The red spider

Particularities and main characteristics of the red spider

The red spider, which can easily infest vegetable gardens, gardens and terraces, is part of the Arachnida class, order Acarina, therefore it is to be considered a mite and not a spider which, although belonging to the same class, is classified in the order Aranae. It is a very small but voracious parasite that feeds on sap, less than a millimeter in size, varying in color from more or less dark red to yellow-orange, but which can also be of various shades of green. A female under favorable conditions can lay, generally on the underside of the leaves, about 100 yellow eggs. The ripening time for their hatching is variable in relation to the temperature of the environment, in just one week at 30 ° C, in about 5 weeks at 15 ° C, while below 12 ° C no multiplication occurs.

Symptoms of the presence of red spider mite colonies

The eggs of the spider mite do not suffer during periods of low temperature and can overwinter on plants or trees that have been infested and, as soon as the 12 ° C is exceeded, the colonies grow again. There are numerous and various kinds of plants that can be infected: garden crops such as fruit trees, ornamental plants, houseplants, greenhouse crops and even conifers. Adult spider mites move on thin, almost invisible webs along the leaves and stems of the plant, but their presence is difficult to notice in the initial period of infestation, given the small size of these parasites. It is necessary to monitor the plants by observing the appearance of leaves dotted with white or yellow spots, which then quickly turn yellow and dry.

Importance of prevention

The presence of the red spider can be confirmed by the identification of their very fine cobwebs, which can be highlighted with the naked eye by means of a widespread vaporization of the water on the plant. The fight against spider mites can begin with a series of preventive activities such as enriching the soil with nutrient-rich compost, limiting the intake of chemical nitrogen fertilizers and using mulch to keep the soil fresh. A method that has been successfully tested is the preventive treatment of plants with horsetail decoctions or nettle macerate. When the presence of parasites becomes massive, there is a strong acceleration of withering and the consequent defoliation of the plant.

The red spider: specific methods of struggle

It is necessary to act quickly to the invasion of the spider mite, if the prevention has not been successful. Spraying jets of cold water on the leaves and stems, possibly with non-calcareous water, could be useful in stopping the infestation, because they do not tolerate humidity. If the invasion continues, the affected parts must be cut and burned. One method used successfully is to spray a wettable sulfur solution, which is a good acaricide. In eco-sustainable cultivation, the use of Phytoselulus persimillis has been introduced, a non-dangerous mite and natural predator of the red spider spider, with similar size and red color, which devours eggs, larvae and adults. It can be used when temperatures are above 12 ° C.

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