Spider mites (Tetranychus spp.)
Spider mites suck the sap of plant tissues. Infested leaves first show a white to yellow speckling and then turn pale or a reddish bronze colour as infestation becomes heavy. The leaves curl up under severe attack and finally wither and fall off, leading to plant defoliation. In severe infestation, spider mites will also attack pods, causing pod contamination. Major factors leading to spider mite outbreaks are very hot and dry conditions, destruction of natural enemies and the presence of other highly infested crops (e.g. cotton tomato) in the vicinity of the okra crop.
- Monitor regularly the crop to determine the presence and level of infestations of spider mites.
- Conserve natural enemies. A number of predators are known to feed on spider mites. They usually keep spider mites under control provided no broad-spectrum pesticides are applied and the crop is irrigated properly.
- Keep field free of weeds and destroy or compost crop residues immediately after harvesting. Crop residues from an infested field should be destroyed.
- Do not plant a new crop near an infested field.