LEDWisdom Pest Management Articles #3 Spider Mites
Updated: Jun 27
Humans have used plants for thousands of years as a resource to meet their food, fiber and shelter needs, but we are not the only species that needs and can benefit from plants. Countless creatures large and small rely on plants for shelter and food.
Of all the plant pests you will encounter in your garden, spider mites are probably the most common. Although small and seemingly harmless, these tiny mites can cause serious damage to your crops.
If your growing area is infested, do not lose hope, but the best way to get rid of spider mites is to take precautions before infestations, by keeping our growing area constantly sterile and tidy, as with other pests.
Small, colorful and multi-legged spider mites are not actually insects. It is specie more like spiders and ticks. They have two features that place them in this taxonomy: two main body parts and eight legs. To give more detailed information, they belong to the "Tetranychidae" family, which includes about 1,200 other species.
Spider mites can infest blueberry, strawberry and cucumber plants, as well as dried beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce and many more. Spider mites are also a common pest of many types of flowers.
Spider mites begin their life cycle as eggs. It endures the cold winter and then hatches when temperatures begin to rise. They emerge as dark colored larvae and quickly develop into pupae before reaching their final form. Spider mites reproduce very quickly.
They gather on the underside of the fan leaves, where they weave a web over the affected tissue. This is why they are called spiders. They feed on the underside of the leaves and leave small spots where you can detect the damage they have done to your plants. If the problem is not resolved, the leaves turn yellow, discolor and lose their shape.
Plants rely on chlorophyll in their leaves to photosynthesize and create energy. If the damage to the leaves reaches a large extent, the plants begin to fail to perform their basic life functions. This will slow growth and affect yield. If the invasion is not prevented, the plants will die after a while.
Spider mites cannot be detected with the naked eye as they are usually smaller than 1 mm. If you look with the help of a magnifying glass, you will notice white legs and various colors. Some are red, some are yellow and orange. Before you get to the stage of examining spider mites with a magnifying glass, you should have noticed the problem by watching the leaves. In order to diagnose the infestation, you can check whether your plant shows the following symptoms;
Net-like threads interwoven on the underside of leaves
Small white or yellow dots (feeding damage)
Wilting and damaged leaves
Yellowing and color change in plant tissue
Stunted or slow growth
dead or dying plants
These symptoms are evidence of an invasion, but since they are not seen only in spider mite infestation, the pest species should be caught and examined with the help of a lens after diagnosis. If the pests in your garden are spider mites, you should be able to see two main body segments of about 1mm, eight legs, a red, yellow or orange color, and two dark spots on either side of their body. If the harmful species fits this definition, what precautions should be taken at this point should be considered.
Ladybugs are among the most effective predatory insects and are a very voracious species. They do not use a special capture technique or tracking method; they walk towards their prey and eat them directly. Spider mites are one of the favorite food source of ladybugs. Therefore, they know how to find them and how to reach more. A single ladybug can consume more than 100 spider mites in a day when it reaches a flock, following the scent of damaged leaves and mites. Ladybugs do not harm your plants when they consume spider mites.
It will be more efficient to introduce ladybugs into your garden in large numbers at a time. Since they do not like the heat, they may escape from your garden during the hot hours of the day. For this reason, prefer early morning or evening hours. Spraying your plants in the absence of strong light can ensure that some ladybugs persist in your garden. It is also possible to make a bug shelter in your garden where they can stay. You can direct ladybugs to these shelters by using an infested plant. Brick, straw and cones are among the materials that can be preferred to direct ladybugs to the shelter. Having a shelter where the ladybugs can feel safe will increase productivity and sustainability, as it allows wild ladybugs to find a place in your garden.
To make your own ladybug shelter in your cottage, garden You can use the following materials in your kitchen or kitchen;
Although ladybugs are effective in reducing the spider mite population, there are other preventive and remedial measures that breeders can implement. You can review some of the other options we can offer you.
As a natural pesticide, neem oil helps repel various types of pests, including spider mites, without the use of dangerous synthetic chemicals. Spray the underside of affected leaves with neem foliar spray to expel spider mites and blow up their webs. It is not as effective as ladybugs, but when applied together with ladybugs, its effect is greatly increased. You can apply it with a spray by adding a teaspoon of neem oil to a liter of warm water.
Companion plants have many functions in the garden, from attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to deterring pests. Several edible plants work to repel spider mites from the garden. Grow them near your garden plants and harvest them to eat at the end of the season. Dill, anise, cumin, rosemary, and potatoes are among the herbs that can help prevent a spider mite infestation.
Ladybugs are not the only beneficial insect species with an appetite for spider mites. The following predatory mites also work as effective predators:
Some spider mite control products are available in the market as well as larvicide. You can choose to go down this path but an early harvest can also be considered in some cases.
We hope this article will help you prevent infestations in your garden, and we remind you again of the importance of keeping our growing area sterile and isolated.