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Mites and spider mites are driving you crazy?!

Mites are tiny spiders less than 1mm long. There are several types. Eriophyes (sap-sucking mites), with the help of a chemical, cause the tissues to clump together around their location on the plant. Tarsonemes deform the stems by attacking the tips and flower buds. Mites belonging to the tarsonemid family (Tarsonemidae) show a greater diversity of feeding habits than any other family of mites. Some species feed on fungi, algae, plants, as well as insects and mites. Those that live on plants can cause serious damage!

Red spider mites, Tetranychus urticae, are formidable little pests that can parasitize your indoor plants. They are not insects: spider mites belong to the Arachnida family, and more precisely to the order Acariens. Spider mites cause fine, light mottling of foliage. They weave a fine web around the plant and feed on the tissues of the plant and especially its sap. Spider mites feed on leaf cells, which particularly damages chlorophyll and reduces the photosynthetic capacity of plants, which is essential for their survival. The leaves thus injured appear pecked with tiny pale spots giving the foliage a dull appearance. Anyone with a sharp eye will see the beginnings of infestation by these discolorations of the foliage.

During heavy infestations, the leaves often covered with "spider mite webs" can lead to the death of the plant in the more or less long term. These parasites are hardly visible to the naked eye, because adult individuals are less than a millimeter in size! Their colors vary according to the plant from which they suck the sap: pale green or dark green, yellow, orange, red, dark brown.

The development cycle of tarsonemid mites includes egg, larva and adult stages. Larvae have three pairs of legs, adults have four pairs. The last pair of legs of males and females is different from the others and is not used for movement. The larvae remain in their larval cuticle for one to two days before emerging. This stage is often referred to as a fourth stage called a pupa, false pupa, or inactive nymph. The males use their four pairs of legs to transport the young female pharates (inactive nymphs) which are still in their larval cuticle. Mating takes place as soon as the adult female emerges from her larval cuticle. Tarsonemid mites have no eyes.

Female mites lay their eggs mainly on the underside of the leaf. The elongated oval-shaped eggs are firmly held on the surface and are rather large (about 0.07 mm) compared to the active stages. They are transparent and dotted with white dots. The mite larva resembles the adult insect, but is slightly smaller and has only three pairs of legs.