Photo by Melody

Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae)

Order: Acari (AK-ar-ee) (Info)
Family: Tetranychidae
Genus: Tetranychus
Species: urticae


3 positives
7 neutrals
5 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Burbank, California
Canoga Park, California
El Granada, California
Elk Grove, California
Glendora, California
Lake Elsinore, California
Norco, California
Pomona, California
Ramona, California
Salida, California
Simi Valley, California
Sunland, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Bartow, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Thomasville, Georgia
Laupahoehoe, Hawaii
Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
Moscow, Idaho
Caseyville, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Pearl, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois
Crestwood, Kentucky
Houma, Louisiana
La Place, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Gardiner, Maine
Harpswell, Maine
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
Newton Center, Massachusetts
Davison, Michigan
Millersburg, Michigan
Mount Morris, Michigan
Baxter, Minnesota
Brewster, Minnesota
Kansas City, Missouri
Billings, Montana
Reno, Nevada
Espanola, New Mexico
Buffalo, New York (2 reports)
Canandaigua, New York
Craryville, New York
Dansville, New York
Syracuse, New York
Matthews, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chillicothe, Ohio
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Monmouth, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Schnecksville, Pennsylvania
Charleston, South Carolina
Ladson, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Aransas Pass, Texas
Dallas, Texas (3 reports)
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Mcallen, Texas
Palestine, Texas
Plano, Texas
Weslaco, Texas
Danville, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Battle Ground, Washington
Bremerton, Washington
Ferndale, Washington
Graham, Washington
Mountlake Terrace, Washington
Richland, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Augusta, Wisconsin
Casper, Wyoming

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Member Notes:

Neutral VbSparky On Nov 9, 2006, VbSparky from Dansville, NY
(Zone 6a) wrote:

very very bad bug , really hard to get rid of.

Barely visible to the unaided eye, mature two-spotted spider mites bear the characteristic black spots that are their namesake. Adults are straw yellow; nymphs are merely smaller versions of adults and range from pale yellow to pale yellow-green. Two-spotted spider mites reproduce extremely fast and can overwhelm plants by sheer numbers. Leaves of plants infested with spider mites show a distinct spotted effect called stippling. Spider mites cause stippling because they feed on plant cells one at a time. Like their name suggests, spider mites can spin webbing; heavily infested plants are typically covered with the fine webbing they use to disperse from old plants to fresh ones.

Spider mites are known for their ability to reproduce quickly. Adult two-spotted spider mite females can lay hundreds of eggs in a lifetime. Eggs hatch in 2-4 days; nymphs develop in 2-4 days. Adults can live up to 21 days and respond well to hot, dry environments.

you can have 1000's in a matter of days... application needs
to be done every 3 to 5 days to catch the new mites that
just hatched.

Predacious mites, such as Phytoseiulus persimilis, can be used to control two spotted mite. Under certain conditions this phytoseiid mite can completely eradicate twospotted mite from a greenhouse.

Alot of products can be use to control them. 3 of the best
that i have heard of on the internet is a product called
FLORAMITE .. very expensive .. 300 bucks a quart.
Floramite SC is a selective miticide that provides outstanding control of a variety of mite pests on greenhouse, shadehouse, nursery, field, landscape and interiorscape grown ornamentals. Floramite provides quick knockdown through contact activity and long lasting residual control of more than 21 days. Because of its unique mode of action and selective nature, Floramite is easy on predacious mites and beneficial insects, making it ideal for resistance management programs. Floramite controls Two-spotted mite, Pacific mites, Strawberry mites, European Mites, Cyclamen Mites, Citrus Red mites, Southern red mites and Spruce spider mites.

another product is called Avid and Stirrup M

Avid $140.00 per 8 oz.
The most effective eradicant for adult red spider and two-spotted mites. Avid contains abamectin, a naturally derived compound that penetrates leaf tissue to form a reservoir of active ingredient that works long and hard. Won't mar the beauty of flowers or foliage plants. Prevents infestations when used regularly. Eradicates all generations of mites when used three times, three days apart. Works great with the pheremone, Stirrup M Rate: 1/4 teaspoon per gallon.

Stirrup M $25.00 per 8oz
This extremely effective pheremone is a sexual attractant for red spider and two-spotted mites. Added to your miticide spray it attracts spider mites to the Avid or Kelthane, ensuring no escape for the little suckers! Rate: 1/4 teaspoon per gallon.

another good way to control them is to blast your plants with
a spray of water .. just like its raining outside ..
thanks for the rain , or we would be neck deep in spider mites

Positive GEORGE1948 On Dec 25, 2007, GEORGE1948 from Harpswell, ME wrote:



Neutral blomma On Jan 23, 2008, blomma from Casper, WY
(Zone 4a) wrote:

This is one hard type of bug to get rid of. Once noticed, the infestation is far advanced. Here in zone 4, my roses tend to get infested. Last summer my houseplants became infested also.

The first alarm of an infestation is what looks like dust on the underside of leaves. If you blow lightly, the spidermite will move to reveal its presence. A closer look will reveal spider webs that look like strings in between where leaves are attached to the stem. On roses, they like the new growth.

I use a spray solution of Malathion insecticide on all my plants for all bugs. I add a small squirt of dishwashing soap to the mix so that the spray will adhere better to the plant. I spray every 2 or 3 days to catch the new hatchings.

For longer-lasting cure, I use a systemic insecticide in granules form for houseplants. I sprinkle the recommended dose on the soil, the scratch it in. Watering allows the insecticide to seep into the soil where the plant roots will absorb it. The bugs will literately eat to their demise. Systemic insecticide is great, but too expensive to use in the garden. Malathion is great also and much cheaper to use.

Neutral kaimana On Mar 26, 2008, kaimana from Laupahoehoe, HI wrote:

I treat infestations of my citrus trees with regular applications of wettable

Positive chironex On Apr 28, 2008, chironex from N Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I received 2 plants from an ebay seller about a week ago and noticed the spider mites on them. I prefer to use organic controls and remembered that I had some Stylet Oil. This took one spraying mixed at 1 oz per gallon. The mites were gone in one day. Stylet oil is great for control of fungal diseases, Aphid-transmitted plant viruses and phytophagous insects and mites. It is made of refined white mineral oil. It also helps with powdery mildew. I used it in a vineyard with great success. I would sell this to you in smaller quantities, but it is EPA controlled, so repackaging it would require a license and MSDS, blah, blah, blah....sorry.

Available at from JMS Flower Farms in Vero Bch, FL. 866-778-9538. It comes in a huge container of 2.5 gallons.

Neem oil will also work, but it is more expensive.

Negative morrigan On Jul 7, 2008, morrigan from Craryville, NY wrote:

as an avid gardener, especially of indoor plants since we in the northeast, I have found red spider mites to be ubiquitous. They are hard to get rid of, and tend to favor dry conditions and sunny locations. I have been trying a Neem Oil and soap mist to control them - I'll let you know how it goes. But they CAN spread like wildfire if you have them on a houseplant, isolate the plant and check any others that were in close proximity to the affected plant.

Negative Pugzley On Feb 28, 2009, Pugzley from Lake Elsinore, CA wrote:

The red spider mites started on my bush beans and zucchini first, they spread like crazy, I used everything from diatomeceous earth to sevin dust on them, sprayed red hot pepper and garlic and soap, nothing killed them. They were too far gone before I knew what they were. They wiped out all of my plants, but didn't seem to be as crazy about the tomatoes as the other veggies. I ended up yanking all my plants except eggplant, okra and tomatoes that were least affected by them. They are devils.

This year, I have started using Stylet Oil as a preventative on all plants I am growing outside. I believe if you allow them to get a foothold, even for a few days, you're doomed.

If you have spider mites, you must act pre-emptively against them, otherwise, you're going to have a huge problem controlling them.

I don't know yet how good the Stylet Oil is against, them. Hopefully it will work, but I am thinking it is going to have to be applied at least 2x a week to be effective. I had sprayed my roses 5 days ago on a Monday, by Saturday morning they were being attacked by rose aphids. I sprayed them again and it appears that the aphids are all dead after spraying.

Might even need to use this oil 3x a week. I don't know yet.

Negative MonMon On Mar 24, 2009, MonMon from Paris
France wrote:

These creatures are an absolute pain in the ass to get rid of. I noticed they mostly go for new shoots and buds. Signs on your plant are stunted and damaged new leaves, with the other leaves of the plants drooping and getting spots .The webs are first noticeable in the bends of branches. Eggs are on the underside of leaves, tiny black spots.

My houseplants cought some last year, not sure HOW since I lived on the 5th floor flat of an apartment block in the middle of the city. They really like rose plants, which I had one of on my window sill. They then went to the Jalopeno pepper plant. I thought I'd gotten rid of them after having given the plants a thorough shower and spraying them with insecticide. Brought the plants back to my mother's house. Forgot to warn her about the chance of bugs, and she didn't keep an eye on the plants. Within a week or two the rose plants was COVERED in webs, and I mean completely and utterly covered. That went straight to the bin.
The mites then spread to all the plants in the house, I have no idea how they managed, since the two original infected plants had stayed in the same room all the time.

We tried various insecticides, but we found what actually worked best is daily sprayings of water on the affected plants, and a full out shower once a week (though be careful not to drown your plants if the pots don't have that draining hole in the bottom). Moisture controls these pests better than any of the insecticides we used.
Also wiping the underside of the leaves regularily with warm water helps, as it removes any eggs which may have remained there.

Positive zelda54 On May 1, 2009, zelda54 from Buffalo, NY wrote:

The only thing you need to do to control spider mites is spray them off with the hose and use insecticidal soap regularly.

Neutral tikipod On Apr 27, 2010, tikipod from (Ang) Bremerton, WA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought some herbs this year and they came with a free gift - spider mites. So far my treatment has helped and they only seem to be in the indoor plants I bought.

Negative HolyChickin On Jun 21, 2010, HolyChickin from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

**cries** I am completely INFESTED!! Is there anything on the planet more EVIL than these things?!?! I am thinking no.

I have a slew of hybrid tea roses as well as a few climbers and a couple of miniatures, I also have tomatoes, bell peppers, Serrano Peppers, and some spices. It all started with my parsley. I noticed the leaves were turning yellow... thought maybe its getting too much water so I kind of took it easy on the watering... that didn't help so I started REALLY inspecting. I saw these teeny weeny little reddish brown spiders. I did some research and found it was spider mites. Found out REAL quick, they are no joke!

So I sprayed the parsely down with insecticidal soap and waited to see what happened. It didn't occur to me to ISOLATE the infected plant. DUH! Of course, the insecticidal soap didn't do squat... and the mites spread. They moved onto my rosemary (that croaked), moved onto the mini roses (two of those croaked), NOW they have taken up residence in my hybrid teas and one of my climbers. Oh man...

I spray Neem on a regular basis... currently I am on a 7 day regimen. Just sprayed neem last Wednesday... the spider mites said "THANKS FOR THE COCKTAILS LADY!! ANOTHER ROUND PLEASE!!"

I am totally freaking out over here!! I went off the deep end this morning and sprayed the dickens out of EVERYTHING with the garden hose from underneath hoping to blast the little buggers into outerspace. Usually, I give my roses a gentle watering and am very careful not to get the leaves wet to avoid blackspot... but this morning; water was flying like it was a water park, leaves were airborne, harsh language was being used along with the phrase "Die, Die, DIE!" The neighbors probably think I am a nut case!!

As hot as it is, I am sure within an hour, the leaves were completely dry and the evil little vamps are having a party.

Since I know what is waiting for me, this afternoon in my desperation, I stopped by the garden section at the local hardware chain and was directed to use Malathion... after a little research I am finding that might not even work. So now I am a little hesitant about using it.

Tonight, I am going out there with a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and am going to town. After the leaves dry, I am going to spray with Malathion and pray for a miracle. I also ordered some Avid Miticide (I hope to get it in a few days)... A friend told me it's the best stuff to use against these devils.

I will let you know who comes out on top but as the score stands now:
Spider mites = 5 dead / 9 infected
Me = 0

**sigh** I am growing very frustrated. It's making me think that maybe gardening is not my thing... but I am not going out without a fight. If I have take them out with a homemade flamer thrower; I will. SO if you see a story in the news about a bunch of hybrid teas engulfed in flames, you'll know my will is finally broken.

Neutral Green_Tay On Dec 8, 2010, Green_Tay from Hamilton
Canada wrote:

i recently had problems with spidermites, i used a neem oil solution and applied every 6 days or so, did that twice and that has seemed to done the job.... for now

Neutral SpiderMight On Jun 2, 2013, SpiderMight wrote:

I've been planting tomatoes for the past four years. It was not until after I tried composting my rose trimmings that the spider mites appeared.

I wonder if another factor is the amount of dirt around my tomato plants. I am trying to create a walk way and cover it with a brick layer, and I would like to add a layer of wood chips as well all around my tomato plants.

But until then, it looks like I have a triple threat of too much of a dirt environment and using the wrong material when composting. I compost by digging holes and throwing vegetation into the hole and covering it up with dirt.

I have been simply wiping the tomato plants with one hand only, which I then don't touch or contact in any way until I have thoroughly washed it.

The water idea seems to destroy the webbing. Anybody have a wood chipper they are no longer using so I can chop up some branches into wood chips?

Neutral commanderbunn3y On Aug 4, 2013, commanderbunn3y from New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I actually prefer getting spider mites above mealy bugs any day just because they are easy to get rid of! This is my secret recipe for Voodoo spray, it kills almost all small insects. One quart spray bottle add 1 tblsp Palmolive, 2 tblsp Epsom salts fill the rest with water. Spray weekly until the problem is gone. They hate moist environments so syringing daily will help tremendously!

If your plants are in direct or bright light you may want to wash the mixture off, it could burn the leaves of some plants.

Oh, be sure the dish liquid is not a degreaser! That will burn the leaves.

Negative paulobessa On Apr 19, 2014, paulobessa from Porto
(Zone 9a) wrote:

As a long term gardener, for 20 years, this is surely the worst pest you can have indoors or in a greenhouse.

It's much more damaging and quick-spreading than aphids, it is much more difficult to deal with, than say slugs. Definitively worst than cabbage butterfly. Spider mites are a nightmare. They can be large scale destroyers.

Much has been said here: they spread like hell. They prefer dry conditions, so using a water hose on your plants, or washing them under the tap can work, but you need to repeat treatment every 5 days. Forget a few days, and your plant will be quickly turned dead.

Another option is moving your plants outdoors during rainy weather. If conditions are not like this, then you must think of the third factor.

Spider mites attack first stressed plants. Plants that had experienced water stress, so this is important to think about. In my greenhouse, spider mites attack both plants which soil dries frequently or are not under strong artificial light.

A plant stressed because it's not getting enough light, to grow quickly, will lose its battle against the spider mites.

Washing your plants with water containing rosemary and peppermint oil (less than 1%), or with compost tea or some soap, helps more than just water, but none of them is a miracle fix.

Actually the washing/watering is more important than anything that might kill the mites.

Or moving them to a cooler and moist location.

Which families of species are affected:
Chenopodium-family: spinach, quinoa, amaranth, orach, these can be quickly destroyed by the mites. Sometimes not even the washing technique works.
Moringas: quickly destroyed by them, not even washing works.
Beans are strongly affected, but even though they can severely attacked, by washing them every couple of days, I am keeping them alive. Actually, it's not only beans, but the entire family (winged beans, broad beans, peas, groundnut, peanuts, mimosa, honey locust, etc)
Sea buckthorn, apples, avocado, citrus, eucalyptus trees, also other examples of seriously damaged plants in my greenhouse.

Zucchini and other cucurbits. If attention is not given, they can die under a spider mite attack. But gourds seem more immune to them.
Parsley is also greatly affected. As well, as other carrot family plants. Even dill is affected.
Corn and other grasses: can be attacked, but usually not as bad as the ones listed above.
Tomatoes are only mildly affected, some varieties are more prone, like cool climate tomatoes.
Strawberries: are affected, but not as much as beans
Peppers it's the same, they affect more water stressed plants, and it's not as devastating as with the beans. Some of the chili types can be more affected.

Turmeric is also affected to a less degree. Tagete and marigolds attract them, so don't think of them as companion plants, as they will call the spider mites to their surroundings.

Even most herbs can be seriously damaged by spider mites, but not as prone as the plants listed above. Nothing seems to deter them.

Most brassicas seem rather immune to them, as well as as garlic/onion family species. My neem plant is also unaffected.

For me they seem the worst pest ever.

I will try garlic and neem as my next strategy.

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