Spider mites are known globally for their destructive nature. They might not be very big but they have huge appetites and they love to go for the plants that you take so much time to care for. It is not difficult for these creatures to get into your garden and once they do, the lives of your plants are sure to be cut off within a short period of time. The spider mites love the juices in the plants so they go after the better cared for plants rather than the weeds.
There are many types of spider mites but the ones to really watch out for are the two-spotted kinds. These are hardly noticeable and you may only be able to catch them with a magnifying glass. They are distinguished by the two spots on the abdomen and these two spots are from the plant juices. The colour of the body is usually light to dark green and on the rare occasion, a translucent yellow. There are also those that are red during the winter and these are the females who are trying to live through the season.
These females can lay up to 200 eggs within ten days and it only takes five days for the eggs to mature into an adult. This means quick repopulation of any area.
Signs of Infested Gardens
Curling: The leaves will start to curl as the mites take the juice from them. This eventually dries out the leavings causing the leaves to curl either inward or outward.
Webbing: There will be white webbing on the back of the leaves left by the mites. In infestations of a severe nature, the webbing will wrap around the whole plant.
Mechanical Methods of Control
Isolation: Take the infected plants away from the healthy ones to prevent further infestation.
Cold Water: Stream cold water over the plants to knock the creatures off or encourage them to move due to the discomfort of the cold. Don’t spray the water too hard so the plants aren’t damaged.
Shaded: Keep the plants protected from harsh weather and from the hot afternoon sun. Keep them in the shade during the warmer months.
Biological Methods of Control
Predators: There are a few predators you can use to get rid of mites that will not harm the plants. Phytoseiulus persimilis, metaseiulus occidentalis and phytoseiulus longpipes are three of those.
Chemical Methods of Control
There are some chemical and natural insecticides that you can use. Such things as WiltPruf, UltraFine, Greenlight’s Rose Defense Spray and Avid are good choices. The spider mites do adapt very quickly to new environments and become immune to some insecticides but these ones are highly effective despite that.