- Worldwide distribution. In tropics and sub-tropics. On cassava, okra, papaya, sweetpotato, tomato, eggplant, beans, taro, bele, cucumber, squash, other cucurbits, and ornamentals
- Common on under surface of leaves of taro, eggplant, bele, cassava and many others, especially when dry.
- Mites have needle-like mouthparts and suck sap from leaves causing white speckling on top surfaces. Later, leaves turn yellow and die early. Webs occur.
- Mites spread in wind and on plant parts.
- Natural enemies: predatory mites, ladybird beetles, lacewing larvae, pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs and predatory thrips.
- Cultural control: preserve natural enemies by not using insecticides; spray underside of leaves with water; mulch plants to preserve water in droughts.
- Chemical control: soap, white or horticultural oils, wettable sulphur; abamectin; alternatively, difocol or synthetic pyrethroids, but they will kill natural enemies.
Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides
Spider mites (024)
Photo 2. Mite infestations cause the leaves of taro to appear light green. Most damage is along the sides of the major veins; this can be seen from the upper surface, but most of the mites are on the under surface of the leaf.
Tetranychus species. The different species are difficult to tell apart; they need to be examined using a high power microscope. The two-spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae), also known as the red spider mite, is common in Pacific island countries, infesting over 200 species of plants. This fact sheet mostly concerns this species.
AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Fasulo TR (2009) Two-spotted spider mite. Featured Creatures. UF/IFAS. University of Florida. (http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/twospotted_mite.htm); and Spider mite. Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_mite); and DPI&RD (2014) Spider mite pests of Western Australia . Agriculture and Food. Government of Western Australia. (https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/plant-biosecurity/spider-mite-pests-western-australian-plants); and from Zhang L (undated) Biology and pest management of spider mites - ENT4. Department of Primary Industry and Resources. Northern Territory Government. (https://industry.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/228122/ent4-biology-pest-management-spider-mites.pdf). Photo 5 Mites field crops. DAF, Queensland government.
Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.