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Mites are small arthropods closely related to insects. They produce many generations per year and populations can grow exponentially in hot dry weather.
Spider mites are less than 1mm in size and vary in colour. They lay small, spherical, initially transparent eggs and many species spin silk webbing to help protect the colony from predators.
There are numerous species of mites, some may feed on leaves and others on fruit or seeds. Hundreds of types of plants are known to be affected by spider mites. In Grande Prairie, they are most likely to be found on spruce trees.
Feeding damage appears initially as small yellow dots. This stippling may continue to a point where the leaf or needle is so damaged that it dies.
Leaf or seed deformation may occur as either a natural plant response to feeding or as a result of substances the mite injects with its mouth parts.
Light infestations may be controlled by using a forceful stream of water to dislodge the mites. This may not be appropriate on small or delicate plants so applications of insecticidal soap every 7 - 10 days may be necessary.
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