Many species of the spider mite (family: Tetranychidae), so common in North America, attack both indoor and outdoor plants. They can be especially destructive in greenhouses.
Spider mites, almost too small to be seen, pass into our gardens without notice. No matter how few, each survives by sucking material from plant cells. Large infestations cause visible damage. Leaves first show patterns of tiny spots or stipplings. They may change color, curl and fall off. The mites activity is visible in the tight webs that are formed under leaves and along stems.
The University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources division’s Integrated Pest Management website says the following about the damage mites cause:
After mating, females continuously produce as many as 300 eggs over a couple of weeks. Hot, dry weather favors rapid development of these pests. During such conditions the time it takes to pass from egg to adult may occur in as little as 5 days. There are several overlapping generations per year.
These tiny sucking pests can quickly wreak-havoc on indoor and outdoor gardens. Here’s the natural, organic way to get rid of spider mites FAST!
Most mite species overwinter as eggs on the leaves and bark of host plants. In early spring, as temperatures warm, tiny six-legged larvae begin hatching and feed for a few days before seeking shelter where they molt into the first nymphal stage. Nymphs have eight-legs and pass through two more molts before becoming mature adults.
- Prune leaves, stems and other infested parts of plants well past any webbing and discard in trash (and not in compost piles). Don’t be hesitant to pull entire plants to prevent the mites spreading to its neighbors.
- Use the Bug Blaster to wash plants with a strong stream of water and reduce pest numbers.
- Commercially available beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewing and predatory mites are important natural enemies. For best results, make releases when pest levels are low to medium.
- Nuke Em, a relatively new organic insecticide containing food-grade ingredients, works fast and kills most indoor gardening pests at the egg, larvae or adult stage. Best of all, it does this without leaving a residue on the leaves that can impact flavor.
- BotaniGard ES is a highly effective biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus that attacks a long-list of troublesome crop pests – even resistant strains! Weekly applications can prevent insect population explosions and provide protection equal to or better than conventional chemical pesticides.
- Mix Pure Neem Oil with Coco-Wet and apply every 3-5 days to kill pest eggs indoors and interrupt the reproductive cycle. Make sure to spray all plant parts, including the undersides of leaves. Do NOT apply when temperatures exceed 90˚F and wait at last six hours before turning lights on.
- If populations are high, use a least-toxic, short-lived pesticide (Take Down Spray, Doktor Doom Foggers) to reduce infestations, then release predatory mites to maintain control.
- Insecticidal soap or botanical insecticides can be used to spot treat heavily infested areas.
- On fruit trees, horticultural oil should be applied early in the season or late in the fall to destroy overwintering eggs.
- Dust on leaves, branches and fruit encourages mites. A mid-season hosing (or two!) to remove dust from trees is a worthwhile preventative.
- Water stress makes both trees and garden plants more susceptible to mite infestations. Make sure your plants are properly watered.
Large populations are often accompanied by fine webbing. Host plants are many and include strawberries, melons, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, ornamental flowers, trees and most houseplants.
Spider mites are most common in hot, dry conditions, especially where their natural enemies have been killed off by insecticide use. Some of the many species common in North America are predators of the plant-feeding mites, which make up the vast majority. They are also very prolific, which is why heavy infestations often build up unnoticed before plants begin to show damage.
Found on the undersides of leaves, these tiny plant pests can wreak-havoc on indoor and outdoor gardens. Learn methods for organic spider mite control here.
Spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants is a common problem. Spider mite damage can not only make a plant look unsightly, it can even kill the plant. It is important to use a spider mite treatment as soon as possible on an affected plant in order to keep the plant looking its best and healthiest. Keep reading to learn more about how to identify and kill spider mites.
Another natural spider mite remedy is to release natural predators of spider mites around the plants. These can include:
You should not try to use a common pesticide for spider mite treatment as they are resistant to pesticides. Using a pesticide will only kill off the beneficial bugs that eat spider mites, which will only make the spider mite infestation worse.
Another effective spider mite treatment is to use an insecticidal oil, like neem oil, a horticultural oil or a dormant oil. You can also try using a miticide, as this will kill them.
Spider mite damage may also include a telltale spider web type webbing on the plant. Spider mites are arachnids and are related to spiders. They produce webs in order to protect themselves and their eggs.
One natural spider mite remedy is to simply spray down the plant with a nozzled hose. The force of the stream of water is enough to knock most of the spider mites off of the plant.
It is very difficult to see spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants with the naked eye because they are so small, but if you suspect that your plant has spider mites, you can hold a piece of paper under the leaves of the plant and shake them gently. If it is spider mites, specks will fall on the paper that looks similar to pepper.
Initially, spider mite damage will appear as small yellow or brown spots on the leaves of the plant. If the plant is badly infested, the plant’s health will suffer, it may develop completely yellow leaves and it may stop growing.
Spider mites on houseplants and garden plants is annoying and unsightly, but you do not have to let spider mite damage kill your plants. Knowing what spider mite treatment works means that you can kill spider mites quickly and easily.
Spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants is a common problem. It is important to use a spider mite treatment as soon as possible to keep the plant looking its best. This article will help.