Red spider mite, often better described as two spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae)due to the small black dots on their backs, attack a wide variety of plants. They extract sap from plants and normally feed on the underside of leaves. The damage caused can be severe, infested leaves will turn yellow and plants can die completely. When the spider mite builds up they create threads or webbing, which they use to transport themselves either by air flow or on clothing as people brush past infested plants. Spider mites can also be transported when plants or plant material is moved.
Spider mites can reproduce very quickly at higher temperatures. At 25.c spider mite populations can double in less than three days. Warm and dry conditions favour spider mite development. The time when spider mites appear red is when they are entering or coming out of diapause, this is triggered by shorter day length, falling temperatures and lack of food. Diapause is when the mites find somewhere to hide and are dormant. During this phase they do not feed or reproduce and are not easily found or fed on by predatory mites. Once day lengths and temperatures rise, the spider mites come out of diapause/hibernation and start feeding and reproducing. If growing under artificial lights, spider mites can occur all year round.
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