I had posted a Question re. my ailing Plum tree and included some photos which show the mite and the webbing. Since then, on investigation, I have discovered the culprit and thought you all may be interested…just incase any of your fruit trees ever show the signs of infestation. All fruit trees can suffer and these little blighters can move around by being blown in the wind…………………..
Two-Spotted Spider Mites (TSSM) Biology
TSSM is a pest of many crops. TSSM is pale green or straw-colored and easily distinguished from ERM by two dark spots on the back.
Spider mites are not insects but are more closely related to ticks and spiders.
Their common name is derived from their ability to produce silk, which most species spin on host plants. These mites construct a characteristic webbing on the undersurface of the leaves, strands of webbing are spun by the mites on the undersides of infested leaves.
Prolonged, heavy infestations cause yellowing or bronzing of the foliage and premature leaf drop similar to drought stress.
Females become active in the spring as temperatures warm, and they begin rapidly depositing eggs on the undersides of leaves. Eggs hatch in 4 to 5 days and the entire life cycle from egg to adult may require 1 to 3 weeks. A female mite lays 70-100 eggs.
The minute, spherical, translucent eggs, about 0.1 mm in diameter, are usually laid amongst webbing.
Nymphs (young stages) vary in coloration, but are normally pale yellow, pale green, or straw-coloured.
The first nymphal stage (larva) is six-legged, whereas the later protonymph and deutonymph stages are eight-legged.
The juices which the mites obtain from stressed plants are rich in nutrients and the mites multiply extremely quickly.
There are 3 to 5 generations each year.
TSSM overwinter as adults under bark or on weeds beneath the tree and often build up on broadleaf weeds, brambles and sucker growth beneath the tree in the spring.
Although TSSM can overwinter successfully on trees, large numbers often migrate into the tree canopy or overwinter as adult females in the soil.
The safest product to use which only kills nuisance insects when applied is INSECTICIDAL SOAP.
If you want something a little stronger, you should apply PERMETHRIN CONCENTRATE. This product will last 7-14 days providing a mild residual so that there is something left behind to kill off rogue mites which are missed with the first spraying. It is both odorless and very effective
on just about any pest and is probably the single most used insecticide on vegetable and fruit plants in the world.
12 AUGUST: I’m delighted to say my plum tree has remained healthy and is heavy with fruit.
- 11 Jun, 2010
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