University of Maryland Extension

Spider Mites - Flowers and Groundcovers

spider mite damage

Back to Common Problems of Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers, Perennials, and Vines

Publication: (PDF) HG 13 Spider Mites

Spider mites are very tiny plant pests that are related to spiders. They feed only on plants. The colors may be reddish or light green with two dark spots. They are about the size of a period on a page. Spider mites can be a problem all year indoors and have a very broad host range. Spider mites suck the chlorophyll from leaves which results in fine white spots or stipples on the leaves. Heavy feeding causes yellowing, browning and eventual death of leaves. Some spider mite species produce webbing that covers the leaves and stems when populations are high. The two-spotted spider mite feeds mainly on the undersides of the leaves. Spider mites are generally a problem during the warm summer months.

Management: If mites become a problem, periodically wash down the plants with a strong spray of water and be sure to get good coverage of the lower leaf surfaces. When control is needed, consider releasing predatory mites, which are available commercially. Go to the links section for sources of beneficial insects in North America. Insecticidal soap or a horticultural oil may be used to control mites on groundcovers. Make sure the plant is on the label to prevent any damage from the spray. Also, spray early in the morning when the temperatures are cool and the plants have had an opportunity to rehydrate from the day before. Do not spray plants that have sustained heavy mite damage as they may be further damaged by the spray application.

Photo Gallery

spider mites close-up

Close-up of spider mites and cast skins

spider mite damage on ivy

Spider mite damage on ivy

heavy mite damage to ivy

Heavy mite damage to ivy

mite dmage on rudbeckia

Mite damage on rudbeckia

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