Mites, together with Ticks, belong to the subclass Acarina (also known as Acari) and the class Arachnida. Mites are among the most diverse and successful of all the invertebrate groups. They have exploited an incredible array of habitats, and because of their small size (some are microscopic) most go totally unnoticed. Many live freely in the soil or water, but many species live as parasites on plants or animals and some feed on mold.
Insects may also have parasitic mites. Examples are Varroa destructor which attaches to the body of the honeybee, and Acarapis woodi, which lives in the tracheae of honeybees. There are hundreds of species of mites associated with other bee species, and most are poorly described and understood. Some are thought to be parasites, while others beneficial symbionts.
There are over 45,000 described species of mites. Scientists believe that we have only found 5% of the total diversity of mites. Mites have existed for around 400 million years.
Most mites in the garden are pests, but some mites are predatory on other mites.
Mites are very small arthropods, with eight legs and two body segments. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts.
Symptoms and Signs
Mite damage includes stippling, discoloration, distorted foliage, and in the case of spider mites webbing.
- Cultural controls: Most mites thrive in hot, dry conditions
- Physical removal: Water Blasting
- Organic pesticides: Horticultural Oil, Neem Oil