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Species Page

tea red spider mite

Oligonychus coffeae


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Coffea (coffee)
Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)

List of symptoms / signs

Leaves - abnormal colours
Leaves - abnormal leaf fall
Leaves - external feeding
Leaves - necrotic areas


During O. coffeae infestation, yellowish spots appear along the midrib of tea leaves and occasionally on petioles. Continued mite feeding causes the entire leaf to become bronzed, necrotic and often to fall from the plant.

Colonies of mites prefer the upper surface of old leaves. During heavy infestation and drought, mites inhabit both surfaces of the leaf and even move to young leaves.

Prevention and control

Host-Plant Resistance

Some tea clones can reduce the fecundity and decrease the rate of development of O. coffeae (Sudoi, 1992). Some tea clones (BBLK152, 6/8 and 7/9) are classed as resistant to O. coffeae, while others are moderately resistant or susceptible. Some tea clones in Sri Lanka are also resistant to O. coffeae (Thirugnanasuntharan and Amarasinghe, 1990). The use of more resistant clones will reduce the development of mite populations and mite damage.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.


O. coffeae is considered to be the most serious pest of tea (Jeppson et al., 1975). It is also a pest of jute in Bangladesh and India and of cotton in Egypt. In China (Hainan), it is a serious pest of coffee.