Red spider mites

These are not, in fact, insects but are related to the spider. They have eight legs and are capable of spinning webs. Most of them are minute and are comparatively difficult to see, but because they normally occur in such vast quantities their collective action is readily apparent.

A typical sign of their presence is for a yellow mottling to appear on some leaves. This discoloration gradually turns a rusty brown and is followed by a greyish sheen of web formation.

It is in the propagating environment with its increased temperatures that populations of red spider mites can build up unchecked, and they can cause problems on plants as diverse as cucumber, cyclamen, dahlia and conifers.

Available methods of control are not always effective as the most useful materials are also dangerous to humans. The easiest system is simply to keep populations to a minimum by reducing the mites' hibernation Stage by routinely scrubbing down all propagating areas during the winter. However, outbreaks will occur, and spraying at regular intervals with chemicals containing dimetho-ate and malathion, or the use of Derris in liquid formulation, will reduce the infestation.

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