Since you are here, the chances that you just declared war on spider mites are quite high. In this article, we’ll talk about the best ways to get rid of spider mites once and for good. They can take a few leaves, but they can’t take our houseplants!
Now, let’s get to it, because there’s no time to waste on creative introductions.
What are spider mites and where do they come from?
The first step in winning a war is knowing your enemy, so let’s talk about spider mites and understand where they come from and what they want from our houseplants.
Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) are arachnids and they usually appear to feast on houseplants in spring, when the weather is warming. They come in different colors (red, green, yellow, and brown) and attack the houseplants by sticking under their leaves and feeding off the plant’s chlorophyll.
They are also extremely prolific, as females can produce hundreds of eggs that will hatch in about 72 hours. This means that preventing a spider mites infestation can save you a lot of time and worry.
And if you are wondering where they are coming from, the answer is, well, from everywhere. Spider mites are windsurfers, so they can pop up on your plants without you noticing them.
How do you identify spider mites?
Getting rid of spider mites stars with identifying them, so here are the most common signs of infestation:
- White webs that form under or on the corners of the plant’s leaves and stems
- White, brown, or red spots on the plant’s leaves (that appears after they feed on the plant’s juices)
- Small dots that are moving on your plant’s leaves (those are the spider miter)
The most visible signs, however, are the webbings and the dots on your plant’s leaves.
How to get rid of spider mites
Getting rid of spider mites takes some effort and dedication, but it’s not impossible. So, let’s get to it and save your houseplant!
1. Isolate your infested houseplant and assess the damage
The first step to get rid of spider mites is to make sure that they don’t spread to your healthy houseplants by isolating the infested plant.
Assess the damage done to your plant and prune the leaves that have visible signs of damage.
2. Use natural methods to get rid of spider mites
If you don’t have miticides, a first solution would be trying the following natural methods:
- Spray your plant with pressure water
By spraying your plants with pressure water you’ll get rid of the spider mites web and the dust from the leaves. You can attach a nozzle to your garden hose and carefully shower your plant. Make sure to pay more attention to the undersides of the leaves, since that’s the favorite spot for spider mites.
This procedure has to be repeated in order to be effective and it’s also recommended to shower your plants from time to time to prevent another infestation.
- Introduce natural predators
Another way to get rid of spider mites is to introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, or spider mite destroyers to the affected areas. These insects can be purchased from nurseries, are quite effective, and don’t present a threat to you or your plants.
3. Use chemical control to get rid of spider mites
Before using chemical control, keep in mind that these solutions will kill all insects, not only the spider mites.
- Use Neem Oil
Neem Oil is a gardener’s best friend since it’s a safe and non-toxic pesticide that works. It will solve your spider mites problem, as well as several other issues like aphids, mealybugs, or whiteflies.
Make sure to follow the instructions from the product’s package for the optimal level of efficacy.
- Use miticides
Miticides are chemical solutions specially designed to kill mites. These products are not that friendly and can be toxic to humans. Before picking a miticide, make sure to do some thorough research. Also, don’t forget to check if the miticide you’re picking is recommended for the plants you want to use it on.
How to prevent a spider mites infestation
Preventing a spider mites infestation is another daunting activity, but it’s way better than having to deal with those tiny, annoying arachnids.
- Carefully check your new plants – before getting a new plant and adding it to your indoor garden, make sure to check its leaves for the signs of an infestation.
- Clean your houseplants’ leaves – spider mites love dusty leaves, so make sure to wipe your plants’ leaves frequently.
- Increase the level of humidity – since spider mites love warm, dry environments, a high level of humidity will discourage them from sticking around. You can use a humidifier or spray your plants from time to time.
A spider mites infestation is not fun to deal with, but it can still be treated. The best thing you can do is to make sure it won’t happen by checking your plants’ leaves frequently. However, if the damage has been done and the mites established a colony in your home, it’s time to take action! With a little bit of determination, you’ll manage to get rid of them.