Red Spider Mite

Family Name

Tetranychus urticae

Characteristics

Type:

Crawling

Size:

They are around 0.04 inch in length.

Colour:

Yellowish-green in colour with two dark green spots on their backs. During the cooler months with shorter day lengths, the mites change to a red colour and become dormant

Behaviour:

These mites do not bite people or pets.

Habitats

Red spider mite, also known as two spotted spider mite, is a very common sap-feeding mite, active throughout the warmer months, that can be found on many different plant species indoors and outside. They can be especially destructive in greenhouses.

Tips for Control

The use of chemical pesticides actually encourages the spread of spider mites by killing the beneficial insects that prey on them. Mites are also known to develop quick resistance to various pesticides. For these reasons, it’s important to control mites with effective natural and organic methods.

Where spider mites have been present, the growing areas need to be thoroughly cleaned during the cooler months. Old canes and pots should be soaked in an appropriate cleaning agent or destroyed.

Due to the speed at which red spider mites breed, it is often difficult to completely control. Heavily infested plants and leaves should be removed and destroyed, if possible. If using biological control, the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis will predate on red spider mites and can be obtained from commercial suppliers. As a last resort, organic products containing fatty acids or plant oils/extracts are also available from your pest controller. Always ensure that the label instructions are adhered to.

Regular spraying of plants with water and watering around the base will also help to reduce infestations, as red spider mites do not like high humidity.