Not many individuals are joyful to discover a spider net of their house, however what occurs whenever you see one on an indoor plant? You is likely to be shocked these webs aren’t made by spiders however by a fellow arachnid known as the spider mite.
So when you have a mite downside, a number of pure spider mite predators are joyful that can assist you do away with them.
There are roughly 1,200 species of spider mites within the Tetranychidae household. Nevertheless, the best-known species is probably two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), also referred to as the purple spider mite).
These pests have zero curiosity in catching different issues, and so they’re additionally one of many extra devastating piercing bugs to infest vegetation.
The excellent news is you don’t should resort to chemical substances when confronted with this tiny purple menace, as predation is certainly one of Mom Nature’s built-in defenses towards any species turning into too crowded.
Spider Mites 101
Grownup spider mites are tiny, measuring round .04″ inches lengthy, and feed by piercing a plant and ingesting its sap.
As with many arachnids, they will spin silken webbing, which they use to create bridges between components of the plant (and generally close by vegetation).
Grownup spider mite females can lay as much as 20 eggs per day, taking as little as three days to hatch beneath optimum circumstances.
As soon as hatched, the ensuing nymphs can change into sexually mature in solely 5 days and dwell for so long as 4 weeks.
Because of this, it doesn’t take lengthy for a large inhabitants explosion to happen.
Even worse, spider mites have been identified to make use of their silk to infest close by vegetation, which means there’s no such factor as an unexposed plant if it’s inside a number of ft of an contaminated one.
There might be a whole lot and even hundreds of spider mites per plant, so whereas one is of little concern, a full colony can kill even a robust plant.
Their speedy reproductive price additionally means they will rapidly construct up a resistance to pesticides, making pure cures the very best answer.
Pure Spider Mite Predators
The next pure predators prey on spider mites (and different pests) with out harming the infested plant.
However earlier than we get into the hunter, let’s evaluation why the prey is such a giant downside.
Referred to as a whirligig mite, this predatory mite species has change into a necessary ally within the battle to regulate spider mites and plenty of different widespread pests.
Whether or not it’s a crop plant (particularly apple bushes) or a decorative, introducing a bunch of those mites will instantly unfold out among the many leaves and even into close by vegetation.
A single nymph or grownup mite can eat as many as 100 preys per day.
They’re a cosmopolitan species (which means they’re discovered worldwide), so that they’ve rapidly change into a key organic management agent.
You won’t need these guys in your potted vegetation, however they’re unimaginable allies for a backyard, greenhouse, orchard.
That is one other member of the Phytoseiidae household that’s nicely tailored to be used with orchard and berry vegetation.
It has the curious behavior of adjusting colours based mostly on its prey and the plant.
It turns into blotchy inexperienced when feeding on Tetranychus urticae on cane berries, gold if consuming Tetranychus urticae on strawberries, or purple if consuming the European purple mite (Panonychus ulmi).
In contrast to Phytoseiulus persimilis, additionally they have one other benefit: they feed on different arthropods and pollen, permitting them to proceed populating vegetation as soon as the spider mites are eradicated.
A single feminine can lay between 1 and 5 eggs per day, leading to as many as 60 throughout a lifespan starting from 14 to 62 days lengthy.
They don’t eat spider mites within the earliest levels of life, however by the point they attain maturity, a single feminine mite can eat between 2 and 16 spider mites per day.
Of the Phytoseiidae household, one of the crucial beloved species is Phytoseiulus persimilis, which completely loves feasting on purple spider mites.
One among these predatory mites can eat 5 grownup spider mites or 20 eggs in a single day!
As they like a humidity of 60% p.c or greater and hotter temperatures, P. persimilis generally finds itself employed in greenhouses.
Utilizing P. persimilis exterior of a greenhouse could also be a bit tougher to maintain them going.
Temperature-wise, they’re lively in temperatures from 55 to 105° levels Fahrenheit and at their finest within the 70° to 85° levels Fahrenheit vary.
50° levels Fahrenheit is the minimal they will tolerate, with something under that resulting in demise.
A single feminine lays solely 2 to three eggs per day, as much as round 54 eggs in her lifetime.
P. persimilis has an approximate lifespan of 30-36 days, which means you will get a good inhabitants with a bit TLC.
Nevertheless, when dealing with a big spider mite infestation or poor circumstances, it could be essential to reintroduce this predator each 7 to 10 days.
This genus of a ladybird beetle (household Coccinellidae) is one other well-known predator of spider mites.
Two of the extra well-known species are Stethorus punctillum and Stethorus picipes (which have the nickname “spider mite destroyer” resulting from their effectivity).
Members of this genus can devour a staggering 75 grownup spider mites per day, making them one of the crucial priceless allies in controlling spider mite populations.
Whereas solely dwelling 1 to 2 months, a single feminine can lay 100 to 200 eggs in her lifetime, which she’ll lay one by one all through the spider mite colony.
Different Nice Spider Mite Predators
After all, the species we’ve lined are simply the tip of the iceberg when coping with this agricultural pest.
A number of smaller insectivore birds will fortunately feed on spider mites, and each ladybugs and parasitic wasps are identified to feast on these tiny terrors.
For spider mites, a backyard that welcomes useful bugs, birds, and different small creatures even have a excessive predation danger.
So earlier than going out and investing in a chemical insecticide (or ten), attempt interesting to Mom Nature herself for an efficient and environment friendly answer within the type of pure spider mite predators.