Red spider mites (Tetranychus spp.)
Red spider mites attack leaves of watermelons. Adults are about 0.6 mm long. Attacked leaves have a stippled appearance, turn yellowish to whitish and dry up. Often young plants are entirely destroyed. In older plants growth can be severely stunted and the fruit set considerable reduced. Spider mites can be a problem in dry and hot conditions. Plants under water stress (drought) are more likely to suffer damage by spider mites.
- Conserve natural enemies. Predatory mites and anthocorid bugs are important in natural control of mites.
- Avoid use of broad-spectrum pesticides. They may kill natural enemies and may lead to mite outbreaks.
- Provide good growing conditions for plants. Healthy plants are more likely to withstand mite attack. Adequate irrigation is particularly important. Apply mulch and incorporate organic matter into the soil to improve the water holding capacity and reduce evaporation.