Prevent and Control Spider Mites
Quick Facts About Spider Mites
- There are several types of spider mites; the most common in Colorado are Clover mites, Banks Grass mites, and Brown Wheat mites.
- Mites damage turf-grass during early to mid-spring.
- Banks Grass mites are the most difficult species to control.
- Clover mites are cool season mites, the other mites usually cause damage during the warm months.
Are Spider Mites Good or Bad?
The answer is a little bit of yes and no, depending on the species. There are thousands of different species of mites that have been discovered. Many mites are a necessary part of nature in order to do their job as decomposers. They eat a wide variety of materials such as dead plants, fungi, lichens, and more. Many are also predators of pests and help control parasitic insects. However, there are three spider mites in Colorado that damage your turn and lawn. The three spider mites are Clover mites, Banks Grass mites, and Brown Wheat mites.
Lawn mite damage usually happens during the dry winter season or during spring months. Spider mites are active from December through May. If areas of your lawn start turning brown or straw-like, this is an indicator that mites may be present. In some cases, a lawn may not be able to overcome the infestation of mites, so reseeding and sodding may be the only solution.
About the 3 Colorado Spider Mites
Clover mites breed outdoors on turfgrass, clovers and other lawn plants from fall to early summer. They are as small as or smaller than the head of a needle pin. Their colors range from a reddish brown to a dark green. Clover mites can be distinguished because of their unusually long front two legs; a trait that is not common among other spider mites.
Clover mites are most active during warm days of fall and spring. They are also known to enter homes through cracks, windows, and doors. Infestation of these pests is common for both the outdoors and indoors.
Banks Grass Mites
Banks Grass mites are serious pests of corn and turf. If you have brown, patchy straw-like grass, then you may have Banks Grass mite infestation. This breed of mite adapts to warm weather and is the most common cause of turf damaging mites. They’re usually smaller a lighter in color than other mites. However, for most of its life, it is green. When a Banks Grass mite is going through environmental conditions and runs out of food, it will turn a bright red color.
Image by: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University
Brown Wheat Mites
Brown-Wheat mites can damage turfgrass during the spring season. They are generally associated with areas suffering from drought or plants that have been affected during a dry winter season. Brown-wheat mites are susceptible to insecticides. It is important to prevent them by properly watering your lawn during the dry winter and spring seasons.
Image by: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University