If you have ever seen more than one type of spider mite, you know they all have one thing in common: they are nasty. But two types are very similar in size and nastiness, which are especially common in almost every location where humans live: the red spider mite and the two-spotted spider mites.
The red spider mites are bright or dark red. They can sometimes appear to be orange, and they can sometimes be mistaken for an especially tiny tick.
The two-spotted spider mite is similar in size, but it is usually a light brown (sometimes bright, translucent green or yellow) color with two dark brown spots. The spots are about halfway between the head and the rear of the creature and do not touch its center line.
Is The Two Spotted Spider Mite And Red Spider Mite The Same?
These two types of spider mites are frequently seen together or in the same areas at different times, leading people to ask, “Is The Two Spotted Spider Mites and Red Spider Mites The Same?”
The answer is no. They are not the same species. However, because they share similar preferred environments, they will exhibit similar behavior, seek similar food, and can be dealt with similarly.
European Red Mite (Red Spider Mite – ERM)
The female ERM is usually dark or brick red with white spots at the end of its backside. In contrast, the male is thinner, lighter in color, and has a more angular abdomen.
ERM eggs are red, come in clusters, and are almost coin-shaped, flattened like a red blood cell. The eggs also have a long, thin stalk on one side, which lets the eggs cluster together.
ERMs survive winters by clustering their eggs on branches, twigs, and the roughened bark of certain fruit trees.
Hatching begins while the eggs are clutched tightly together. They grow pink as they move toward the completion of the hatching period, which is usually complete by the final week of spring.
Immature red spider mites move toward the open spaces of new leaves, where they feed and reproduce.
Two-Spotted Spider Mite (TSM)
The male TSM is pale yellow or pale to dark green in color, while the female is oval in shape.
During feeding, they exhibit a dark spot on both sides. These spots can grow over the lifetime of the mite to cover its body completely, though this change in the size of their spots does not always happen.
During the winter, female TSMs turn orange and hibernate under scales of bark or beneath trash items left on the ground.
TSM eggs are spherical and clear and become milky white as they progress toward hatching time.
Egg clusters appear mostly under the leaves of ground cover in orchards. After hatching in the late summer, they will migrate into fruit trees and feed on the underside of leaves.
Both the ERM and TSM can produce up to 10 generations each season.
Damage Caused By Mite Feeding Behavior
Both mites harm trees by consuming leaf tissue when they appear in sufficient numbers. This hinders the ability of the tree to absorb carbon dioxide and sunlight.
The greatest damage is usually caused in the early weeks of summer when trees produce fruit buds.
Large mite infestations can cause leaves to turn bronze color and trigger premature dropping of the leaves.
When TSM mites are present, there will usually be webbing underneath the leaves of fruit trees in the mid to late summer.
Managing European Red Mites and Two Spotted Mites
Both types of mites should be monitored and mitigated using the same strategies.
First, monitor the twigs’ bases and leaves’ undersides for the egg clusters. Then, in a large orchard, select 5 to 10 trees in the early season and inspect and around those trees using a hand-held magnifying glass.
As the growing season progresses, inspect the leaves of the trees that you are concerned about more than the base of twigs, branches, and the undersides of leaves and ground cover.
By July, you should examine middle-aged leaves more than any other location and search for mites on the move.
In hot and dry weather, these types of mites will tend to cluster together in the warmest parts of an orchard.
In most climates, a cluster of five mites is the action threshold, and in August, seven mites are the action threshold.
Therefore, if you spot clusters in these sized at these times, it indicates that action should be taken.
How To Remove ERM & TSM Spider Mites?
There are two primary ways to deal with excessive spider mite populations; biological and chemical.
Biological strategies include using predatory insects and natural chemicals that inhibit mite population growth, known as miticide.
All of the following insects will eat spider mites:
- Phytoseiulus Persimillis Californius
- Green lacewings
- Scale insects
- Predatory thrips
- Big-eyed bugs
When introducing predatory insects, it is recommended to release one predatory insect for every 10 mites. These ratios can be based on clusters of mites spotted during inspections, not actual mite populations.
Chemical strategies for mite mitigation include insecticide and repellent oils. As you apply any mite mitigation strategy, consult the manufacturer or supplier of the predatory insects or miticide chemical you intend to use.
Follow their instructions carefully to avoid damaging your trees or the local ecosystem. Also, consult the local and state government websites for regulations governing mite mitigation strategies to ensure you comply with local laws.