This plant pest attacks a broad variety of plants including; annual and perennial flowers, many deciduous shrubs, and some trees such as maple redbud and Tuliptree. The Twospotted spider mite is not an insect, but rather a mite, which is similar to a spider. These mites are about the size of a period on a page. Their bodies are oval with eight legs. They are greenish yellow with a black spot on each side of the body in the growing season. There eggs are white to yellow and adult females overwinter in bark cracks or mulch. There are several generations per year.
Spider mites suck leaf juices, causing white-to-yellow stipples to appear. Stipples are where the spider mites sucked the chlorophyll, which cause the green color from the leaves. When large spider mite populations feed, the stipples run together, which cause the leaves to turn white to yellow to grayish brown and die. Some plants are susceptible to toxins from the spider mites, and low populations may cause leaves to die.
How would you know if your plants have Twospotted spider mites? Look for early signs of stippling with the beginning of hot humid summer weather. Examine the underside of damaged leaves or use the “beat” method to determine if you have mites. The “beat” method consists of taking a white piece if paper and placing it among the plants leaves and branches and beat on the plant. Remove the paper, shake or lightly blow off the debris, then smear your hand across the paper. If you see green to blackish streaks across the paper, it is likely you have mites. If you think you have spider mites on your plants, then it is time to call Virginia Green for a free Premium Tree & Shrub analysis and estimate.
In dry, hot, sunny locations, the Twospotted spider mite may produce one generation a week. The spider mites can cause a lot of plant damage in a very short time during the summer, so it is important call a professional for help. Since the spider mite is not an insect, it important to treat them with an miticide to control their numbers. Call Virginia Green today for a free estimate to help you control the spider mites and protect your plants.