that cause severe itching
Spread Disease?NoScrub typhus

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Clover Mites and Chiggers? 4 Key Differences

Chigger of the Trombiculidae family

Chiggers are naked to the human eye unless they are in groups.

©Matauw/Shutterstock.com

The four key differences between clover mites and chiggers are their appearance, diet, habitat, and bites. Clover mites appear like red specks, feed off vegetation, live in full sun, and do not bite. While chiggers are naked to the human eye, live in shaded, damp areas, and leave red, itchy bumps. Let’s discuss this further.

Clover Mites Vs. Chiggers: Appearance

Clover mites are larger than other mites, growing around 0.75 mm long. They can be either red or green and feature featherlike scales. However, it is difficult to see much detail as they only look like red specks to the naked eye.

Chiggers are the larval stage of different mite species. They have eight legs like all mites, and they can be either red or yellowish. Chiggers are less than 1/150 of an inch, meaning they are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. In most cases, you would need a magnifying glass. But you might spot them when they are in groups.

Clover Mites Vs. Chiggers: Diet

Clover mites are plant feeders that suck nutrients out of vegetation, such as grasses, clovers, trees, and shrubs. They feed off over 200 different plant species, including certain flowers. As their name suggests, clover is their favorite food.

Chiggers feed on soft skin tissue. Contrary to what some believe, chiggers don’t drink blood like mosquitos and ticks. Instead, they use claws near their mouths to attach to animal or human skin. And then, they use their sharp mouthparts to cut the skin and inject a skin-digesting enzyme. After the cells around the bite harden, the chigger sucks up the liquified tissue. They can feed on one host for several hours before falling off. Chiggers can also eat decaying organic matter found in soil.

Close up of two adult clover mites on a leaf. Bryobia praetiosa

Clover mites live in full-sun vegetation, often near exterior walls.

©Nik Bruining/Shutterstock.com

Clover Mites Vs. Chiggers: Habitat

The clover mite lives across most of the United States, inhabiting areas with full sun and vegetation. You will often find them in your lawns, gardens, and on the outside of your house. They like to hide in grass that brushes against exterior walls. But you can also find them under bark, near windows, and in cracks and crevices. They can also find their way inside, where they gravitate toward window frames. 

Chiggers also live in vegetated areas, like forests, damp woods, fields, meadows, and any grassy area. But they prefer shaded and damp areas. You can often find them in leaf litter, damp soil, pine straw, mulch, woodchip piles, and any shaded overgrown area.

Clover Mites Vs. Chiggers: Bites

Clover mites do not bite humans or cause any health problems. However, they can get into your home and infest areas like windowsills. And they can leave red stains on furniture and walls when smooshed. It’s possible for some people to have mild allergies to these mites.

 Chiggers, on the other hand, do bite people. They often target areas around your ankles, waist, and other skin folds. And they can cause red hive-like bumps and severe itching. They often appear in a line near the seams of tight-fitting clothing. Chiggers can spread scrub typhus, which is a bacterial disease that causes fever, rashes, body aches, and headaches.

What Happens if a Clover Mite Bites You?

Chigger bites

Chigger bites cause extremely itchy red bumps.

©TimVickers, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Clover mites actually do not bite. But they can be a nuisance when they get inside your home. You might notice red stains after you smash one. And they can infest areas around windows, drapery, and carpets.

What Do Mite Bites Look Like on Human Skin?

While clover mites don’t bite, chiggers can leave behind extremely itchy bumps. Other mite species can bite and leave red, small bumps on the skin that are itchy, painful, and inflamed. Chigger bites are often found in lines around the seam of tight-fitting clothes. You often get them in clusters, and the itching can be intense.

Can Clover Mites Get in Your Bed?

Clover mites are not typically found near beds. Instead, they like to hang out near window frames and walls around windows. If you find red streaks in your sheets that look like a crushed mite, it may be bed bugs.


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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