Spider mites come from the family Tetranychidae, also classified as Arachnids, like spiders. Besides spiders, relatives to the spider mite include daddy-longlegs, ticks, and scorpions.
Spider mites develop from eggs found near the leaf’s veins. Spider mite eggs are quite large, in fact, larger than the mother is. Spider mites are usually found in dry climates because they feed more under dry conditions.
Spider mites have eight legs and only a one-part body.
A spider mite alone is almost invisible to the naked eye; however, they can be seen in large groups. Also, when spider mites are in large groups, they can cause serious damage to crops and plants.
The mites have a pair of needle-like structures called stylets, which are used to split and break leaf cells. Spider mites push their mouth into the torn tissue and draw up the cell sap. The marks left on the leaf by the spider mite are quite noticeable due to the brownish or yellowish color. Quite often, the plant will die because of the damage caused by the spider mite.
Spider mites webbing can be easily confused with the webbing of a spider. A lot of spider mites produce their own webbing, especially when they occur in high populations. This webbing protects the mites and their eggs from their enemies.
The prime season for most spider mites is in the summer, and they can rapidly develop anywhere from a week or two weeks. For other species of the spider mite, the cooler seasons are their peak time. This includes the spruce spider mite and most mites that can damage turf grass.
Spider mites multiply!
It is important to check plants regularly to keep spider mites away from crops. The first sign of an infestation uses the lowest toxic treatment possible, creating a non-conductive environment for pests.
Spider mites, by themselves, generally do not move much farther than from leaf to leaf. However, other forces like bird feathers, animal hair, and clothes often move them.
Some common plants that spider mites include muskmelon, cantaloupe, beans, blackberry, cucumber, melons, and tomato plants. The damage on the plant leaves often looks like yellowish specks and fine webs, and the plant and fruit growth is stunted.
The spider mites have a few predators, including lady beetles, lacewings, and other mites. Spider mites do not bite human beings and are not a threat to anything other than plants and crops.
Sometimes, spider mites are also referred to as Dust Mites. We have an entire post dedicated to Dust Mites.