Gorse spider mites

One of the common sights on our heathlands this autumn has been gorse bushes enveloped in huge gossamer webs. There are lots on Piddledown Common and below Castle Drogo on the heath in the Teign Valley for example. These webs are made by  tiny animals known as  gorse spider mites – each mite is bright red and is less than 0.5mm in length but they live in large colonies.

Gorse spider mitesIt beggars belief that these tiny animals can make such huge and complex web

Gorse spider miteThe gorse spider mite has been taken to New Zealand where it is used a a biological control to get rid of gorse which has been introduced to those islands and has become an invasive weed in some places. In Devon and on Dartmoor despite the large number of spider mite webs I would say the gorse still has the upper hand ……