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Spider mites are often found on the undersides of leaves, and they are very hard to see with the naked eye as their bodies are 0.4 to 0.6 mm long ( about the size of a period at the end of this sentence). Spider mites are not actually insects but rather arachnids as they have 4 pairs of legs, a relative of spiders. They do not have wings and as such travel on foot and can easily hitch a ride from plant to plant by human hands touching plants.]
Each spider mite sucks plant fluid from foliage, and large infestations cause visible damage. At first, leaves show patterns of tiny spots. As feeding continues, the leaves turn yellowish or reddish and drop off. The mite activity is visible in the tight webs that are formed under leaves, twigs, and fruit. Damage is usually worse when compounded by water stress. Spider mites thrive in hot dry environments. A female lays six eggs a day, and over lifetime, it lays 100 or more eggs on the undersurface of foliage. Spider mite eggs are spherical and translucent becoming cream coloured before hatching.
It is important to understand the biology of the pest in order to control with a predator bug such as Phytoseiulus persimilis 1000. This predator is a bright reddish orange mite that feeds on the most common two spotted spider mite. The persimilis predator arrives as adults in a vermiculite mix and you treat your affected houseplants by tapping a bit of the vermiculite onto the surface of the leaf. The rate of release is 5 persimilis per 10 square feet. So one bottle should treat all houseplants in an area of approx 2000 sq ft.
You must place your order by Wednesdays at 3pm for pick up at the Greenhouse the following Wednesday. Please know that beneficial insects are perishable and should be introduced as quickly as possible to ensure the best efficacy. They do not store well.