Close up of a brown-colored mite with four pairs of legs on a green background.


Hide in small cobwebs woven underneath plant foliage or flowers

Adult mites typically have 4 pairs of legs

INFESTATION SIGNS: leaves turn yellow or brown and eventually fall off

Barely visable to the naked eye

Hidden in small cobwebs woven underneath plant foliage or flowers, mites are tiny - sometimes microscopic insects. Their head and thorax are fused into a single region called the cephalothorax, and their mouthparts are grouped together, creating a false head known as the capitulum. There appears to be an abdomen in some mites. However, in many species, the cephalothorax and abdomen are compact. Mites come in a wide spectrum of colors, including red, yellow, green, purple, black and translucent.

Adult mites typically have four pairs of legs, which readily distinguish them from insects. Mite larvae have three pairs of legs until they molt to the nymph stage. Then, a fourth pair emerges.

Heavy mite infestations cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and eventually fall off. Two-spotted spider mites are the most common mites to infest bedding-plant crops. Barely visible to the naked eye, they look like small, moving dots. The mites draw nutrients from plants with their scraping mouths, creating a blotchy or "salt and pepper" pattern on leaves.

Not only do mites cause significant damage to plant flowers and foliage, but also to ornamental trees and shrubs. Evergreens, such as junipers and Colorado blue spruce, are especially vulnerable to mite damage during dry, hot weather.

Mites plague numerous crops, including bedding and garden plants, potted plants, cut flowers and foliage. For broad-spectrum control of adults, use eight ounces of Mavrik Aquaflow® insecticide per 100 gallons of water to treat 20,000 square feet every seven days until the mites are controlled.