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Summary: Different spider mites are active at different times during the year. The twospotted spider mite is a warm season mite, while the spruce spider mite is a common cool season mite.

A reader asks: How do I get rid of spider mites around my house?

Dear Reader: There are so many variables concerning spider mites that it can become confusing. I'll try to keep this as simple as possible. In that you have written me your question during the month of July narrows our search down to warm weather spider mites. The two spotted spider mites do best in dry, hot summer weather. So, let's go from there.

The two spotted spider mite has been found on over 180 host plants including ornamental plants, house plants and weeds. The females become active in April and May where they can be found on the undersides of leaves of various plants. Each female can lay over 100 eggs and, depending upon temperature, these eggs can mature within five to twenty days.

***image2***The two spotted mite prefers hot, dry weather. In the summer, they are white with two greenish spots, but over-wintering females usually turn reddish-orange and are often mistaken for other mite species.

Early detection before damage is noticed is important. The easiest way to determine if your plants or shrubs are infested is by taking a piece of white paper or cardboard and striking some plant foliage on to the surface of the paper. If you have mites you will see them walking around on the paper. If you can count ten or more mites per sample, you may need to consider some type of control.

Here are a few suggestions for control. Use a garden hose with a nozzle that has a forceful jet of water. Wash off the mites once or twice a week.
Check all plant or shrub purchases before planting to make sure there are no hidden mites. Look closely at the underside of leaves.

Insecticidal oils and soaps are common products that will kill mites and their eggs. These products work by contact, so be sure to thoroughly spray the entire plant surface.

If you are into high powered controls you might consider treating with a miticide like Orthene or Cygon. There are many other products, but they are only available to licensed pest or lawn professionals. Be sure to carefully read the label. Your specific insect must be listed on the label, otherwise you will be wasting your time and money.

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