Photos by S.D. Frank

The southern red mite (Oligonychus ilicis) is a cool-season mite and is one of the earliest to appear in nursery production. Active during spring and fall, the southern red mite is commonly found on broadleaf evergreens such as azalea, camellia, holly, and rhododendron. It also feeds on mountain laurel, rose, and viburnum.

Adults are .3-.5 mm long, oval, purplish, or reddish, with eight legs. The red eggs overwinter on the undersides of leaves. There are several generations each year.

Steven Frank, professor and extension specialist at North Carolina State University, says to scout plants that had mites or mite damage the previous year as they are likely to have them again because the mites have overwintered as eggs.

Sources: Steven Frank, NCSU; University of Georgia Extension