Red Spider mites in lawn

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 23 January 2024 

Red spider mites are a pest that doesn’t mind feeding on lawns, especially when the weather is dry. You’ll know you have them when your lawn rapidly loses colour, accompanied by a fine web across the surface.

Recent wet weather followed by some hot and dry days has brought favourable conditions for red spider mites in lawns – and from the number of instances we’ve seen over the last week, they’ve certainly taken advantage!

What are Red Spider Mites?

Red Spider mites are altogether different from turf or couch mites and are, in comparison, relatively easy to control. While they can be seen with the naked eye, you’ll need very good short vision to catch a glimpse, often appearing as small, dark red dots on the lawn’s blades, resembling black pepper grounds.

Signs and symptoms:

There are several signs that can alert you to the presence of red siper mites.

  • Discoloured blades

Red spider mites feed on lawns by piercing the cells with their mouthparts. This feeding activity results in a bleached look on the blades themselves. Lawn blades tend to go white or mottled rather than die altogether.

  • A fine web

Red spider mites produce a fine, silk-like webbing that’s most easily seen in the early parts of the morning when moisture gets trapped in the web. Upon a closer look, you’ll often see black dots in the web, which are the mites themselves.

Interestingly, in Adelaide, you’ll usually only see them on kikuyu lawns rather than on couch or buffalo lawns. They thrive in warm, dry conditions, making lawns particularly susceptible during hot summer months. Additionally, drought-stressed lawns are more prone to infestations, emphasising the importance of proper watering and lawn care practices.

Prevention and Control:

The good news is that once identified, red spider mites are easy enough to control without the use of harsh chemicals.

  • Regular Watering: Maintain a consistent watering schedule to keep your lawn adequately hydrated. Moist conditions deter red spider mites, making it less likely for them to establish a presence.
  • Horticultural Oils: Applying horticultural oils such as Yates Pest Oil effectively controls red spider mite infestations. Products like these products smother the mites and disrupt their feeding.
  • Neem Oil: Neem oil, derived from the neem tree, is a natural insecticide with anti-feedant properties. It can be applied to your lawn to deter red spider mites and disrupt their life cycle.

If you suspect you have red spider mites or if you have any other lawn problems that you need help with, please give us a call on 8298 0555 or email us at

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