Spider Mites are a type of microscopic insects which live in the soil and plant tissues. They cause damage to plants through their bites or stings. The most common species found on roses are the brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa). These spiders feed mainly on the leaves but they will also attack other parts of the plant such as stems, roots, flowers and fruit buds. Brown recluse spiders have been known to bite humans and pets. Other types of spider mites include the black widows (Latrodectus hesperus) and the yellowjackets (Agelenopsis invicta). Black widow spiders are usually found in homes while yellowjacket is a pest that causes problems when it attacks crops.
The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in North America. It’s venom contains a neurotoxin called chelicerase that causes severe pain and paralysis within minutes. The symptoms of being bitten by a brown recluse spider vary from mild discomfort to death.
There are several ways to kill these spiders: use gloves; wear long sleeves and pants; keep windows closed; cover doors with screens and so forth.
The adult yellowjacket is a common sight in North America. These are wasp-like insects that live in any location that is sheltered, dry and near or in proximity to food. Most of the time they build their nests in underground areas, under rocks and shrubs and so forth, but they build them above ground if no suitable locations are available.
Yellowjackets have a painful sting that can be harmful to people. The best way to get rid of them is to locate their nest and destroy it.
The adult black widow has an unmistakable appearance. It is shiny and black with a red hourglass on its belly. These spiders are also found in dark places such as boxes, woodpiles, rubbish piles and so forth.
The adult black widow spider has a neurotoxin in its venom that causes very unpleasant symptoms.
The good news is you don’t need to kill yourself trying to identify each and every species of spider mite. You can simply look for the signs of infestation and get rid of them.
These signs include:
Dried out and wilted leaves;
Wilting flowers or buds;
Dead spots on leaves;
Thin coating of fine webbing on upper and lower leaf surfaces;
Small yellow speck-like egg sacks;
clusters of small light or white colored spiderlings.
Use sharp objects to remove the egg sacks from leaves. Crush them or destroy them in any other way. Use strong spray to hit the webbing and remove it completely.
The best way to kill the spider mites is to use a special kind of insecticide. These are available in most stores and come in different forms such as sprays, liquids and granules. Follow the directions on the product label for correct usage.
Spider mites are among the most common pests that affect roses. While it is true they do not “bite” in the traditional sense, their feeding habits can cause just as much damage to your garden. Their saliva is toxic as they suck the life out of your plants and flowers.
You will be able to identify a spider mite infestation by looking for webbing on the undersides of your plant leaves. You may also notice tiny specks on the top side of the leaves that look like red or brown dust. These are the mites themselves.
You can get rid of spider mites by using a strong spray of water or insecticide. You can also introduce natural predators into your garden such as the European red mite or the three spot ladybird.
You can identify a black widow from the red hourglass on its abdomen. It is shiny and has a dark body with varying patterns.
The female black widow is notorious for its toxin that kills any insect that it bites hence the reason why people have died after being bitten by one. Black widows build their webs in secluded places such as woodpiles or abandoned corners.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a black widow, seek medical attention immediately. There is an anti-venom that can counteract the effects of the toxin.
Some telltale signs that you have a black widow infestation are:
You see a large spider with an hourglass on its belly in the bath or shower;
You see a large spider with an hourglass on its belly near your clothes;
You are finding brown recluse spiders in your shoes or clothes;
The skin around the bite has turned purple or dark blue and starts to resemble a skull.
The best way to get rid of black widows is through the use of insecticides. You can also get a cat to do the job for you, although it might present a danger to the feline if it decides to play with the spider rather than kill it.
You’ll be able to identify a brown recluse by the violin-like marking on its body. It is usually a light brown color and has long legs with sharp teeth.
Brown recluse spiders have venom that can cause tissue damage and even organ failure if left untreated. Bites can take months to heal and in some cases, they can be fatal.
Some telltale signs that you have brown recluse spiders in your home are:
You find discarded egg sacs in your basement or storage room;
You find a adult brown recluse near your clothing or shoes;
There is unexplained damage to household items without any signs of mice or rodent activity.
The best way to get rid of brown recluse spiders is to use traps or insecticides, although it might take some time before you see results.
The carpet beetle lays its eggs inside your carpets and other fabrics. The larvae then eats the fabric and grows before eventually becoming a full-grown insect.
If you see bumps on your carpet or clothing that look like coffee grounds, it is probably due to carpet beetles.
The best way to get rid of carpet beetles is through the use of traps or insecticides, although this might not be entirely effective if they have already eaten into your fabrics. You can also place your clothing in a plastic bag and heat it up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour to kill all the larvae.
You’ll be able to identify a cigarette beetle from its black, rectangular body with rounded edges and wings that do not extend beyond the body. The wing covers of a full-grown insect are similar in appearance to a carapace.
These types of beetles are attracted to dried foodstuff such as plant matter, pet food or even powdered drugs. They also have an affinity for starchy materials such as book bindings, adhesives, cotton, cardboard and carpets.
The best way to get rid of cigarette beetles is through the use of traps or insecticides. If you find that the infestation is too severe to handle, it would be best to hire a professional exterminator.
You’ll be able to identify fungus gnats by their black or gray bodies and slender legs. They also have dark stripes running across their wings. The larvae are yellow and maggot-like in appearance.
Fungus gnats typically breed in moist soil or potting mix which is found in plant pots. You might also find them near garbage cans or potted plants in your home or office building.
The larvae feed on fungi found in the top layer of moist dirt found in potted plants or flower pots. Adults do not eat at all and they only serve one purpose: breeding.
They are known to spread several types of harmful plant viruses. If you value the life of your plants, you should get rid of fungus gnats as soon as possible. The best way to do so is by using sticky traps, since insecticides may also kill your plants.
Sources & references used in this article:
The occurrence of pesticide resistance in red spider mite populations (Tetranychus urticae Koch), collected from wild plants in the glasshouse district of Aalsmeer, the … by AQ van Zon, WPJ Overmeer – Zeitschrift für Angewandte …, 1975 – Wiley Online Library
Predatory mites for biocontrol of the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum in cut roses by J Pijnakker, N García Victoria… – … Symposium on Rose …, 2005 – actahort.org
Development of biological methods for the control of Tetranychus urticae on tomatoes using Phytoseiulus persimilis by N French, WJ Parr, HJ Gould, JJ Williams… – Annals of Applied …, 1976 – Wiley Online Library