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Spider Mites: Life Cycle & Predators

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you are curious about spider mites, look no further. In this lesson, we take a close up look at the life cycle and predators of the spider mite. Read on to learn more.

What are Spider Mites?

Spider mites are tiny members of the arachnid family. Many gardeners know them as pests and will work hard to keep them out of the garden and off plants. If they do end up in a garden, spider mites are usually found on the bottom of leaves where they wreak havoc by slurping up their liquid. Let's take a closer look at the spider mite.

Life Cycle

Spider mites start life as tiny eggs. These eggs are translucent (see-through) when they are first deposited. Slowly, they become a whitish opaque (not see through) color as they mature. The time spans for each developmental stage vary between species. Temperature can also have an effect on the time of the stages. In warmer climates, mites will develop faster. On average, eggs usually hatch after three days of being deposited.

Adult spider mite
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Larva

The next phase in the spider mite life cycle is the larval stage. Once the spider mites hatch, they emerge with six legs and no color. Depending on the species and temperature, this stage can last a few days or up to a week. The spider mite does not consume much food at larval stage.

Nymph

After the larva has finished developing, they grow two extra legs and become nymphs. During this phase, the spider mite cannot yet reproduce. There are two phases within the nymph phase: protonymph and deutonymph. The protonymph is slightly larger than the larva, and they consume more food at this stage. Next, they develop into the deutonymph where they once again increase in size and consume more food.

Adult

Finally, the moment all adolescents wait for, the spider mite becomes an adult. At this point, the mite is allowed to vote, drink, and move out of its parents house. Okay, maybe not all of that. But the mites do develop into adults after the nymph stage, and this means they are sexually mature and can reproduce.

Females are slightly larger than males, and both have eight legs. The female spider mite can lay between 50 and 100 eggs during her lifetime. This explains how and why they can quickly take over a plant.

Spider mites eat leaves and are pests for farmers
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