Red spider mites, on Brachiaria grass
Brachiaria grass, Brachiaria spp(dicots) provides an opportunity for higher nutrient-rich animal pasture in Kenya, after the recent, re-introduction from Latin America. Some of the attributes are increased fat-rich milk. The major constraint is attack by red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae (Koch).
Red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae
The mite pest feeds by sucking grass leaf tissue cell sap, consequently leading to plant withering and eventual drying. Huge acres of pasture area get severely degraded during the dry months of production. The marginal lands of hot-dry environment depict the highest yield loss.
Management / control.Work on evaluation of environmentally sustainable method (s) of suppressing the pest are being evaluated. Presently, maintaining a humid environment leads to reduced damage levels by the mite pest which is temperature-dependent. This explains the reason density increase of the mite pest with subsequent increase of temperature in the regimes ranges of 22-30 °C lead to highest tonnage loss of Brachiaria grass