Spider mites are invisible pests that often feed on growing flowers, fruits, foliage, and houseplant. These eight-leg pests are so tiny that it is impossible to see from naked eyes. However, you can sense their presence by spider webbing on the plant’s stems, branches, and flowers.
Some indications that your plant is affected with spider mites include leaves dropping, white or yellow specks on leaves, webbing on plants.
They stunt the growth of the plants, vegetables, and fruits, if you do not cure your plant on time these mites will damage your plant. Here, you will learn all possible natural and chemical methods to get rid of spider mites.
So, keep on reading…
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Spider mites do not harm humans but negatively affect plant growth. These pests activate during warm climates, mostly in dry summer conditions.
Spider mites do not just affect a single plant but are also transmits to nearby plants. They choose a plant to feed and start hatching eggs that produce hundreds of more spider mites.
Although this insect life cycle is too short, they reproduce very rapidly. A single female spider mite became mature and started hatching hundreds of eggs at just 5 days old. These eggs take nearly 72 hours to hatch.
Depending on spider mite varieties these insects have different ranges in color from red to green to purple to blue, even white.
Some common varieties like Carmine spider mite, the Strawberry spider mite, Southern spider mite, and the Spruce sider mite.
The most common variety is yellow-orange spider mites. They have back spots on both sides of the body and live in colonies. They cling to the underside of the leaves and feed the plant’s chlorophyll.
There are lots of more invisible pests that can destroy plants such as aphids. So, before doing an eviction campaign make sure you’re dealing with spider mites.
How to Know plant is affected with spider mites?
According to the University of Minnesota Extension, You know whether the plant is affected by spider mites by practicality. Hold a white sheet or paper plate under the leaves where you suspect it is infected. Then lightly tap the paper in the leaves and if you see speck fall or scurry around the paper then mites are present there. However, webbing around the plant is the most common indication of spider mites.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites Naturally
There are many natural methods that you can use to get rid of these spider mites without using any chemicals on plants. These are DIY methods that can easily be done by household resources. If you have a medium-sized plant like a houseplant or potted flower then this method will definitely solve your issue.
Spider mites are predated by many insects like Thrips, Lacewings, and Predatory mites. You can order these beneficial insects online and spread them into the plant. They do not harm plants, people, and pets but will consume hundreds of pests daily. To encourage these natural predators to stick around the plant avoid using pesticides. Also, mulch around the flowers, garden beds, borders, and water regularly to invite them.
In a study conducted in 2017, it was found that essential oils like Spearmint, Rosemary, Coriander, Chamomile are effective to kill two-spotted spider mites often found in plants.
Use these DIY methods, fill the spray with half of the water and add 2 to 3 drops of any one essential oil from the above list. Spray into infected leaves once a day and it will kill all spider mites in some days. Neem oil also kills spider mites by suffocating them. This is a simple and easy method to get rid of spider mites. Spray on infected leaves or stems every 3-4 days till all spider mites getaway.
Hot peppers are commonly used in cooking. You can use this cooking ingredient to deter spider mites. It is found that extract from peppers including Chile, Cayenne peppers, Bell peppers, and Jalapenos are toxic for spider mites. These peppers kill 45% of spider mites present on the leaves. Pepper varieties such as Bishop’s crown peppers and lemon drop pepper are also useful to deter spider mites. You can buy pepper online or from retail stores or make your own pepper repellent.
According to Oregon State University extension service, mixing dish soap with one gallon of water will make a solution that will help to kill spider mites. Fill this soap-water solution in spay and apply on the infected leaves weekly, wash or wipe leaves with water after some hour of applying soap water. Dish wash contains chemicals that can affect your plant if stay on it.
You can also use rubbing alcohol that you have in your household. Take a small ball of cotton and soak in alcohol. Use this cotton to wipe across infected leaves of the plant. Wash the leaves with water after applying alcohol for some hours.
Washing with hose
Washing plant leaves with high pressure of garden hose will wash away spider mites. But, these are temporary solutions, after some days they may get back. So after washing, treat the whole plant with spider mite control is a good idea.
Pruning affected leaves or branches where you can see webs can also solve the issue. Cut off these leaves and throw them in the trash. This will stop spider mites spread, after pruning keep the plant moist and clean to avoid mites coming back.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites Chemically
Spider mites usually go by on their own, especially if they are very low in numbers or surrounded by their predators. However, if home remedies do not work for you, then it’s time for pesticides. Some pesticides get rid of pests without affect plants or crops. but, always confirm before using.
Insecticidal Soap (Horticultural Oil)
Pesticides are not often used because they kill spider mites and all other beneficial insects on the plant. But, there is a pesticide that only affects spider mites. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil are effective only when coming into contact with adult spider mites, covering both sides of leaves.
Note: There are specific plants and conditions to apply it. Insecticidal soap should not be applied to plants that are stressed with drought or grow outside in hot temperatures. Before using it, read the product label to understand its application. Some plants are so sensitive that they damage them with their ingredients. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil are best used on indoor plants where the temperature is under control.
Diatomaceous earth is an organic pesticide made from fossils of aquatic organisms. This pesticide is lethal with arachnids and insects but non-toxic to humans. Sprinkle the food grave into infected plants and soil. It will gradually dehydrate spider mite exoskeletons, eventually killing them.
According to the University of California’s integrated pest management office, traditional pesticides that contain pyrethroids (a component of chrysanthemum flower), do not work for spider mites, instead, they kill other beneficial insects on the plant, allowing spider mites to continue reproducing. Before applying any pesticides read its description carefully and be sure it will deter spider mites.
How to keep Spider Mites Off Plants
Preventing spider mites to affect your plant in the first place is the goal.
To do so,
Make sure when you buy an indoor plant it is not affected by these mites you can check by doing the white paper test described above.
After you bring it to the house, do not place it directly near the window, spider mites can enter into plants through the window, they thrive in dry and warm places.
Keeping the plant’s leaves dust minimum helps to deter spider mites. To do this wipe plant leaves weekly with a damp cloth.
Regular watering on your plant also deters spider mites because these mites prefer dryness.
How long does It take to get Rid of spider mites?
The time it takes to get rid of spider mites depends on the control method. It will take probably a few weeks to totally get rid of spider mites. If you’re using a spray, keep it applying every week and until the problem is under control. Using beneficial or predatory insects show results quickly as they devour hundreds of spider mites in a day.
What types of plants do spider mites like?
Spider mites prefer dry and warm plants, they feed on hundreds of multiple varieties of plants. They like to feed outdoor plants like strawberries, melons, tomatoes, and fruits trees. They also feed on indoor plants, mostly on ornamental flowers and shrubs. The plant which is not taken much care of and is mostly dry and dusty will get easily infected by these mites.
Should I Throw Away a Plant infected by Spider Mites?
When spider mites become out of control, they infected or damage a houseplant very badly. It is ideal to pack the plant and throw it in the trash. Severely infected plants are very hard to cure and it also increases the risk of spreading spider mites to other indoor plants.
When to Call A pest Control Experts
Severe infections require pest controls experts these pros will come to your home, evaluate the situation and make plans to get rid of spider mites. They also educate you on how to prevent these pests. Now instead of a nightmare, you relax with your pest-free indoor plants.
Hey! I'm Madhuresh, a passionate Blogger and a Plant lover. I created Shiny Plant to explore and learn about new plants. The purpose is to provide simple and effective Gardening Tips. Hope you'll find this informative.