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Pest Alert: Spider Mites Found in SC

July 17, 2018
this agronomic image shows spider mites.

Spider mites are a developing problem for cotton fields in SC. Look along leaves to see if these insects have infiltrated your crops. Entomologist Dr. Jeremy Greene offers additional scouting recommendations in his latest Pest Patrol alert.

Spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather and begin developing on field borders adjacent to infested weeds or other crops. Texas A&M University notes that excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer can influence spider mite outbreaks, as well as dust from nearby roads, which can interfere with the plant’s natural enemy efficiency.

Spider mites feed on cotton by piercing the plant with their mouthparts and sucking nutrients from the plant’s cells. The first phase of damage is referred to as specking, when damaged leaves develop white or yellowish specks, called stipules. As feeding increases and the damage spreads, leaves develop a reddened appearance and eventually turn brown, causing a sharp decline in photosynthesis.

In addition to infecting leaves, spider mites also infest bracts of squares and bolls, causing the bracts to die. Heavy or prolonged spider mite pressure can prematurely defoliate cotton plants, leading to reduced yields, fiber quality and seed.

When local thresholds are reached, apply a miticide like Agri-Mex® SC miticide/insecticide. With its extended residual control and tank-mix convenience, Agri-Mex SC protects yield that may be vulnerable to damaging spider mites. Agri-Mek SC also targets spider mites on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces, giving you peace of mind that your fields are protected against spider mites and other dangerous pests.

For more pest alerts from entomologist Dr. Jeremy Greene, check out his Pest Patrol page.

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