Red Spider Mites

Pest: Spider mites

Pest Type: Insect Pest, mites

Major Identifying Features: Red spider mites eggs are read, mites are mostly reddish with dark mottling, mites look like tiny, moving dots that can be easily observed with a 10x hand lens, females are larger than males and less than 1/20 inch, mites live in colonies on the undersurfaces of leaves, a colony can contain hundreds of single mites, some mites produce webbing (spider mites, webspinning mites), adults have 8 legs, oval bodies with two eyes on the end, new larvae only have 6 legs

Life Cycle: Reproduce rapidly in hot weather, one generation can be completed in less than a week

Pest Rating: Minor to moderate

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Outbreak is almost all year in certain areas of California, they feed and reproduce on green plants throughout the winter, mites can overwinter, they lay eggs and feed in warm weather in spring, water stressed plants are susceptible hosts

Damage Information: Mites suck cell contents from leaves, a high population can damage herbaceous plants, leaves show stippling or bronze color, leaves can turn yellow to red and drop prematurely, damage might impact next year’s crop

Management Options: Biological control: Mites have many natural enemies which limit their numbers including western predatory mites Galendromus occidentalis, Phytoseiulus, sixspotted thrips, spider mite destroyer lady beetle, minute pirate bugs, bigeyed bugs, lacewing larvae, western flower thrips, cultural control by applying water to pathways and other dusty areas, proper irrigation, midseason washing of trees and vines with water, insecticidal soap, chemical control with insecticides can make the problem worse



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