Here are the different types of spider mites.
As a gardener, you’re likely aware of the destructive activities of spider mites on plants. These pests are rightfully called spider mites because they’re similar to spiders in the sense that they weave webs.
However, the main difference is in their food preferences. While spiders feed on insects and bugs, spider mites feed on plant juices or sap.
Our primary focus is to find out the types of spider mites.
Spider mites come from their sources, in different species, and mainly attack plants. Having any luck in your repellent efforts will require knowing the different species, as well as other spider mite behaviors.
This article will prove useful in your spider mite education.
Identifying Spider Mites
Due to their size, spider mites tend to be difficult to identify. These tiny mites will require the use of magnifying glasses for close inspection. These plant pests are mostly oval-shaped with eight legs.
In terms of the number of legs possessed, the same cannot be said for juvenile spider mites.
Juvenile mites have about 6 legs after hatching. To easily identify spider mites, you’ll find their silk webbing on infested leaves. These mites mostly prefer to stay underneath leaves.
Specific physical characteristics depend on the particular species involved.
Certain spider mite species are more adapted to particular plants. For example, the Williamette, as well as Pacific spider mite species, tend to be more common on the grape plant.
Spider Mite Types
When it comes to spider mite types or species, the list is almost endless.
In other words, there are lots of species with the known species numbering around 1,200. This is huge! A few of those we’ll be looking at including the two-spotted spider mites, pacific spider mites, and the Williamette.
Others include citrus spider mites, fruit spider mites, and carmine spider mites. These are among the most common spider mite species we’ve included in our discussion.
Let’s have a look at what these different spider mite types are about.
Two-spotted Spider Mites
Two-spotted spider mites are common landscape pests also known as Tetranychus urticae.
This spider mite species eat just about any plant it can find. They can be found on shrubs, woody trees, ornamental grasses, annual flowers, and herbaceous perennials.
Two-spotted spider mites thrive best in hot weather conditions with more reproductions at high temperatures. The population of two-spotted spiders on your plants will determine the speed of deterioration or distortion and damage.
True to their name, two-spotted spider mites have two saddlebag spots on their backs. Apart from these spots, this spider species can be identified by their bodily colorations.
Such colorations range from translucent, brownish red, to yellow. Yellow two-spotted spiders tend to be among the commonest.
Pacific Spider Mites
As mentioned earlier pacific spider mites, also known as tetranychus pacificus are more common on grape plants.
In terms of appearance, this spider mite type ranges from greenish to slightly amber with the potential of turning reddish to orange (mostly for adult females).
Most reported cases of pacific spider mite problems are mostly around the warmer and dryer times of the year.
Other distinctions that set pacific spider mites apart from the rest are the reddish forelegs.
To know what type of spider mite you’re dealing with, you only need to look at the nature of the damage. Pacific spider mites cause an initial yellowing of plant leaves.
This further deteriorates to dead areas or spots on the leaves. With high infestations, such leaves die off. You’ll also find a significant amount of webbing on such leaves.
Williamette Spider Mites
The Willamette species of spider mites are also known as the Eotetranychus Willamette. Williamette spiders have a yellow appearance.
They mostly navigate to the cooler parts of a plant especially the shady sections.
Like pacific spider mites, Willamette spider mites also cause leave yellowing. To be specific, leaves turn yellowish bronze. However, you won’t find burns on such leaves.
Sometimes, telling a Willamette spider mite from pacific spider mites is a bit challenging. Both of these also prefer grape plants.
However, one feature stands out between the two species; Willamette spider mites tend to be smaller in size. Immediate measures must be carried out to control this spider mite infestation.
Eliminating them helps keep plants in good condition.
Citrus Spider Mites
As the name suggests, this spider species target citrus trees and fruits. The damage caused by citrus spider mites is at its peak during hot dry conditions. During this time, some trees are water-stressed.
These pests target the leaves and fruits of citrus plants.
Known as Panonychus citri, it’s considered one of the most serious economic pests due to the level of damage it does to economic trees. Citrus spider mites have a pear-shaped brick-red body.
On the backs of their body are pearly spots from where strong white hairs grow.
Fruit Spider Mites
The fruit spider mite species is known as Panonychus ulmi.
They’re more common on fruit trees like cherry, apple, pear, apricot, nectarine, and plum, etc. Fruit spider trees move among trees by aerial dispersal and within trees by crawling.
One major characteristic fruit spider mites are known for is their high reproductive rate. A female mite completes about 3 to 5 generations per season!
This is substantial and a major reason why you need to take urgent measures to eliminate mites when you find them.
Carmine Spider Mites
Carmine spider mites are another type of pests that are closely related to the two-spotted spider mites. Carmine spider mites have a bright red appearance and thrive in cold weather conditions.
A characteristic decline in population occurs as weather conditions become warmer.
Also known as Tetranychus cinnabarinus, carmine spiders complete their lifecycle from egg stage to adulthood within a week.
Like all mite species, spider mite infestations must be treated earlier using an appropriate acaricide. This helps save your plants from damage.
These are only a few of many spider mite species you can find. There are also sub-species to consider when identifying these spider mites.
One common problem posed by their action is the destruction or damage to plants.
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