With summer fully upon us, the weather is warm enough to allow a spider mite
explosion in the garden. Spider mites are one of the most common garden pests
, and they reproduce quickly in hot weather.
, spider mites are sap-sucking insects. They suck juice out of the plants, resulting in wilting and yellow leaves. Recognize spider mite infestation by these symptoms accompanied by dusty webbing on the backsides of leaves.
Spider mites are tiny--less than 1/50 of an inch long, and you will need a magnifying glass to actually see them. If you look on the backs of leaves, they will move and you may be able to see a small army of black, white or red dots spreading out. Under magnification, they look much like spiders with oval bodies, eight legs and the ability to spin a web-like material. They reproduce rapidly and can infest by the thousands. During hot weather, their population can double every week.
Plants that don't receive enough water
are more susceptible to true damage from spider mites. Keep plants adequately watered and healthy. If you find spider mites on your garden plants, spray them off the plant with a hose every few days. For heavier infestations, use a water, cooking oil and soap solution sprayed directly on the infested areas of the plant. Beneficial insects
can also help eliminate spider mites
. Praying mantis, ladybugs, green lacewing and pirate bugs are all natural predators.