Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Tomato red spider mite (477)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In Australia, New Zealand, but NOT in Pacific island countries.
  • Serious pest, mainly Solanaceae. White speckling of leaves; later, as populations increase, webbing on undersides and leaves turn yellowish then brown and fall. Females about 0.5mm, oval, orange-red; males smaller.
  • Spread: carried on wind, water, clothing and tools, and via domestic and international trade in plants. When food depleted, mites congregate at tops of plants awaiting dispersal.
  • Biosecurity: quarantines for trade in fresh fruit and living plants.
  • Natural enemies: ladybird beetles, lacewing larvae, pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs, and predatory thrips.
  • Cultural control: weed, especially potato family; check nursery plants before replanting out; avoid water-stressed plants; use mulches; avoid planting next to mite-infested crops or planting downwind from those infested; plough in or collect and burn debris after harvest.
  • Chemical control: (i) use soap, white or horticultural oils; (ii) sulphur; or (iii) abamectin. Avoid organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids.
Common Name

Tomato red spider mite

Scientific Name

Tetranychus evansi; previously known as Tetranychus takafujii. Note, it is similar to the two spotted mite, Tetranychus urticae (see Fact Sheet no. 024).

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Tomato red spider mite (2019) Business Queensland. Queensland Government. (,legs%20and%20insects%20have%206); and Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity (2018) Tomato red spider mite. Department of Primary Industries, NSW, Australia. (; and Migeon A, Dorkfeld F (2020) Spider Mites Web: a comprehensive database for the Tetranychidae. (; and from Maulana T, et al. (2016) Red spider mite on tomato. Pest management decision guide: green and yellow list. CABI Plantwise. ( Photos 2-7 Alain Migeon INRA, UMR CBGP (INRA/IRD/Cirad/Montpellier SupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988, Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France. Photos 1&8 Ray & Elma Kearney The dreaded Red Spider Mite - Tetranychus evansi - in Sydney and what it means to Biosecurity and NSW Dept. Primary Industry. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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