Southern Red Mite of holly

Disease Information

Southern Red Mite

Symptoms and damage

Southern red mite (Oligonychusilicis) is an important pest of hollies, especially I. crenata`Convexa`, a Japanese holly. Mites are not insects, but are more closely related to spiders. Southern red mite adults are reddish brown and less than 1 /50-inch long. Using sucking mouthparts, they feed on the undersides of leaves, where fine webbing is often seen. Symptoms of feeding include light yellow speckling on leaves. Leaves may turn a bronze color and then drop. With severe infestations, webs may cover both leaf surfaces and branch tips. Populations of southern red mites usually peak in spring and fall. They are almost inactive during the heat of midsummer. Check for mites by looking at the undersurface of leaves in early spring or by shaking a branch over white paper.


Naturally occurring predators of mites include various predatory mites, ladybird beetles and other insects. Mites can be removed with a strong spray of water, if applied on a regular basis. Insecticidal soap sprays can provide control when applied before population numbers get too high. The following pesticides are labeled for use by homeowners against southern red mite: horticultural oil, bifenthrin, and acephate. These products should be applied when mites are present and again in seven to 10 days. Horticulture oil may be sprayed when temperatures are between 45 and 90 degrees. As with all pesticides, read and follow all label instructions and precautions.

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