Spider mites are teeny-tiny, eight-legged critters that are more closely related to spiders and ticks (as are all mites) than they are to insects. Many of these tiny pests spin fine webs which help protect them against their natural enemies.
Spider mites can target many different plants. They are common on many perennials, roses, fruit trees and small fruits, needled evergreens like spruce and juniper, and even vegetable plants and houseplants. They do damage to leaves by piercing plant cells with their mouth parts and sucking out the juices. This gives the leaves a stippled appearance with small yellow spots and may cause bronzing of the foliage.
Tell-tale signs of spider mites are the splotchy yellowing of the foliage and the appearance of fine webbing on the leaves. If you suspect spider mites, you can confirm your suspicions by holding a sheet of white paper under a leaf or branch and sharply tapping it over the paper. This will cause the mites to fall onto the sheet of paper and you will see little dots moving around on it.