Recap of January 2024 First Friday with Florida First Detector

For our first webinar of 2024, we focused on mites! As a group, mites are incredibly diverse. There are mites pretty much everywhere. You can find them on plants, animals, people, stored products, soil, water and more! Some mites feed on animals and humans. Some work as decomposers to break down things in the environment. There are even some mites that feed on plants and they can be a pest for us. Other mites are actually predatory and used for biological control of mites, insects and other pests.

As far as plant pests go, the three most economically important families are Tetranychidae (spider mites), Eriophyidae (gall mites), and Tenuipalpidae (false spider mites). Like all mites, plant feeding mites can be distinguished from plant feeding insects by looking at their basic anatomy. Mites will have two body regions with a gnathosoma and an idiosoma. Other arachnids, like spiders and scorpions, lack the gnathosoma. Mites also have four pairs of legs in the adult stage. Insects have three body regions and three pairs of legs. Mites are often very small and may require magnification to see these distinguishing features.

One of the most infamous mites in agriculture and horticulture is the twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae. This species is native to Eurasia but is currently a pest in many temperate and subtropical regions of the world including Florida. It feeds on over 200 plants including edible crops and ornamentals. We also discussed the bermudagrass mite (Eriophyes cynodoniensis), the red palm mite (Raoiella indica), and the lychee erinose mite (Aceria litchii). These three species are invasive species that are currently causing problems on Florida’s plants.

We also discussed three species that are not known to be established in Florida including rose rosette virus mite, (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus), Japanese zelkova eriophyid mite (Aceria zelkoviana), and citrus brown mite, (Eutetranychus orientalis). For these species, we are monitoring to ensure they do not spread in Florida. Mites can be challenging to identify, even with magnification. If you are seeing unusual damage caused by mites, we suggest reaching out to your local county extension office for help in identification.

Resources on invasive plant feeding mites

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What is the upcoming schedule?

We are meeting online via Zoom from 12:00PM-1:00PM on the First Friday of every month from Sept 2022-Aug 2024. Please visit this blog for registration information and the upcoming schedule for Sept 2023-2024.


Contact Dr. Morgan Pinkerton,


Visit the Florida First Detector Website

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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