healthy garden spider mites?

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Category: Healthy Gardens - Red Spider Mites Written by Patty Avey - Chief Editor - SmartLivingNews.com
RED SPIDER MITES
The red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) sometimes called the two-spotted mite, glasshouse red spider mite or red mite is a tiny (.65mm), crawling, wingless insect that cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be seen with a magnifying glass. These mites feed on a wide spectrum of plants such as cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, beans, sweet corn, peas, roses, carnations, orchids, chrysanthemums, other flowers, and many common weeds.
Damage is done to the plant as the mite punctures the leaf cell and sucks out the life giving sap, leaving the cells to collapse and die. The damaged leaves become speckled with yellow dots rendering an unhealthy dusty, dry appearance. In severe cases, all the chlorophyll will be sucked out causing the leaves to wither and fall off. Red spider mites allowed to proliferate will create a web which will form around the leaves or the entire plant causing loss of vitality to the plant and may cause premature death to the plant. This webbing around plants also allows the mites to move from plant to plant causing further damage.
The red spider mite breeds in hot and dry places. The red spider mite is especially prolific in greenhouses because it thrives and multiplies rapidly in the heat. A female red spider mite in an environment of 80 degrees is capable of producing 13,000,000 offspring in a month's period. At the end of the growing season and the onset of winter, all mites with the exception of the female die. The surviving females cluster together for the winter in straw mulch, dead leaves, dry soil, and in cracks and crevices in trees.
Colonies of mites are found mostly on the underside of the leaf often concealed by webbing Leaves mottled with yellow dots, drying out and often falling off plant Fine, silk like webbing over drying leaves or over entire plant
Red spider mites hate cold water, spray them with water that is between 32 degrees fahrenheit and 41 degrees fahrenheit Red spider mites do not like moist areas, so keep the area around your plants moist
LINKS TO RESEARCH SITES FOR FURTHER READING http://www.bonsaigarden.net/ftspidermite.asp
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Thank you so much! I'm just in the middle of a spider mite war. So far they've claimed my gardenia, Butterfly amaryllis, panda grass and a pot of fuschia. The battle still wages on for my husband's bonsai elm.
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Very useful! But they're not insects, surely?
Monique in TX
Ned Senft wrote:

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No, mites are not insects they have 8 legs (not 6 as for insects) and are related to ticks, spiders and scorpions.
David

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