Russet mites belong to the eriophyid family of mites, and between around 100 plant-specific species, is among the hardest to detect. A single mite is too tiny to be seen by the naked human eye. They need magnification of 10x and higher. Since they are so microscopic, they can be a huge threat for your garden without you even realizing. These plant pests leave no webs or secretions., and the visible damage the first indication of their presence.
Through a lens, they are tapered, translucent, wedge-shaped cylinders. They have a yellow tint, especially when grouped. They have two pairs of legs. They are easily dispersed by wind, and they are more common than before. Russet mites multiply in areas of intensive growing, for example tomato regions in Florida. They do well indoors, too.
In winter, females are inside stems or where twigs are joined. They lay translucent eggs in spring, which go through two nymph stages. Mites produce multiple over-lapping generations through the season, and mature in around eight days in warm and humid conditions.
Mites are sapsuckers that work on cellular level. Damage appears at the bottom of the plants, moving upward. Lower leaves become yellow and curl, drooping and discoloring. While the nourishment is sucked, less vigorous and green growth appears. The mites spread to the whole plant. They are attracted to flower resins, congregating in flowers and blossoms. Here they hid and do most damage.
Russet Mite Control
The best control are preventive methods. Do not bring infected or contaminated plants or soil among healthy ones. Regular and close scrutiny of plants is crucial. What looks like iron or magnesium deficiency can be the mites. Treat for mites and adjust nutrient solutions to make sure. If you find and remove mites from the first generation, you could save the plant entirely. Many treatments meant for spider mites also work. Inspect the plant and remove damaged leaves and stems.
Russet mites are most common in outdoor container plantings. Use dependable, high-quality potting medium and plants, from a nursery you know and trust. Ask them if mites have been a problem recently. Eggs may lurk in plants, even if they are free of adult mites.
By introducing beneficial nematodes when the soil warms, and ahead of planting, helps destroy eggs. Apply a second round if you spot damage to lowest leaves.
Avoid over-fertilizing plants
Homemade sprays containing garlic, hot peppers, or citrus oils might not eliminate them, but may provide a deterrent.
Neem oil will repel and kill mites. Apply at first signs of damage.
Pyrethrum sprays are effective in killing mites. Complete coverage is necessary. Spray once a week, every five days in warm conditions.
Use a lens of 14X magnification or larger to examine the plant whatever you are using to prevent mites and keep your progress.
Feel free to discard entire plants if they are beyond saving, as they might spread to healthy plants. Discard the infested plants in plastic bags and dispose in sealed garbage containers.
Never bring uninspected plants into your growing space. This is very important, whether you take clones or tomato starts from friends and professionals. Always know and trust your grower.
Always keep a clean grow space
Release spider mite predators in the greenhouse to keep pests at bay.
When you first see mites, reduce the breeding environment by adjusting the room temperature and moisture. This slows the breeding cycle and buys time to inspect and treat the plants.
Azamax discourages mites from feeding and slows their breeding cycle
Neem oil and pyrethrum or canola oil sprays knock down mite infestations when used repeatedly.
If you have infected growing space, clean it completely. Scrub the benches and equipment with a mild bleach solution. A 1:10 bleach-to-water solution is safe for cleaning. Sterilize the hydroponic equipment, throw away soil that is not sanitized, and clean everything that was present during the infestation. The invisible eggs can survive in tiny and unseen places, so be thorough.