Removal of Two Spotted Mites from your lawn

Removal of Two Spotted Mites from your lawn

Two Spotted MitesMites are tiny creatures, in some cases visible only through a magnifying hand lens or microscope.

It’s usually the damage large numbers of Mites cause by piercing and sucking on leaves, stems, flowers and fruit that alerts us to their presence.

If you keep a close eye on what’s happening in your garden, you’ll be more likely to see this damage early and have a better chance of controlling an outbreak.

Left unchecked, Mites breed quickly and it can take only a matter of days for their population to explode and spread widely.

There are thousands of species of Mites in Australia, but Two Spotted Mites – also known as Spider Mites – are among the most troublesome for gardeners and lawns.

Two Spotted Mites don’t usually cause much damage to turf, but can use it as a host before invading garden beds which is where the real trouble happens.

What to look for

Damage from Two Spotted Mites appears as tiny yellowish spots on the top of leaves where the mites have sucked sap from underneath.

They will attack fruiting plants, ornamentals, vegetables, grasses and can breed in Broadleaf Weeds, especially when conditions are hot and dry.

Two Spotted Mites prefer to feed on young shoots and will move up a plant as new growth becomes available. This can cause distortion of flowers and growing tips and leave plants looking sunburnt or drought affected.

Investigate any plant with curled leaves or showing a web of fine threads or silvering on leaves or fruit.

If you suspect the presence of Two Spotted Mites, hold a piece of white paper under a leaf and tap it – then, look for moving spots on the paper.

You might need to use a magnifying glass to see the adults, which are up to 0.5mm long, yellowish-green in colour, with eight legs and a large dark spot on each side of the abdomen. 

Two Spotted Mites can change to a reddish-orange colour in cooler conditions. 

How to treat and kill Two Spotted Mites

There is usually only one way of controlling Two Spotted Mites: spraying with either a miticide or a less toxic solution.

Chemical control of Two Spotted Mites

Products containing sulphur can be used every seven days for three weeks, if needed. 

To prevent Mites from developing resistance, after three applications switch to another type of miticide containing a different active ingredient, such as chlorantraniliprole.

Be aware that most miticides are non-discriminatory and will also wipe out beneficial Predatory Insects.

Natural control of Two Spotted Mites

There are several non-toxic soap-based sprays made from natural vegetable oils that can be used for Two Spotted Mite control. 

Apply sprays in the early morning or late evening and repeat every five to seven days or as needed. 

Make sure temperatures are not over 30 degrees Celsius and plants are not under stress.

Pyrethrin sprays offer an organic means of tackling Two Spotted Mites by disrupting their nervous system.

Neem Oil extract applied as a foliar spray also is effective. Used properly it is safe for humans and does not target beneficial insects such as Bees, Butterflies and Ladybugs.

Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use. 

How to prevent Two Spotted Mites in your lawn

A healthy lawn is better equipped to quickly recover from mild pest infestations. Help your lawn recover by watering and feeding appropriately and avoid causing stress to your lawn by mowing it too short.

Encouraging beneficial insects, such as Parasitic Wasps, Flies and Predatory Mites, can help keep Two Spotted Mites under control. 

Since Broadleaf Weeds can offer an attractive habitat, make sure you stay on top of them to reduce opportunities for an outbreak of Two Spotted Mites to spread across your garden.

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