Intense heat across the western and southern United States has compounded the effects of already-dry conditions. In areas of prolonged drought, spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) outbreaks are reaching threshold levels. While outbreaks of these critters are typically rare, farmers are scrambling to stay ahead of the pest.
Favorable Conditions for Spider Mites
The two-spotted spider mite is a plant-feeding species often found in non-crop and weedy areas such as grassy waterways, roadsides, weeds, and pastures. As temperatures warm in the spring, spider mites begin feeding on common hosts such as clover, chickweed and various grasses. Mating and egg laying follow throughout the mite’s lifespan and if temperatures remain high, the population of the mites increases significantly. Mowing ditches and cutting hay often sparks a mass movement of spider mites into adjacent soybean fields.
Identifying Spider Mites
“Growers have invested a lot in this year’s crop, so the more we can do to protect the plant and preserve the yield, the higher the yield come harvest,” says Steve Heightchew, AgriGold Sales Agronomist. Heightchew encourages farmers to get out and scout their acres. “Spider mites are easily identifiable before they cause any real damage to the plant,” says Heightchew. He advises his growers to examine the plants at the field’s edge first by pulling the plant and analyzing the leaves from the bottom upwards. By doing so, you will be able to determine if there is an infestation and what stage in the lifecycle the mite is, which will help you determine a mode of action when it comes to the proper insecticide application. Heightchew goes on to say, “if scouting for spider mites is ignored or completed too late, growers may notice a “U” pattern of discolored and stippled soybean plants in their fields.” Additionally, depending on where the plant is in its lifecycle, pod fill may halt which, in turn, triggers yield loss.
Treatment Methods for Spider Mites
Treatment for these invasive critters is a true miticide/insecticide that provides exceptional knockdown and long-lasting residual control of spider mites. Upon application, the insecticide penetrates the leaf and is rapidly absorbed into the tissue, controlling mites on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces, and preventing further damage from occurring. Application completed at the first sign of infestation is your best bet to mitigate loss so you can break yield barriers.
Experts Leading You To Excellence
AgriGold agronomists are committed to providing excellence in and out of the field. Our top-notch service combined with our leading line of high-caliber products allows us to make the best decision for your acres. For more information on management or preventative techniques, contact your local AgriGold agronomist. From to seed to service we are here for you and with you to the finish line.