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With summer comes hot and dry weather in the southeast. Many insect pests and mite species thrive in the hot weather. In many parts of the south east, spider mites can be a major nuisance throughout the crop production season whether it is open field crop or under high tunnels. Spider mites can cause direct crop injury and produce contamination, so timely detection and reduction are critical for producers. Here is some critical basic information about spider mites.
Mites are not insects. The most common species of mites in Alabama and adjoining states is the twospotted spider mite that is easily identifiable from the two spots on their oval body. Mites look like dust particles that move - use a magnifying lens when scouting for mites! Typically, producers will find spider mites along with numerous eggs under the webbing on lower surface of leaves. Twospotted spider mites have a very wide host range from row crops to horticultural plants. Russet mites are smaller than the twospotted spider mites and have elongate bodies. Infestations seem to start from lower leaves and these mites have a restricted host range.
Extension Entomologist, ACES
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