Red Spider Mites FAQ – Extermination, Reproduction & Behavior

Spider mites are an incredibly difficult problem for any gardener to deal with. There are many different species which infiltrate plants on the lower sides of their leaves. All spider mites drain sap out of the plant, spin sheet-like webbing, and reproduce quickly. As the population grows, they slowly consume the host plant.

WHICH TYPES OF RED SPIDER MITES TARGET FRUIT PLANTS?

European red mites (Panonychus ulmi), in particular, target fruit plants. They will feed off the leaves and the fruit itself, causing russetting. They have a bulbous appearance, and the adults are ruddy in color. Since many of the fruits they infest are red (apple, cherry, plum, etc) they can be difficult to spot. Their eggs are also a solid red color. The mites have a bulbous shape that helps distinguish them from other species.

HOW FAST DOES THE RED SPIDER MITE REPRODUCE?

While all spider mites reproduce quickly, red mites are particularly noted for their ability to multiply rapidly, especially in the summer when it’s hot and dry. The life cycle, from growth to mating and egg-laying, can be as short as 10 days in optimum conditions. In cool, humid conditions, it will take longer, up to 25 days. Like other spider mites, they go through the stages of larva, protonymph, deutonymph, and adult. There are about 6-8 generations per year, and these overlap with each other during their various stages.

The main reproductive activity is during the summer, when conditions are ripe. Towards the fall, females will start laying the “overwinter” eggs, which will lie dormant through the cold winter months in order to restart the infestation in the next year. These dormant eggs will typically be in the crevices of the bark/branches. During active methods, eggs will be laid on foliage on sometimes the fruit itself. A single female red spider mite can lay about 30-35 eggs throughout her lifecycle.

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THE RED SPITER MITE?

The best way to destroy spider mites is with miticides such as LAVAMITE™. It is the best product available for red spider mite control.

To properly get rid of red spider mites, it is important to wipe out all active mites and their eggs. The eggs are more durable and difficult to remove, especially the dormant ones. So, it will likely be necessary to do multiple treatments with about two weeks in between. This will ensure that any remnants get completely eliminated. This is important, as even a small group of survivors can rebound and cause future infestation. Furthermore, the survivors might become more resistant to treatment, so it’s important to do a complete job.

There are various methods that can be used to rid yourself of red spider mites. You can simply wash them off, use soap or other compounds, and so on. You can also add natural predators which will eat the mites and eggs. While predators are effective, they can be expensive, have their own requirements, and often don’t totally wipe out an infestation. In order to be certain of wiping out red spider mites, miticides are necessary.