Two-Spotted Spider Mite

Two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is a warm season mite, meaning it is active during the hot summer months.  Two-spotted spider mites feed on the underside of plant foliage, causing chlorotic stippling on the leaf surface.  This can lead to early leaf loss and stunted growth.  This mite has multiple generations per year, so populations can build very quickly and cause extreme damage, especially on plants already under stress.

Treatment Strategy

Spider mites are attracted to trees that are stressed, so the most effective treatment strategy is to support tree health with good cultural practices and help the tree with its defense system.

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Two-Spotted Spider Mite Treatment Option 1

Cultural Practices

Watering

Adequate water is a key factor in maintaining healthy trees.  A slow, deep watering event once every few weeks during dry conditions helps maintain soil moisture levels and minimizes the stress that invites spider mites.

Mulching

Mulch is very beneficial for all trees because it reduces competition with turf and moderates soil temperature and moisture levels. The addition of 3 inches of wood chips or shredded bark under the drip line can have a very beneficial effect by holding in moisture and promoting healthy fibrous roots.

Two-Spotted Spider Mite Treatment Option 2

Spray applications of a miticide – such as Lucid® or Forbid™ 4F – was required to get an infestation under control.  Lucid® applications can still be made in the spring; however, treating large trees can be a challenge.

Application typeFoliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Lucid®

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Protective gloves

• Protective glasses

Timing

Apply just after bud break or as activity is visible.

Two-Spotted Spider Mite Treatment Option 3

Spray applications of a miticide – such as Lucid® or Forbid™ 4F – is required to get an infestation under control. Forbid™ 4F applications can still be made in the spring; however, treating large trees can be a challenge.

Application typeFoliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

Forbid™ 4F

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Protective gloves

• Protective glasses

Timing

Apply just after bud break or as activity is visible.

Two-Spotted Spider Mite DIY Kit

Option 1

Application Type – Cultural Practices

DIY Equipment Needed: 

• Soaker hose (for watering)

• Mulch

• Rake and shovel

• Low nitrogen fertilizer

Option 2

Application type – Foliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Lucid®

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Protective gloves

• Protective glasses

Option 3

Application type – Foliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Forbid™ 4F

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Protective gloves

• Protective glasses

How Is It Spread?

Biology

Females emerge from the soil in spring and lay eggs in April and May.  Eggs hatch and mature within three weeks.  Five to ten generations of Tetranychus urticae may occur throughout a growing season, since reproduction continues until cool weather begins.  Adults overwinter in soil and leaf litter.

Susceptible Trees

Many deciduous trees and shrubs, including:  azalea, forsythia, silver maple, rhododendron, American linden and littleleaf linden, Siberian elm and American elm, fruit trees, ash, black locust, maple, redbud and tulip tree.

Symptoms

  • White to yellow chlorotic stippling on foliage during the hot summer.
  • Leaves may turn white or yellow.
  • Early leaf drop may occur under heavy Tetranychus urticae infestations.
  • Stunted growth.

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