Houseplant Pests – Red Spider Mite

These tiny mites, which are only just visible to the naked eye, flourish in the warm, dry atmosphere of the modem home. They feed on the undersides of the leaves, causing a yellow speckling of the upper surface. Later the leaves lose their normal healthy colour, turning a sickly yellow and lling prematurely. The mites produce fine silky thread on the undersides of the leaves and, when infestations are severe, they spin webs from one part of the plant to another so that they can move on to new feeding areas. Infested plants become stunted and may even be killed by these pests. Some red spider mites leave the plants in September. One species, however, remains active throughout the year so one must be constantly on guard.

Plants attacked

Most types.

Control measures

Daily misting of the plants with water reduces the risk of attack since red spider mites thrive best in dry air. Attacks are best dealt with by repeat sprays with insecticides containing dimethoate, malathion or pirimiphos-methyl.