Knowing and fighting the red spider

A few days ago I was cleaning the plants on my balcony when I noticed that one of them, which always grows without problems, was more droopy and withered. I began to study it and it was then that I noticed a thin web on the underside of the leaves . That was the indicator of the presence of one of the most common plant pests: the spider mite.

The curious thing about the red spider is that it is a tiny enemy that cannot be seen with the naked eye but only when it is present in large numbers. A single red spider measures just half a millimeter so it goes unnoticed.


  • 1 The essentials of the spider mite
  • 2 Characteristics of the pest

The essentials of the spider mite

Red spider

Popularly known as red spider, we are actually talking about Tetranichus urticae, a mite that is not red but changes color , turning greenish during the summer and turning reddish as temperatures drop.

As we were talking about, it is not a large spider but it lives in groups or colonies and it is possible to notice its presence because together they build a kind of web or web on the underside of the leaves whose function is to hide from predators although it also facilitates the movement of the mite through the plant.

It is a dangerous pest not so much because of its damage itself but because it is a polyphagous mite , that is, it can attack almost any plant. As for the consequences, the red spider can be noticed by the yellow spots that are observed on the upper side of the leaves. They can be seen with the naked eye, much like the famous fabric they build. In more serious cases, the leaf dries up or it can affect the plant as a whole, stopping its growth.

Pest Characteristics

Tetranychus urticae

Although the red spider can appear all year round , it is more frequent during the spring or autumn, that is, with temperatures between 12 and 30 degrees Celsius. The heat favors their reproduction.

One of the reasons for its rapid proliferation is reproduction. The red spider reproduces both by mating between male and female, the result of which is a series of eggs that give rise to females; as in an asexual way, that is to say when the females have males without laying eggs. This adds a rapid multiplication of the mite because you have to know that each female has 5 eggs per day and can live up to 28 days.

To combat the red spider it is possible to apply sulfur, sprinkling it on the plant, avoiding excess fertilizer and eliminating the affected plants. It is also recommended to practice crop rotation and if you detect the presence of the pest you can apply a home remedy by making a mixture of 2 cloves of garlic, 2 chillies and half an onion. After straining it, you have to dilute the mixture in 3 liters of water and apply it to the underside of the leaves.

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