Because spider mites are so tiny, the easiest way to diagnose infestation is to take a twig sample from your conifer and beat it against a white piece of paper; the spider mites will appear as moving brown specks on the paper. Spider mites create webbing at the base of needles and branches.
Needles will become mottled in color. This will progress into needle discoloration and in severe infestations, needle loss.
Our botanically based Eco-Mite Plus natural insecticide is the best treatment for mites. Additionally, a properly timed injection of ACE-jet can significantly reduce or eliminate the existing population of mites on the tree. ACE-jet can be mixed with MIN-jet Iron for a pesticide/fertilizer injection.
ACE-jet should be applied at the first sign of mite feeding.
Since spider mites prefer hot and dry conditions, and infestation usually becomes a severe issue in the summer months. We recommend a program of monitoring environmental conditions during the summer months: during periods of summer stress, inspect trees for building mite infestations, which are particularly injurious to conifers. In other words, keep one eye on the trees and another eye on the weather.
Treatment with ACE-jet will quickly kill the mites present. However, ACE-jet has limited residual value and may require more than one application to protect against re-infestation.
Main photo taken by Rayanne Lehman, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
Mite infestation on spruce 1 taken by USDA Forest Service – Region 4 – Intermountain Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Mite infestation on spruce 2 and 3 taken by John A. Weidhass, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, www.forestryimages.org.