Red spiders are tiny creatures that are commonly found in gardens and indoor plants. They belong to the Tetranychidae family of mites and are infamous for their ability to damage plants. Although they are called ‘red spiders,’ they can range in color from yellow to green. In this article, we’ll learn about the five things you should know about red spiders.
What Do Red Spiders Look Like?
Red spiders are small but visible to the naked eye. They are usually 0.5 mm to 1 mm in length and are oval-shaped with eight legs. As their name implies, they are usually red or reddish-brown, but can also be yellow, green or brown. Red spider mites are nearly invisible to the naked eye until they gather in large numbers on a plant, giving the plant a slightly yellowed or grayish cast.
Life Cycle of Red Spiders
Red spiders have a short life cycle which ranges from 5-20 days, depending on the temperature and humidity. They usually hatch in the springtime, and throughout the summer, as the temperature rises they multiply rapidly. They are most active in the late spring and early summer when the weather is warm and dry.
Where Do Red Spiders Live?
Red spiders usually live and breed on the underside of leaves. They are commonly found in outdoor gardens, as well as indoor plants. Vegetable gardens, roses, fruit trees, houseplants and ornamental bedding plants are common targets of red spiders. They prefer warm and dry environments, making them especially common in hot and arid regions.
What Do Red Spiders Eat?
Red spiders are sap-sucking pests and feed by piercing the leaves of plants with their mouths and sucking out the plant’s juices. They can do considerable damage to plants in a short period of time. Some of the most common plants that red spiders feed on are roses, strawberries, beans, eggplants, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
How Do Red Spiders Affect Plants?
Red spiders can cause significant damage to plants in a short amount of time. As they feed, they damage the plant’s tissue and reduce its ability to photosynthesize. This can cause the plant to have a yellow and withered appearance, stunting its growth and production. Infestations can progress rapidly, wiping out entire plantings, and increasing the potential for secondary infections.
How to Identify Red Spider Infestations?
If you suspect you have an infestation of red spiders on your plants, you can look out for some telltale signs. These include:
- Yellow or discolored leaves
- Fine webbing on the leaves
- Tiny specks that move on the underside of the leaves (use a magnifying glass to see)
- Early leaf drop or leaf loss
How to Get Rid of Red Spiders?
Several methods have proven to be effective in controlling red spider infestations. Here are a few:
|Blast of Water||Spraying your plants with a right blast of water can help knock off red spider mites present on the leaves.|
|Soap and Water||A solution of soap and water can help kill red spider mites. Combine a tablespoon of liquid soap to one quart of water and spray the solution onto the infected plants.|
|Neem Oil||Neem oil is one of the safest and most effective treatments for red spider mites. Mix neem oil with water and put the solution in a spray bottle, then attack the infected plants.|
|Chemical Pesticides||Chemical pesticides such as acephate and malathion are effective in killing red spiders, but they are not environmentally friendly and should only be used as a last resort or in severe cases.|
Red spider mites are tiny, but they are destructive pests that can cause significant damage to your plants. If you think you have a red spider infestation, be sure to act quickly to protect your plants. Use natural methods to control the infestation first and save the use of pesticides if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Q. What do red spiders eat?
- A. They are sap-sucking pests and feed on the juices of plants.
- Q. How can I get rid of red spiders on my houseplants?
- A. Use any of the above mentioned natural remedies such as blast of water, soap and water, neem oil or use chemical pesticides as a last resort.
- Q. Are red spiders harmful to humans?
- A. No, they are not harmful to humans.