Observation of Red Spider mites infestations on tea leaves

Oligonychus coffeae Nietner, the red spider mite (RSM), is a major pest of #tea (Camellia sinensis). It causes great economic losses to the tea growers. Red spider mite infestation can be observed on the tea leaves throughout the year as tea is a perennial crop provides food and shelter. Nymphs and adults of RSM lacerate cells, producing minute characteristic reddish-brown marks on the upper surface of mature leaves, which turn red in severe cases of infestation (See tea plant pictures, few leaves are turned reddish-brown), resulting in severe crop loss.

During my recent visit to Darjeeling, few of my colleagues discussed the impact of RSM on tea with tea growers. I was carrying a #foldscope as I always do, which allowed us to observe and picture these notorious bugs. Looking into the pictures we captured by using foldscope all the tea researchers were amazed and confirmed that they even don’t get similar results by using lab microscopes, maybe the simple sample preparation using transparent tapes lead to better images.

Tea plant with reddish-brown leaves indicating the infestation of red spider mites
Red Spider Mites under foldscope

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