If you have one of hundreds of different species of plant, you could have a spider mite problem. Spider mites infest the underside of plants and they can destroy them. They can be hard to detect unless you’re looking for them, and extremely annoying, but they can be exterminated if you know how. So, this guide will give you all of the information you need about spider mites, including how to look for their signs and how to get rid of them for good. This is definitely something that you need to do if you want to keep your plants or garden healthy and undamaged.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are tiny creatures that infest plants, gardens and greenhouses. They look similar to minute spiders, but they are not actually Arachnids. They are part of Acari Tetranychideae, which has over 1200 different species, and they live on the underside of plants. They can spin silken webs and feed on the plant leaf. They are prevalent because there are hundreds of plants that they are able to feed on. You can recognize them by the webs that they make, and by their reproductive activities. They lay eggs that are transparent at first, and often, this webbing is spun around the eggs as well, which is what gives them their name. They are a little less than one millimeter in size, so they can be seen with the naked eye if you look carefully.
Signs to Look For
So, how do you know if you have a spider mite infestation? As mentioned, one good way is to look for the webbing. It will usually be rather thick in comparison to a spider web – more like a cocoon than an actual web – and it will often stretch from one plant to another. However, the first thing to look for is damage to the plant itself. If you look at the leaves of a plant and you noticed small brown dots (sometimes they can be yellow) then look closely at the plant and see if you can find any strands of webbing. Spider mites are visible to the naked eye, but they are extremely tiny, so finding one may not be easy. If you see a cocoon-like structure on the underside of the plant it means that the mite has laid its eggs, which take less than a week to hatch. They reproduce ideally in conditions where the average temperature is 85 degrees or higher and the humidity is 60% or less.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites
There are several methods of getting rid of spider mites, and depending upon what you prefer and what kind of plants you have that are infested, your methods may differ. Some people prefer natural ways of getting rid of spider mites, and others don’t have a problem getting rid of them by chemical means. However, one thing to keep in mind is that your method of dealing with them will also differ based upon how deep your infestation goes, and how long the affected plans can stand up to the rigors of being eaten by the mites. You’ll have to carefully weigh all of the factors and then choose the best method for you personally.
One thing that you’ll want to make sure you do prior to any method, or even as prevention to keep mites from infesting any healthy plants is to make sure that your plants are getting enough nutrition. Give plants the right amount of water and nutrients and make sure that they are receiving enough sunlight. Healthier plants will have less chance of being vulnerable to mite infestation.
Solution One: The Water Method
The first method that we’re going to discuss is a natural remedy for spider mites that you can do quickly and get rid of them (usually) for good. However, this method does have the disadvantage of being impractical if you have more than one or two plants that are affected.
Solution Two: The Shaking Method
If you find a mite on the underside of a plant (they are tiny, red, brown, green or yellow dots) then shake them off onto a piece of paper. Ensure that you have gotten the mite by checking with a magnifying glass.
Solution Three: The Removal Method
Remove plant leaves that have obviously been infested by spider mites. Place them into a plastic bag and throw them away. If there are too many on one plant, throw it away to prevent the infestation from spreading to your other plants. Remember, they lay eggs on your plant and spider mite young reach maturity in just a little over a week from the time the eggs are laid.
Solution Four: The Rosemary Method
You can use rosemary oil, or a natural pesticide that has rosemary oil as its main ingredient and safely kill the spider mites without harming either your plants of the beneficial insects that your plant may need.
Solution Five: The Predator Method
You can also purposely infest your garden or greenhouse with bugs that are natural predators to the spider mite but are harmless to your plants like ladybugs and some species of parasitic mites. You can usually find them at any large nursery or garden centre.
Solution Six: The Natural Pesticide Method
Neem oil and AzaMax are both natural pesticides that are harmless to your plants and can be used to effectively kill the spider mite or to prevent its appearance in the first place. They are made of organic materials and cannot harm your plants or the beneficial parasitic mites.
Solution Seven: The Miticide Method
Miticide is the last solution on our list, and it is listed at the end for a reason. Miticides are rather harsh chemicals used to kill mites, and there are many different types on the market. If you plan to use this method, you definitely need to do some research and ensure that the miticide that you are using will not harm the plants that you are applying it to.