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Insect and Spider Identification: webbing together dead leaves but no visible mite

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Forum: Insect and Spider IdentificationReplies: 4, Views: 28
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Woodbridge, VA

December 9, 2013
2:24 PM

Post #9724853

I have just removed dozens of clumps of dead leaves from plants at my new home... held together by webbing. There may be two problems going on: I was removing these all summer, and though I have seen some places where there do appear to be clusters of tiny spiders that are drawing together leaves, perhaps even until they die from reduced light, not all of the clumps of dead leaves seem to have the tiny spiders on them. The tiny spiders are generally a golden brown, do not appear to be the spider mites, and seem to be only one of two problems... since on most of the plants with the dead-leaf-webbing clumps I can find no culprit at all. I have carefully picked the clumps apart and searched top and bottom of all the leaves. The clumps without visible critters tend to be completely off of the plant and clumped in a loose wad near the stems and sometimes are even leaves from other plants than the plant's stem they are on - ie there may be five of the plant's leaves and one or two of something that may have fallen into it or near it. Does anyone know of an insect that produces webbing, clumps leaves, and sometimes even seems to wad together the living leaves but stays more hidden than the spider mites seem to? Also, is there a non-spider mite type of gregarious spider that poses a problem to plants? I'm used to thinking of spiders as the gardener's friend! The plants seem to suffer when these appear so I keep picking them off, but whoever it is remains pretty productive. I'd send a photo but it would just look like a slightly webby wad of dead leaves!


Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 9, 2013
3:09 PM

Post #9724891

Webs are different, send pic. Still think you have a spider mite problem, ummm, acari? is the scientific handle- light golden brown is mature ones. They dont like water, make little silk webs...


Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

December 12, 2013
5:22 AM

Post #9726653

If it is something that feeds on the plant, i would think the webs would be limited to certain plants or certain kinds of plants. Doesn't sound like anything I've found (saying that since I live in same growing region)


mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

December 21, 2013
8:02 AM

Post #9731757

i'd say spider mites. once the leaves are dead on an area, they'll move on to a fresh area, so you wouldn't see mites on the old dead leaves.

this time of year you can do a garden (light) oil spray making sure to get all the leaves, over and under them. in general, mites don't like water, so a frequent misting or hosing down, preferably in the evening, should take care of them for the coming spring. just continue to keep an eye on them once the weather warms up.

what kind of plants are they? some are more prone to mites than others. hot, dry, windy conditions are ideal for spider mites.
Woodbridge, VA

December 26, 2013
11:22 AM

Post #9734737

I'm finding it on many varieties of plants, ranging from azaleas which I know to be a real mite magnet plant, to butterfly bush, hazel nut, hydrangea, smart weed, crepe myrtle... practically everything except evergreens. I will post some photos as soon as we warm up (Virginia) for the webbing to start up again. As of now, I've cleared it away from the plants I noticed it on and cannot be certain, when I find any more, if it's just some I missed earlier or if it really is being rebuilt. Eventually I'll know I've gotten it all and Then I'll be dissecting and examining again on the quest for a wee beastie.
I'll try watering from above whenever it's warm enough to turn the hoses back on.

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