Grass mites are one of the species of spider mites. All spider mites prey on plants – some like houseplants and others like outdoor plants. Many outdoor spider mites prefer to eat grass instead of vegetable or fruit plants. These are known as grass mites and they eat grass of every kind from your front lawn to fields of timothy.
Spider mites have become a particularly bad problem in recent years. That’s because the advent of insecticides has killed many of the natural predators of spider mites. In fact, one of the ways to kill these mites organically without pesticides is to ship in predators. Their natural predators include lady beetles, predatory thrips and mites, and pirate bugs.
Grass mites are considered to be arachnids, which means they are related to spiders, scorpions, daddy-longlegs and ticks. Spider mites are so small you can barely see them. Some people cannot see them at all. They come in a variety of colors–green, brown, yellow, red and they often appear to be speckled.
When you have a really bad infestation of spider mites, such as on a lawn, the group can start to spin webbing which is designed to protect them and their babies. They produce young from eggs–thousands and thousands of eggs. The worst spider mite is the two-spotted spider mite, which makes the most webbing of all to protect the young.
While trees have spruce or honeylocust spider mites, grass has the Banks grass mite and clover mites. Clover mites are quite common. They are very small, not even as big as the head of a pin, and if you could see them clearly, such as under a microscope, you would able to see that they have very long legs in front and every short legs in back.
Clover mites are one of the types of grass mites which tries to get into homes for the colder seasons, such as from February until April. They don’t bite you or cause the spread of diseases but clover mites can still be a big problem. They can gather in walls with southern exposures and bother household furnishings.
Should you happen to spot these little critters, they look like little red flecks and if you should squash one or a few of them, you will see that they leave behind a very annoying red stain. Clover mites produce their eggs in the spring but they do not hatch until the cool weather of the fall. They obviously live to eat clover, but are not particular about eating other grasses as well.
These little bugs particularly favor lawns which have turf grass. They do the most damage in the early spring. They wander out for the new season, shed their skin, lay their eggs and eat your grass. These grass mites are dormant through the heat of summer. They do their damage in the spring and fall.
Clover mites love to reside and do their damage within ten feet of a building and you usually find them on a southern exposure. Because they are so small, the dead spots they make on the lawn are often attributed to winter kill. You can get rid of them by making barriers of powders, such as corn starch, soda or diatomaceous earth. Keeping your grass well-watered also deters them. They enter the house through cracks in walls and windows so make sure all points of entry are sealed up.
Another mite, the Banks grass mite does a lot of damage to both lawns and agricultural crops. They do most of their damage when conditions are dry. One very odd characteristic of Banks grass mites is that they are green in color, but when they have no food to eat, they turn a bright red color.
Banks grass mites can do a lot of damage to crops such as corn as well as turfgrass and other lawn grasses. They are hard to see because they are very minute and live at the base of the plant. Anything they infest will turn yellowish-brown to brown. They can cause considerable crop damage in a short time.