Growing Tips of Seasonal plants
For Growers

Pest Name: Red spider mites

These are members of the Tetranychidae Family, the most common household variety is the Red Spider mite of which the male is red and the female can be green, black or yellow.
General view of infested leaf Family mites Closer leaf look Clear view of the mite

These are tiny spiders with bristly backs hardly visible with the naked eye, however alike most spiders they spin small webs on the bottom of leaves, between leaves, over flower buds and between forks of the plant which are clearly visible. Small yellow or brown spots (stipples) may also appear on the tops of the leaves. A severe infestation will give the plant a dusty look, the leaves will eventually turn a rusty red color before dropping off. For early detection, itís worth while placing a piece of white paper under the plant or a single leaf and then tapping it. The small mites (about the size of fine sand) are easy to see on the white background as they try to crawl around.


a) If small number of plants are affected;
Spider mites dislike humidity so misting the plant regularly will decrease their reproductive rate. Adding a little insecticidal soap and methylated spirits to the water in your mister will also aid in the battle against this most persistent pest. Remove the webs and the spider mites by washing the plant in soapy tepid water, paying particular attention to the underside of all the leaves. Repeat the treatment every 3 to 4 days to ensure its success. For tough plants, a forceful jet of water can be used to rinse. Washing will not always remove all the eggs so repeat on a weekly basis until the plant is clear.
If non successful and the infestation is limited to one plant, think of destroying the plant to avoid contamination

b) If large number of plants is affected:

OPTION 1:Non Chemical management:

Select Non-chemical Management Options as Your First Choice!!
  • Keep plants healthy to increase pest tolerance.
  • Predaceous mites and insects such as ladybird beetles may naturally control spider mite levels. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides that kill these natural predators.
  • Switch to slow-release or lower-nitrogen fertilizers. High levels of nitrogen in the leaves can increase spider mite reproduction rates.
  • Wash spider mites from plants with a strong stream of water
  • Visit the following studies for more ideas: and

OPTION 2: Chemical management:

Apply to control the immature crawler stage, usually in late spring to early summer.
  • Ortho Isotox Insect Killer Formula IV
  • Ortho RosePride Orthenex Insect & Disease Control 1
  • Safer Insecticidal Soap Concentrate
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.

Active ingredient table for the above listed products:

Product Active Ingredient EPA
Ortho Isotox Insect Killer Formula IV acephate, fenbutatin-oxide 239-2595
Ortho RosePride Orthenex Insect & Disease Control 1 acephate, resmethrin, triforine 239-2476
Safer Insecticidal Soap Concentrate potassium salts of fatty acids 42697-1