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How can I control red spider mite (Phytoseiulus)?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 26 July 2013 08:43 AM

The red spider mite is a tiny sap-feeding mite and is usually only a problem where hot dry conditions exist. To reduce the risk of attack keep plants well watered and in warm sunny conditions spray pathways with water to increase the humidity.

The mites are just visible to the naked eye and live on the underside of leaves. The lower leaves are often attacked first. Eventually, the leaves become covered with webs which give the appearance of white fur. The mites extract cell sap and chlorophyll from the leaves, causing leaf wilting and and discolouration. A severe infestation shows as yellowing leaves which dry up and can cause the death of the plant.
 
There are chemicals available from garden centres to control red spider mite. In greenhouses there is the alternative of using biological control by introducing the phytoseiulus mite. An infestation of red  spider mite must be present on the crop before introduction and temperatures must remain between 16-25°C day and night. The cards containing the phytoseiulus are hung amongst the plants being grown in the greenhouse.

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