Spider mites are one of the most common pests in landscapes and gardens and feed on many fruit trees, vines, berries, vegetables, and ornamental plants. These tiny mites are just large enough to be seen with the naked eye, but may just look like tiny, moving dots.
Spider mites cause damage by sucking cell fluids from plant leaves. A small number of mites usually isn’t a reason for concern, but plants can sustain heavy damage if populations are high and continue unchecked. You may notice a stippling of light or yellowish spots on affected leaves and often the webbing of mites can be seen on leaves and stems.
Spider mites reproduce rapidly in hot, dry weather. Keeping plants well watered is a good deterrent. There are also many natural enemies, such as lacewing larvae and some lady beetles that help to keep mite populations under control. Be careful when using broad spectrum insecticides as these will kill any beneficial insects as well as the spider mites. Simply spraying plant leaves with a blast of water, taking care to spray the undersides as well, can help to reduce mite populations and insecticidal soaps are a good choice when dealing with spider mites.