do birds eat spider mites

The Two Spotted Mite (Tetranychus urticae), more commonly known as the Red Spider Mite, can be a damaging pest to many crops and plants.

Spider Mites will often go unnoticed early in their development, and with increasing temperatures the pest population rapidly develops. These tiny mites feed on the plant sap and tissue, stunting and killing off plant growth.

Infestations of Spider Mite will generally result in leaves turning yellow, as the chlorophyll is removed from the leaf. The appearance of the plants is ruined with the yellowing of leaves, but more significantly, in severe cases the loss of chlorophyll can kill plants completely. In greater populations, Spider Mites will also produce webbing on the plants. These webs will contain huge numbers of the pest and are often used by the mites to move from plant to plant. This is achieved when the webs are blown around, or even when Spider Mites briefly attach themselves to the people working with the plants to hitch a ride!

Attempted control of Spider Mite with insecticides is problematic. Spider Mites are very good at building up resistance to insecticides over quite a short period of time, and physical acting products generally only kill the adults. This leaves eggs free to hatch and develop, which means regular application of is required to break the life cycle.

A more effective and environmentally friendly control method is with the use of Spider Mite natural predators. Predators will eat the entire Spider Mite life cycle, from egg to adult, and the Spider Mites cannot become resistant to them. They are safe and easy to apply, and mean no harmful chemical residues will be left on the plant, or in the environment.

Selecting the right predator to use, and knowing how to apply them, is critical to the success of your treatment. There are now several predator species available to growers and gardeners and well guide you on how to use and apply the top three.

Introduce Amblyseius californicus sachets as early as possible in the growing season. Each sachet will release hundreds of predators over a period of about 4 weeks. If Spider Mite populations are low, or not present, continue regular introductions throughout the growing season.

Always introduce Phytoseiulus persimilis predators if Spider Mite infestations are worsening or if there are high numbers of the pest. Ensure to introduce Phytoseiulus only when temperatures are above 15°C, and when Spider Mites are present. Keep repeating applications until the predators are easy to observe on the plants.

2. The Best Predator For Preventative Applications: Amblyseius californicus

In comparison to Phytoseiulus, Amblyseius californicus can be introduced at lower temperatures and is also an effective predator of spider mites. Additionally, the Californian mite can endure for an extended duration without the need for spider mites and can subsist on pollen. This allows them to be introduced beforehand, even before the appearance of Spider Mites. They are active in temperatures greater than 10°C and up to roughly 33°C.

Breeder sachets or bottles containing them are available for hanging on plants to release predators over a few weeks. They can be used in conjunction with Phytoseiulus to create a successful biocontrol program.

1. The Number One Predator: Phytoseiulus persimilis

When used under ideal circumstances, Phytoseiulus persimilis is the most efficient predator of spider mites. The predators come in shaker bottles and should be sprinkling your infested plants with them, especially in areas where spider mite activity is most prevalent.

Phytoseiulus reproduces swiftly on plants, laying eggs more quickly than spider mites, and they start feeding as soon as they are applied. Predators gladly move into dense webbing to feed, something that some other predators will not do, and they devour the spider mite faster than any other predator that is available.

However, the Phytoseiulus mites cannot be introduced before Spider mites are present because they cannot survive for very long without food. Additionally, for them to be active, the temperature must be higher than 15°C. They are most active between 20 and 30°C; any higher temperature will cause them to become less active.

Once Spider Mite have been observed, introduce the predators and place them near or on the plant’s infected areas. It might take several treatments in highly infested areas to increase their population to the point where they totally outcompete and eradicate the spider mite.

You can establish a “host environment” to attract beneficial insects and mammals. Put simply, it means that when the bad guys show up, the good guys will gladly go to battle for you if you provide them with food, water, a place to raise their young, and a place to overwinter. best of all, it’s not complicated or expensive. In fact, a good portion of it already involves gardening, which we adore!

Birds are also excellent allies in your garden. They consume harmful bugs when they are in season, but during the off-season, give them access to food sources like bird feeders. The majority of herbs and perennials that serve as host plants for beneficial insects produce seeds in the fall, which provides birds with another excellent source of food. Not to mention the roses themselves. Birds love to eat rose hips, which are the vivid orange berries that grow on your roses in the fall. Just cease deadheading your roses in the early fall to encourage them. When the blooms’ petals fall off, the hips form.

Finally, take some time to investigate and find out which local insects and birds are beneficial. Next consider giving them the necessities for food, survival, reproduction, and overwintering. If you do this, nature’s army will be ready to combat any infestation that may arise.

Commonly, these early food plants belong to the families of early-blooming herbs that have high nectar quality. Some plants from the Umbelliferae and Brassicia families, like parsley, dill, and mustard, are examples. Another great family of plants are the early blooming Asters. Aster Solidago is particularly good for hoverflys. Although the kinds of early food plants vary greatly by region, it’s important to keep in mind that they should have good nectar production and early blooming. These will sustain the health and happiness of your beneficial insects early in the season, until the arrival of the aphid buffet.

The beneficial pest controllers will want to lay their eggs in your garden once they are contentedly consuming the food source that you and nature are providing because they know there will be an abundance of food for future generations. Thus, they lay their eggs exactly where the aphid and thrips food source is, or will be, in your roses! Fortunately, your roses are also the ideal host environment for this helpful bug nursery!

FAQ

What eats spider mites?

The two most popular insect specialists used to control spider mites are a lady bug named Stethorus punctum and a predatory mite named T. pyri. These insects prey on two types of spider mites, the European red mites and the two-spotted spider mites, which are agricultural pests worldwide.

What is the best predator bug for spider mites?

The Best Predator For Preventative Applications: Amblyseius californicus. Amblyseius californicus is also an effective predator of Spider Mites and can be introduced at lower temperatures than the Phytoseiulus. The californicus can also survive without Spider Mites for a prolonged period of time and can feed on pollen.

What will keep spider mites away?

If a treatment for mites is necessary, use selective materials, preferably insecticidal soap or insecticidal oil. Both petroleum-based horticultural oils and plant-based oils such as neem, canola, or cottonseed oils are acceptable.

What conditions do spider mites hate?

1 – Get Rid of Spider Mites by Keeping your Plants Healthy Overwatering can create a moist environment that is attractive to spider mites, while underwatering can make your plants more susceptible to infestations. Humidity: Mites thrive in dry conditions, so keep the humidity levels around your plants high.