Cherry-Spider mite


European red mite (Panonychus ulmi)
McDaniel spider mite (Tetranychus mcdanieli)
Twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae)

For mite identification, see:

Pest description and crop damage Several species of mites can cause damage in tree fruits. The principal mite pests of cherries include the European red mite and the twospotted spider mite. Appearance of these mites varies with the species, although all are very small, 0.02 inch or smaller. Female European red mites are round with red bodies; males are yellowish-red. Twospotted mites are oval and yellowish-brown or green with distinctive black spots on the body. Mites damage fruit indirectly by feeding on leaves, which causes stippling, bronzing, and possibly leaf drop. The reduction in photosynthesis causes loss of tree vigor and yield.

Biology and life history European red mites overwinter as eggs on smaller branches and fruit spurs. They hatch at pink stage and commence feeding. There are six to seven generations per year. Twospotted spider mites overwinter as adult females under bark or in ground cover. They become active in the spring. There may be eight to ten overlapping generations per year.

Pest monitoring Observe the leaves for mites and webbing and check for the number of pest and predator mites. Sufficient control usually is achieved by midsummer by biological agents.

Management-biological control

Spider mite populations are held down by cool, wet conditions early in the season. Considerable natural control is provided by lady beetles (Stethorus spp.) and minute pirate bugs (Orius tristicolor). Predator mites such as Typhlodromus spp. or Neoseiulus fallacis (syn. Amblyseius fallacis) are also effective at managing populations of spider mites and may be purchased.

Management-cultural control

Spider mite infestations are favored by dry, dusty conditions, so avoid creating these problems and stressing the plants. The use of cover crops also reduces dust and mite problems. Broadleaf weeds like mallow, bindweed, white clover, and knotweed enhance mite numbers. Suppression of these weeds with cultivation or grasses may reduce mite numbers. Water trees properly, as drought-stressed trees are more susceptible. Avoid excessive nitrogen applications, as this encourages mites.

Home orchardists: Mites may be washed from the tree with a strong stream of water.

Management-chemical control: HOME USE

Dormant-season spray

Apply sprays using enough water to cover the entire tree thoroughly including small limbs. Apply only during dormant or delayed-dormant period.

  • superior-type oil (European red mite only) -Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.

Growing-season spray

  • azadirachtin (neem oil)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • bifenthrin
  • carbaryl
  • gamma-cyhalothrin
  • insecticidal soap-May require several applications. Complete coverage, especially of undersides of leaves, is essential. Apply April to May. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • malathion
  • plant-derived essential oils-Some have shown efficacy against spider mites. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • spinosad-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use
  • sulfur-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.

Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Dormant-season spray

  • chlorpyrifos (Lorsban 4E) at 4 pints/a. REI 4 days. Avoid contact with foliage in sweet cherries as premature leaf drop may result. Extremely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates; avoid spray drift and runoff to surface waters.
  • horticultural mineral oil at 8 gal/a. REI 12 hr. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • diazinon (Diazinon 50W) at 4 lb/a + horticultural mineral oil at 6 to 8 gal/a. REI 4 days. Do not exceed one dormant application of diazinon per season.
  • methidathion (Supracide 2E) at 8 pints/a + horticultural mineral oil at 1.5 to 2 gal./100 gal water (6 to 8 gal/a). REI 2 days.
  • pyriproxyfen (Esteem 35WP) at 4 to 5 oz/a + horticultural mineral oil at 6 to 8 gal/a. REI 12 hr. Pyriproxyfen is a growth regulator with activity toward egg and immature stages only. Under heavy scale pressure, use the higher rate.

Growing-season sprays

  • bifenazate (Acramite 50WS) at 0.75 to 1 lb/a. PHI 3 days. REI 12 hr. Use only once per season.
  • clofentizine (Apollo SC) at 4 to 8 fl oz/a. PHI 21 days. REI 12 hr. Do not exceed one application per season. Must be applied early in the season when the mite population is predominantly in the egg stage.
  • etoxazole (Zeal WSP) at 2 to 3 oz/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr.
  • fenbutatin-oxide (Vendex 50WP) at 1.5 to 3 lb/a. PHI 14 days. REI 2 days Do not exceed two applications or 4.5 lb/a/year.
  • hexythiazox (Savey 50DF) at 3 to 6 oz/a. PHI 28 days. REI 12 hr. Does not significantly control adult rust mites. Apply at first sign of egg deposition before adult mites build up. Apply only once per season.
  • hexythiazox (Onager 1EC) at 24 oz/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Do not exceed one application per season.
  • horticultural mineral oil at 1 to 2 gal/a. REI 12 hr. Necrotic foliage may result if applied within 2 weeks of any sulfur application. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • pyridaben (Nexter) at 10.6 oz/a. PHI 30 days. REI 12 hr.
  • spirodiclofen (Envidor 2SC) at 16 to 18 fl oz/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Do not exceed one application/year.

Post-harvest spray

  • propargite (Omite 30WS) at 6 lb/a. REI 2 days. Do not exceed two applications per season

Resistance management Spider mites can develop resistance rapidly to chemical controls. Resistance management techniques include using sampling and pest action thresholds to make spray decisions, using higher thresholds on young, non-bearing trees, and rotating pesticides with different modes of action.