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Pest Mites and Mite Predators

Names link to more information on identification, management, or biology.

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Pest mites
Adult Pacific spider mite, Tetranychus pacificus.
Spider mite adult
Identification tip: During the season the color ranges from yellow to green to black depending on age and host food. All have dark spots. Adult males do not overwinter and are smaller than females.
Twospotted spider mite eggs.
Spider mite eggs
Identification tip: Eggs are minute, round and translucent, with color ranging from a light tan tone to light yellow. They are laid on leaf surfaces.
Feeding by webspinning mites first appears as leaf stippling.
Leaf stippling damage caused by spider mites
Identification tip: Feeding by webspinning spider mites appears as a yellow stippling or spotting of tiny areas on the leaf surface, that give it a "sanded" worn appearance.
Natural enemies of mites
Western predatory mite attacking spider mite egg.
Western predatory mite
Identification tip: Western predatory mites are about the size of twospotted spider mites, but lack spots, range in color from cream to amber red (depending on what they just recently consumed), and are shinier and more pear-shaped than their prey. Predatory mites are more active than pest mites.
Adult sixspotted thrips.
Predatory thrips: Six-spotted thrips
Identification tip: Thrips are tiny, 2 to 3 mm (less than 1/8 inch) in length, slender insects with long fringes on the margins of their wings. Adults can be distinguished from other species by the three dark spots on each wing cover of the mostly pale-yellow adult. Nymphs are translucent white to yellow and difficult to discern from other thrips species.

Larva of spider mite destroyer.
Predator: Stethorus larvae
Identification tip: Larvae are dull brown or black and have a velvety appearance.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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