Spider mite - the ubiquitous pest
Spider mite is one of the most ubiquitous pests. It affects almost all plants except aquatic plants. Unfortunately, almost all lovers of indoor plants sooner or later have to deal with this pest. In this article we tried to collect the maximum of useful information about the features of this pest and the methods of prevention and control.
- Some types of spider mites
- Pest Overview
- Signs of damage to plants by spider mites
- Damage to plants
- Fight against spider mites
Some types of spider mites
Common spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) - a tick of the spider mite family. The most common of the tick family. The size of the tick directly depends on the degree of its fatness. The length of the females is from about 0.4 to 0.6 mm, the male from 0.3 to 0.45 mm.
Soft-bodied animals of ellipsoid shape have a convex upper body and a flat lower body. At the larval stage of development, they are transparent, painted from light green to greenish-brown in color with two distinct, large dark spots on the sides, which are formed by transparent blind bags of the middle intestine. From late summer to next spring, wintering females are colored from orange red to bright red. In contrast to the six-legged first phase of the larvae, all adult ticks have 8 legs.
Common plant pests include:
- Red spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus);
- Red-legged spider mite (Tetranychus ludeni);
- Savzdarg's Spider Mite (Tetranychus sawzdargi);
- Atlantic spider mite (Tetranychus atlanticus).
Several generations of ticks live in a web woven by spider mites. They reproduce very quickly. Individuals become adults after 10-20 days from the time of laying the eggs.
Negative influence on the reproduction of spider mites have low temperatures and high humidity. Also, under such conditions, the period of development of already hatched larvae may slow down. If the climatic conditions improve, then a sudden massive infection is possible. In addition, spider mites move very quickly from one plant to another.
The color of spider mites is variable and depends on a number of factors. Most often, mites are yellowish, brownish, greenish. May have dark colored spots on the sides of the body. Non-feeding wintering females are usually reddish or red. Males are slightly smaller than females and have a longer body.
Females emerge from fertilized eggs, and males emerge from unfertilized eggs. Tick larvae, unlike adults, have three pairs of walking limbs. After the first molt, the larva turns into a nymph, and already has 4 pairs of walking limbs, as well as adult mites. Eggs are rounded. Immediately after laying, it is whitish or yellowish, almost transparent.
As the embryo develops, the eggs become cloudy and yellowish. The rate of embryo development is very temperature dependent. So, at +15 ° C the egg stage lasts about 15 days, and at +30 ° C only 2-3 days. The total duration of one generation of these pests (from egg to egg) also depends on temperatures and ranges from 30-36 to 7-8 days. This must be taken into account when scheduling treatments.
In the fall, a significant proportion of the nymphs turn into wintering non-feeding females. Some of them migrate from fodder plants in search of places for wintering. Moreover, some are moving down, while others are seeking shelter in the upper part of the premises. So a complete dressing of plants does not guarantee disposal of all pests in your home.
At high summer temperatures, part of the females ceases to feed and also migrates in search of shelters until the end of the extremely hot season.
Signs of damage to plants by spider mites
Spider mites feed on plant cell contents. The presence of this parasite is indicated by the presence of small white dots on the leaves (mainly on the underside) and the presence of a thin cobweb surrounding the plants (or parts thereof).
In cases of severe damage, the leaves turn white from multiple lesions. The plants are completely covered with cobwebs, at the tips of the shoots and leaves a stirring mass from the bodies of the pests accumulates.
Damage to plants
Part of the cells is destroyed, the area and intensity of photosynthesis decreases, the plant weakens, becomes more susceptible to any infections. The spider mite, in addition to eating on plants, also carries a number of infections. The literature mentions that this parasite carries spores of gray rot and viral infections of ornamental and agricultural crops..
The main prerequisite for the appearance of spider mites is dry air, so high air humidity and regular spraying of the external part of the plant is a good prevention of the occurrence and reproduction of the pest. However, high air humidity only helps with lesions with a true spider mite, while a false spider mite, on the contrary, loves it very much. However, practice shows that plants are most often attacked by true spider mites rather than false ones.
When spraying a plant, one must be very careful that the water does not remain in the core of the plant and grooves of leaves for a long time, as this can very easily lead to decay. Particularly careful should be in the winter, as at low light and low temperatures, water evaporates quite slowly. Full immersion of the plant in water is unlikely to help, since insects protect themselves with air bubbles that cover them during contact with water.
Fight against spider mites
The first thing you need to start treatment with is a good washing of the outside of the plant with warm water and laundry soap or a dishwashing detergent. This event will not destroy insects, but at least halve their population.
When killing spider mites, it is necessary not only to rinse and process the plants themselves well, but also the windowsill on which they stood, as well as saucers and pots.
All suspicious plants must be immediately isolated.
The plant can be well watered and covered with a transparent plastic bag for 3 days. From high humidity inside the package, the ticks will die. However, the plants must be constantly monitored so that their leaves burn out from the heat.
Fighting with modern means is the most effective way to get rid of spider mites. However, it should be remembered that the spider mite is a spider-like animal, and not an insect, therefore it is useless to use insecticides (means against insects) to destroy it. Other drugs are effective against ticks - acaricides and insectoacaricides.
Acaricides: Apollo, Borneo, Envidor, Nisoran, Omayt, Sunmayt, Floromayt, Flumayt.
Insectoacaricides: Agravertin, Akarin, Aktellik, Aktofit, Vertimek, Dursban, Kleschevit, Oberon, Fitoverm.
If you have experience using acaricides or insectoacaricides against spider mites, write about the results of using this or that remedy in the comments.
Purchased chemicals must be used several times to destroy more resistant individuals and their eggs.
Check your plants regularly and take preventative measures so that the spider mite does not catch you by surprise.