Red spider mites: Steps you should take this month to deter ‘most troublesome’ pests

Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests

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Red spider mites are a common sight in UK gardens and greenhouses. They begin feeding and laying eggs when the temperature rises in spring, before reproducing at a rapid rate once the hot air arrives between June and September.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), most mites are “small” and are “important parts of most ecosystems”, with some feeding on plants.

Unfortunately, this can be a nuisance for gardeners.

The RHS said: “Glasshouse red spider mite can be one of the most troublesome problems of greenhouse plants and houseplants.

“It can also feed on garden plants during summer.

“It is a sap-sucking mite that causes a mottled appearance, and in severe cases, leaf loss and plant death.”

Mites feed on a variety of houseplants and greenhouse plants, including ornamental and edible varieties.

Plants suffering from an outbreak may show a fine pale mottling on the upper leaf surface, and the underside of the leaves may have many tiny yellowish-green mites, white cast skins and egg shells.

Despite the common name, not all spider mites are red in colour, so you should also look out for yellowish-green critters, as well as the typical reddish-orange bugs.

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In heavy attacks, a fine silk webbing may be seen on the plants, and the leaves can lose most of their green colour and dry up or fall off.

As the warm weather continues this month, there are some steps you can take to deter red spider mites.

According to the RHS, spring is a key time to “take action” before a damaging infestation has time to develop.

How to deter red spider mites in a greenhouse

According to gardening experts from Thompson & Morgan: “You can damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.”

Damping down simply means pouring water onto the floor of your greenhouse.

Gardeners’ World advises doing this first thing in the morning.

The experts said: “Do this first thing in the morning – as the water evaporates, it will create enough humidity throughout the day to prevent your plants from suffering heat stress.”

Red spider mites prefer a dry environment, so the water should keep them at bay.

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How to deter red spider mites in a greenhouse

According to gardening experts from Thompson & Morgan: “You can damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.”

Damping down simply means pouring water onto the floor of your greenhouse.

Gardeners’ World advises doing this first thing in the morning.

The experts said: “Do this first thing in the morning – as the water evaporates, it will create enough humidity throughout the day to prevent your plants from suffering heat stress.”

Red spider mites prefer a dry environment, so the water should keep them at bay.

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