This most common spider mite is miniscule (0.5mm) and prefers to colonize and lay eggs on leaf undersides of most host plants. When populations are high, these mites can be found on all leaf surfaces and stems.
Signs of heavy mite infestation include extensive fine webbing on foliage and flowers, eggs on leaf surfaces and the mites themselves, the latter two under magnification. Spider mites are most active in hot, dry weather. Feeding usually causes a stippling effect on foliage, although leaf browning may occur on susceptible plants. Heavy infestations can cause leaves to yellow and drop, completely defoliate, or even kill the plant.
Inspect plants frequently for signs of infestation, especially on older, middle-aged leaves and near midribs. Consider introducing predatory mites of the family Phytoseiidae, but not for heavy indoor infestations or individual plants. Frequent applications of insecticidal soaps are very effective and should be the first choice for most spider mite problems. It kills by contact only, so cover foliage thoroughly and apply frequently, especially to the undersides of leaves.
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