Two-spotted mite

Two-spotted mites are tiny creatures (about the size of a full stop) that damage plants by feeding on the chlorophyll in the leaves. They are yellowish-green with 2 large dark spots on their back. In autumn they turn reddish-orange, hence their other common name, red spider. The first symptom that your plants are under attack is usually a white spotting on the surface of the leaves. In heavy infestations the mites remove nearly all the chlorophyll and the leaves turn yellow and drop off.  Mites secrete a very fine, silk-like webbing which protects the mites from enemies and contact with chemical sprays. Two-spotted mite feeds on a wide range of plants, particularly cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicums, beans, roses, orchids, strawberries, berry fruits and apple and peach trees.

Suggested Organic Strategies:

  • Common organic practices such as making compost, mulching the soil and avoiding chemical insecticides help to encourage predatory mites, a major predator of two-spotted mite.  A healthy garden will have a resident population of predatory mites to keep pest mites under control.

  • Try a high pressure hosing in the early morning, 3 days in a row.

  • An unlikely pest control device is a hand held vacuum cleaner! After vacuuming, tip the contents immediately into a plastic bag and place in the freezer for a few hours.

  • Keep your plants healthy by feeding, mulching and watering.