Photo Credit – Heather Zindash
One of the earliest Tetranychid Mites to be active is the Spruce Spider Mite, Oligonychus ununguis. This mite overwinters by attaching its eggs to needles and should be hatching very soon. They may be hatching right now if you are in a warm micro-environment. Examine your junipers, spruce, Leyland cypress, balsam fir, most evergreen conifers, and hemlock for this mite. Eggs usually start to hatch when we reach 50 degree days and we have reached this level in several of our local areas this week.
Spider mites have piercing-sucking mouthparts. As they feed, they withdraw sap containing chlorophyll from the needles. They prefer to feed on older growth and will generally not feed on current-year needles until they have hardened off.
Horticultural oil is an option that can be used to kill these eggs. However, your best bet is to Call Us if you see these eggs on your trees and we can help you mitigate the effects of this pest.