- Spider mites feed on at least 200 different plants, including many common flowers, fruits and vegetables.
About Red spider mite
- Spider mites are arachnids and are related to all spider species.
- These tiny, highly destructive pests are common in greenhouses and on house plants and can also be found on outdoor plants during the warmer summer months.
- Spider mites can feed on at least 200 different plants, including many common flowers, fruits and vegetables.
- They feed on the content of plant leaf cells by piercing them with their mouthparts. This results in a fine brown speckling effect on leaves where the cells have died.
- Adult mites also spin a fine silk webbing over leaf surfaces. With heavy infestations this can cover most of the plant.
- When active, the spider mites are light green with two dark spots on their back, but during their inactive periods they become dark orange or red.
- Spider mites emerge from hibernation during March and April and begin laying their minute, spherical eggs on suitable host plants.
- Adult females can lay up to a hundred eggs during their lifetime.
- Juveniles will hatch a few days later and begin feeding. They start life with six legs, but develop eight as they mature.
- The webbing provides a protective shield for the spider mite colony against predators and adverse environmental conditions. It also provides a means of spreading the colony to other areas of the plant.
- As autumn approaches, females stop laying eggs and begin to seek out places away from the plant to overwinter. They'll usually choose places, such as cracks in walls, fences and old plant material.
Products containing the following chemical ingredients are all effective on Red spider mite
- Natural fatty acids
- Surfactant-based products
Note: It is important to read manufacturer's instructions for use and the associated safety data information before applying chemical treatments.
- Inspect plants every week and deal with the first signs of mite infestation immediately.
- Where possible, remove infested leaves, buds and stems because this will initially reduce numbers.
- Spider mites prefer dry environments, so spraying the infested areas of a plant with water and damping the greenhouse floor areas will raise the humidity and hopefully slow the infestation rate.
- The predatory mite Phytosieulus persimilis feeds on Red spider mite, and reproduces much faster than its prey at temperatures above 18C (64F). This can be released on to infected areas and should quickly control infestations.
- Mites overwinter in cracks and crevices in greenhouses, as well as in any plant material left behind. So it's essential to clear away all debris once the growing season is over and thoroughly disinfect the greenhouse to keep pest numbers to a minimum.
- Keep the greenhouse atmosphere quite humid and damp by wetting the floor regularly. Mites hate damp conditions and this will help to discourage them from making a home here.