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Spider Mite Control with Phytoseiulus (Summer Treatments)
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Spider mites are slow moving, normally light in colour with distinct dark spots on either side of their body. They feed on many soft or fleshy leaved plants, causing speckling and discolouration.
At high densities they produce silk that can cover the plant. Mites will overwinter in conservatories, greenhouses or bamboo canes. If damage occurred last year, introduce the predators early.
The tiny red coloured spider mites are plant-feeding mites and feared pests on several crops all over the world. In dry, warm weather a spider mite population can grow very rapidly.
The most common species are two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) and the carmine spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus).
Spider Mite control with Phytoseiulus
Where RSM is already established, use Phytoseiulus, a fast-moving predatory mite. Temperature needs to be consistently over 20°C. Repeat applications every 2-3 weeks in hot weather.
Regular introductions between June and August for effective control.
Available to order between: 1st May - 1st October
Description and life cycle
The female deposits round eggs of about 0.14 mm on the underside of the leaf. Out of the egg a colourless larva with 6 legs hatches and immediately starts feeding. Subsequently, the larva develops into a protonymph, a deutonymph and an adult stage.
The nymphs are light to dark green and have 2 clearly developed body spots. The colour of the adults can vary from yellow-brown to red-brown, depending of the crop on which they occur.
Both males and females have 2 large dark body spots. The development stages are separated by a resting stage, during which the mite settles immobile on the leaf.
Once the mite has become adult, it takes another 0.5 to 3 days before the female starts laying eggs.
The total development time takes 7 days at 30°C (86°F), 17 days at 20°C (68°F) and 36 days at 15°C (59°F). The female lays her eggs for 10 days (at 35°C or 95°F) and up to 40 days (at 15°C or 59°F). At 20°C (68°F) she lays about 40 eggs in total, but under optimal circumstances this can mount up to 100.
Especially during dry and warm weather spider mites can reproduce very rapidly. In autumn, when temperature and photoperiod drop, fertilised females enter diapauses. Such females turn orange-red. They hide in all kinds of cracks in the greenhouse, to appear again early in the following season when circumstances improve.