Red spider mite

Red Spider mite

Hello, I’m Red Spider mite

ALIASES

Mite, Two spotted mite.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF

Well, my closest relations are spiders, but don’t let that put you off! I’m TINY (about 0.5mm), greenish-yellow and look good in spots (two big black ones on my back). I change things a little in autumn when I look good in red – in line with the season and my common name of red spider mite.

KNOWN ASSOCIATES

As I travel with lots of mates, I tend not to need assistance from other bugs. However, other bugs may come in and attack the plants that I have weakened.

WHERE DO I HANG OUT

I adore roses, berries, azaleas, marigolds, pansies and violas and pretty much anything else in your flower garden. I also find most indoor plants irresistible, especially when humidity is kept low. In fact, hot, dry weather, with low humidity really gets me laying eggs! I go nuts in your veggie patch, especially for cucumbers, capsicums, tomatoes and beans, and I go crazy for apple and peach trees. So you can see I’m pretty much an all-around pest!

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE BEEN MUGGED

Your leaves look mottled or bronze coloured, especially on the top. If I have been around for a while and breeding up a storm, the leaves might even fall off! If you look underneath the leaves, it’s a bit of a mess as we’re an untidy bunch! Have a look for my webs, so you don’t confuse me with thrips!

MODUS OPERANDI

Man, I suck… and suck, and suck! I enjoy sucking all the goodness out of your plants and I love spinning webs, and hanging out on the underside of leaves in a big group.

HOW DO YOU MAKE ME FEEL UNWELCOME

Evict me by inviting around predatory mites… they’re easy to attract, especially if you use compost, manure or mulch your soil (see Good Bugs in your garden #1)! They love this stuff and I hate them. You can even import predatory mites like mail order brides! Use home-made or commercial chilli soap sprays. You can also annoy me by spraying your plants with eco pest oil, just make sure you spray the undersides of leaves where I hang most.