Azaleas and roses are susceptible to Red spider mite or Double spotted Mites when the weather is hot and Dry. It’s May and quite cool in Bundaberg and yet we still see plenty of the pests about. Look for dusty dirty look to the top of the leaves and on the under side you will see under a magnifying glass hundred of tiny spider looking insects running about. You will also notice thousands of brown dots which are the eggs then grow rapidly to adults in about a week.
On a foggy morning & in extreme situations you will see masses of tiny webs on your Roses and azaleas and even Tomatoes which is another tell tale sign they are about and will suck the living daylights out of your plants, starving them and even killing plants in extreme situations.
Control of Red spider or Double spotted mite… natural control.
They really dont like water so overhead watering can significantly reduce the numbers bearing in mind their life cycle this will need to be repeated over at least a week to cover the life cycle, so even 20-25mm of rain will achieve the same result. Yates produce a product called “Natrasoap” which suffocates the mites , they dry out and fall of with a repeat every 5-7 days also required.
Be careful not to kill the old Lady bird beetle as they are a natural predator to the pesky little mites. There are other natural predators that are used commercially which are not available for residential use.
Kelthane is often use but should not be over used to avoid a build up in resistance..Mites are related to spiders as they have four pairs of legs. Tiny pinkish-red mites cluster on the underside of leaves often producing fine webbing in extreme situations. by Peter Moller