Red spider

Red Spider (Tetranychus) is a sucking mite and invisible or barely visible to the naked eye. Generally, its presence is recognized by large numbers of minute pin-point dots on leaf surfaces, and on the under-side of the leaf very fine grains of red may sometimes be seen. Although they are not true spiders (arachnids) they spin a fine web which is another diagnostic aid. These insects have an extremely rehabilitating effect on plants, and cause leaf drop and even the death of the entire plant. Prior to the general use of DDT this pest was virtually unknown and it is possible that the widespread use of DDT eradicated its natural enemies. Red spider mite is today one of the greatest threats to world agriculture. The treatment requires fortnightly sprays with organophosphate based insecticides during infestations. Predatory mites are also becoming commercially available for the control of mites and scale insects.

The true mites (Hemitarsonemus) show similar symptoms as red spiders, but also cause leaf distortion.

Treatment is with miticide sprays as for red spider.

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Random Bonsai Tip

If surface roots are unequally spread around the trunk or if they are lacking completely you can drill holes and insert match sticks or make deep scars around the base of the trunk on the side where the roots are needed below soil level. Apply hormone powder and sphagnum moss; cover with plastic and keep moist. Leave for 6 months to 1 year for the roots to develop.