The Pro Farmer

Spider mites

Spider mites are very small spiders, around  1 millimeter length and reproduce very fast.

A spider mite
A few spider mites individuals on the back side of a leaf
Spider mites on the backside of a tomato leaf

Their color is red or yellow and the damage they make can be very big.

Damage to dry leaves of tomato plants done by spider mites
A big colony of spider mites

They can reach a state of immense quantities.

Here the spider mites are hiding on the backside of the leaf, but the symptomes are shown on the upperside of the leaf.

They are moving between plants, using webs that they produce,

and suck the liquids, out of the leaves, leaving them dry.

tomato plants suffering from a big infestation of spider mites
Spider mites using webs to move on a tomato leaf
Spider mites colony on tomato leaves
Webs on a cucumber leaf done by spider mites

This can happen in a matter of days if not taken care of.

Spider mites on the back side of a cucumber leaf
Spider mites demage to cucumber leaf

Spider mites are active on all vegetable crops, and they develop tolerance to many designated pesticides.           

Spider mites moving on webs they created
Symptoms of spider mites damge to eggplant leaves.The spidermites are staying on the backside of the leaves.
Infestation of spider mites on watermelon leaves
Spider mites on the backside of a cannabis leaf
Spider mites webs around a strawberry

They are not affected at all by many of the pesticides developed at great cost to give a proper solution against them, turning to be very hard to be eradicated.

Use at least 4 kinds of different pesticides, and alternate between them every 3 days, in order to overcome pest’s resistance, and completely exterminate them. For further information about this, read this post, and this post also.

There are 3 ways to eliminate spider mites: chemical, organic and biological.


The best pesticides for spider mites,

Chemical active ingredients:

2. ABAMECTIN This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is abamectin-1024x1024.jpg
4. ACEQUINOCYL This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is acequinocyl-1024x1024.jpg
9. NEEM OIL   


Neem oil-    A naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree.                                            Azadirachtin is the most active component.                                                                                   It reduces insect feeding and acts as a repellent.                                                       It also interferes with insect hormone systems, making it harder for insects to grow and lay eggs.

Sulfur – The popular fungicide which controls the fungi named powdery mildew has also an acaricidal effect on spider mites, adults and eggs.                             On average, sulfur reduced mite infestations to low levels within one week of treatment and eliminated mites as of three weeks post treatment.                                                                                                       It is important to mix the sulfur with water in the amounts indicated on the product label, usually mix 4 tablespoons per each 1 gallon of water used.

Pyrethrin (pyrethrum)-   A collection of six esters, which are found in high concentrations within the achenes of the flower. It targets insects nervous systems. Pyrethrin induce excited behavior in the insect, which results in increased insect exposure to the pyrethrin and eventual death.

Mineral oil- Covers the egg, larva, nymph and adult stages, causing suffocation. It leaves no toxic residue on plants.

Paraffinic oil- Acts as a smothering and prevents insect respiration.


Phytoseiulus persimillis –

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The carnivorous mite Phytoseiulus persimilis, which originates in South America, serves as an effective natural enemy of spider mites.
The adult female is pear-shaped and orange-reddish in color.
Its main characteristics are: long front legs and rapid movement, especially when exposed to strong light or when its normal activity is disturbed. The young stages (larvae and nymphs) are oval in shape and pale pink in color. Its rate of development is almost twice as fast as that of the pest.
It is no wonder, then, that the Parsimilis mite is considered a particularly effective natural enemy, with an impressive ability to suppress populations of the harmful mite.

A great mite predator for spider mites in humid greenhouses, and in dense field crops. It consumes eggs, nymphs, and adult stages of mites. Spider mites are killed by being searched by the predatory mites, that suck them dry once found.
Release at first sign of mite infestation. Once leaf damage is serious, as more than 4 mites per leaf, achieving control is more difficult.

For heavy infestations, remove the most affected parts of the plant. In which crops is Phytoseiulus persimilis effective?
Medicinal cannabis
Tree and shrub nursery
Tomato and Cherry tomato
Sweet pepper and Hot pepper
Melon and Watermelon
Green and Runner bean
Eggplant (aubergine)
Cucumber and Gherkin

Apply mites repeatedly by inverting the bottle, over spider mite-infested leaves. Each inversion delivers a measured amount of vermiculite. Tap and roll bottle before re-opening it.
These are live organisms, that are shipped directly from the manufacturer, via fast next day mail delivery, so they do not die during transit. Biological beneficials have a very short life expectancy and therefore need to be introduced into the crop, as soon as possible after receipt.


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