It is critical that gardeners understand spider mites, which may be small, but are capable of damaging plants by sucking their life out of them.
Large populations of infected plants are weak appearing with a “dust-like” appearance.
It is crucial to obtain control of spider mites before their first eggs hatch. These insects can damage plants severely if left unchecked.
As common pests both inside and outside the home, spider mites are plants’ worst enemy.
A spider mite infestation is destructive, and in some cases even deadly to plants, particularly in greenhouses. Knowing how to control spider mite pests is essential for basic plant care.
The Spider Mite Not True “Insects”
As their name suggests, spider mites are small spiders that feed on plants. They are usually red or green/yellow in color.
The spider mite is not considered an insect. They are an arachnid, a species related to ticks, spiders, and scorpions.
It is oval in shape, reddish-brown or pale, and about the size of a pencil point when mature. They are smaller than adults but look similar to them.
Colonies of spider mites can be found underneath leaves. They are often visible in the daylight.
The number of mites per colony can range from hundreds to thousands.
Continuous feeding leads to yellow leaves and a dull appearance. Feeding marks appear as light dots on a leaf.
Their feeding mechanism involves piercing the leaf tissues and sucking out the chlorophyll and other plant fluids.
The mite’s evolution was driven by hot and dry conditions. Often the mite’s natural predators have been killed by insecticides.
The webs of these windsurfers enable them to disperse over a wide area.
If they are not controlled, they could stay on the plants during their life cycle, or they could move to other plants in the garden, causing the plants to cease to thrive and eventually begin to die.
Their fine webbing can be seen with the naked eye when populations become large.
Signs Of Spider Mite Damage
Annual Vegetable Crops. Melons and squash are prone to damage due to loss of leaves, resulting in sunburn and loss of yield. Crops like sugar peas and beans suffer damage due to mites that attack the pods.
Ornamental Flowers. The spider mites are an aesthetic issue. However, if they are in large numbers, they can damage houseplants. During winter, indoor houseplants, where the environment is hot and dry, are especially susceptible to infestations.
How Can You Tell If Your Plants Have Spider Mites?
Feeding marks appear on the leaf in the form of light dots. The continuous feeding causes leaves to turn yellow, giving plants a “dull” appearance.
Occasionally shaking plant leaves over a piece of white paper is an easy way to check if they are healthy.
It is impossible to see spider mites without a magnifying glass because spider mites are so tiny.
Yet, if you look closely at the white paper, you will find that the “specks” still move slowly even with eight legs.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites Organically
Preventing spider mites is the most effective method. Inspection of plants regularly will prevent infestations before they get out of hand. A magnifying glass is a helpful tool.
Pest Control Of Spider Mites With Water Sprays
Spray nozzles can be used to apply strong water pressure to kill spiders outdoors quickly and easily.
Apply water directly onto the plant with a strong jet of water. Spray the underside of leaves as well. Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle or a spray bottle.
How to control spider mites indoors?
If your plants are indoors, wipe each leaf with neem oil and a wet sponge.
Remove Heavily Infested Leaves
To eliminate mites, remove heavily infested leaves and place them in a plastic bag, seal the bag well, and discard them.
When an entire plant (especially a houseplant) is infected, you should dispose of it. Disposal helps prevent the spread of infection.
Spray A Mild Dish Soap Solution On Plant Leaves
- 1 gallon of water
- 3 tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn dish soap or Castile)
Using a spray bottle, apply the solution to the leaves, focusing on the underside. Repeat the treatment after six days if the infestation does not subside.
The leaves of some plants can be sensitive to soap solutions. If the leaves of the plant are hairy, they will hold the solution longer.
Spraying the whole plant immediately after mixing the spray solution increases the risk of leaf burning. Before spraying the whole plant, test the solution on a small area.
Spider Mites Home Remedy
The following recipes will help you kill spider mites at home.
Cayenne Pepper Mix
You can prepare a spray solution by blending whole Cayenne pepper with one cup of water. The spray can be used to remove spider mites and other small garden pests.
Garlic Spider Mite Spray
Garlic sprays are effective against spider mites when combined with a liter of water and mashed garlic cloves. Mix them overnight and strain. The mixture should be sprayed directly onto plants without diluting.
A commercial product that kills mites with wax and Cayenne pepper extract treats eggs without damaging them, requiring repeated application. The wax suffocates the mites and the pepper prevents them from eating.
Use Beneficial Insects For Biological Control
There are predatory insects and natural enemies that prey on spider mites. Examples include:
- Six-spotted thrips
- Lady beetles
- Minute pirate bug species
In addition to the predatory mites, there are predatory mites that devour spider mites, making them an effective way to get rid of spider mites.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth An Organic Pesticide
By applying diatomaceous earth, a natural mineral and a multipurpose organic pesticide, you can remove the spider mites’ cuticles and kill them through dehydration.
Boost Overall Plant Health
The probability of spider mite infestation increases when plants are stressed or infested. It is more likely that spider mites attack plants when conditions are dry and hot.
It is crucial to make sure plants receive adequate nutrition and water, adequate light and well-draining soil.
Homemade Spider Mite Killer Using 7 Essential Oils
You can use natural spider mite repellents or homemade sprays to eradicate this eight-legged nuisance. You can also use commercial repellents. Essential oils are a healthier and safer choice for natural spider mite control.
In a nutshell, essential oils:
- Smell nice
- Have a stingy and robust scent
- Work great as natural repellents
These essential oils reduce mite infestations by affecting the nervous system. Here are several effective (and pleasant!) essential oils that can help you with a mite infestation.
This essential oil extracted from neem seeds is used by gardeners as a miticide. Neem oil sprays are effective against a wide range of insect pests on plants.
- Scale insects
- … and others
Organic Neem oil is a universal natural repellent, and is said to have no odor quite as pleasant as that of lemon or eucalyptus. It works well to target infestations in pest control and shows signs of effects within a few days of treatment. Additionally, insecticidal soap can be combined with it.
The strong smell of menthol repels spider mites more than lemon. Several organic gardeners claim eucalyptus oils work like magic. The properties of eucalyptus oil are antibacterial and bactericidal.
If Eucalyptus oil is diluted before use, it has the consistency of water. This makes it very efficient, with a smooth, even distribution across the plant’s leaves.
Among the most popular pest control products is lemon oil. It is the most effective way to keep spider mites from damaging your plants.
The natural antibiotic properties of lemons make them a safe and effective medicine for plants as well as for you and your family. They pose no threat to you or your family. Plus, lemon oil also has a delightful, fresh, sharp smell!
Cinnamon is an incredibly tasty and aromatic food, widely used in international cuisine. Its scent and taste delight us, and it is used in a wide range of dishes.
In addition to its pleasant smell, this oil is also nontoxic and non-hazardous and has been proven effective at killing spider mites several times.
Cinnamon oil provides long-term protection against adult spider mites and spider mite eggs. The oil will kill spider mites on plants when applied twice a week for a few weeks.
Another very strong smelling essential oil that contains menthol is peppermint oil. It has antiseptic properties and has an intense menthol smell, like eucalyptus.
Infested plants can be sprayed with the oil extract of rosemary to kill spider mites.
Make a solution of:
- 8 ounces of water
- 1 teaspoon of rosemary oil
The oil spray solution should be applied evenly with a spray bottle.
The solution will target:
- Spider mites
- Red spider
- European red mites
- Eriophyid mites
- Persea mites
- Dust mites
- … and others that are attacking plants
This oil is effective at killing the pests, but is not harmful to the beneficial predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis.
If spraying canola oil 2 or 3 times a week, it is extremely effective at controlling spider mites. Just mix in water, then dilute it according to the severity of the infestation. A 2% solution is used for plants with severe infestations.
Mixing, Combining and Spraying Essential Oils
Essential oils can vary slightly in concentration. For organic gardening, use stronger concentrations of oils with a subtle scent. Use lower concentrations for oils with a very sharp scent (such as eucalyptus, lemon, cinnamon, or rosemary oils).
In a DIY spray, you can use a combination of two or three essential oils. For example, rosemary and peppermint work well together.
Another Homemade Spider Mite Killer Option
Prepare the solution by mixing:
- 6-8 ounces of warm water
- 2 drops of essential oil of your choice
- 1 teaspoon castile soap
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray all over the plant. You should never use pure essential oils directly on plants, particularly on areas affected by diseases. All of these “recipes” are equally effective. Spraying oils directly on leaves can kill them and do more harm than good. Always dilute oils before spraying them.
When controlling spider mites, opt for natural strategies over chemical ones. Chemicals can kill beneficial microorganisms found in soil and gardens. Test any spray solution before using a chemical or organic spider mite killer insecticide.