Common Name: Aphid, Spider Mite, Leafminer, Leaf Miner, Spiderskin Moth

Scientific name: Cimex lectularius (Kunth) L. (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Formicidae).

Size: 0.5mm – 1mm.

Life cycle: Eggs are laid in the leaves of plants and hatch within 2 days after they have been laid. They feed on plant sap and then pupate inside the leaf cells where they remain until they die or fall off.

Usually it takes only one generation before new generations start to appear again.

Damage: Aphids feed on the leaves of plants causing them to wilt and brown. Leaves may turn yellowish, blacken and drop their hairs.

Other symptoms include stunted growth, wilting and death of young shoots. Some species cause damage even when not feeding, such as by damaging the roots. They can also spread diseases to other plants.

Control: Use clean seeds or plants to grow the plants. Isolate infested plants as this spreads the disease and pests.

Use floating row covers (sheets of netting) to exclude the pests from feeding on young plants. Release adult ladybird beetles and lacewing larvae which feed on aphids into the crop. Release aphid parasitoid wasps which are non-stinging and lay their eggs inside the body of aphids. The offspring from these eggs then kill the aphid and develop further inside.

Sources & references used in this article:

Abundance of phytoseiid mites on Vitis species: effects of leaf hairs, domatia, prey abundance and plant phylogeny by R Karban, G English-Loeb, MA Walker… – Experimental & applied …, 1995 – Springer

Host plant manipulation of natural enemies: leaf domatia protect beneficial mites from insect predators by AP Norton, G English-Loeb, E Belden – Oecologia, 2001 – Springer

Biotic interactions of mites, plants and leaf domatia by GQ Romero, WW Benson – Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 2005 – Elsevier

Mites injurious to economic plants by LR Jeppson, HH Keifer, EW Baker – 1975 – books.google.com

Leaves with domatia have more mites by DE Walter, DJ O’Dowd – Ecology, 1992 – JSTOR

Ecology of tetranychid mites and their natural enemies: a review: III. Biology, ecology, and pest status, and host-plant relations of tetranychids by M Van de Vrie, J McMurtry, C Huffaker – Hilgardia, 1972 – hilgardia.ucanr.edu

1.4. 9 Eriophyoid mites as vectors of plant pathogens by GN Oldfield, G Proeseler – World Crop Pests, 1996 – Elsevier

Host-plant specificity and specialization in eriophyoid mites and their importance for the use of eriophyoid mites as biocontrol agents of weeds by A Skoracka, L Smith, G Oldfield, M Cristofaro… – Eriophyoid Mites …, 2009 – Springer

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