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Twospotted Spider Mite

Sonya Broughton, Department of Agriculture & Food Western Australia, Bugwood.org
All mites have needle-like piercing-sucking mouthparts. Spider mites feed by penetrating the plant tissue with their mouthparts and are found primarily on the underside of the leaf. All spider mites spin fine strands of webbing on the host plant — hence their name. The twospotted spider mite prefers the hot, dry weather of the summer and fall months, but may occur anytime during the year. Overwintering females hibernate in ground litter or under the bark of trees or shrubs.
The mites feeding causes graying or yellowing of the leaves. Necrotic spots occur in the advanced stages of leaf damage. Mite damage to the open flower causes a browning and withering of the petals that resembles spray burn.
When twospotted spider mites remove the sap, the mesophyll tissue collapses and a small chlorotic spot forms at each feeding site. It is estimated that 18 to 22 cells are destroyed per minute. Continued feeding causes a stippled-bleached effect and later, the leaves turn yellow, gray or bronze. Complete defoliation may occur if the mites are not controlled.
Spider mites are the most common mites attacking woody plants and the twospotted spider mite is considered to be one of the most economically important spider mites. This mite has been reported infesting over 200 species of plants.
Some of the more common ornamental plants attacked include arborvitae, azalea, camellia, citrus, evergreens, hollies, ligustrum, pittosporum, pyracantha, rose, and viburnum. The mite is also a pest of trees and may damage maple, elm, redbud and has been reported on ash black locust and popular. It has been occasionally found on other trees (Johnson 1991).
Fruit crops attacked include blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
A number of vegetable crops such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumber are also subject to twospotted spider mite infestations and damage.
The twospotted spider mite is also a serious pest in greenhouses as well as on field grown chrysanthemums.

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