The purpose of this article is to explain how to identify spider mites and how to treat them. Also included is information about early signs of spider mites. I will also explain how to get rid of spider mites and what causes them.
In your home and garden, spider mites wreak havoc on both indoor and outdoor plants. In addition, they cause severe damage to crops in agricultural fields.
Spider mite control at the beginning of an infestation is the key to making your plants live longer. To do that, you would need to be on the lookout for four early signs of spider mites.
These signs are explained in this guide. In addition, you’ll learn how to stop spider mites from spreading and destroying your plants.
Additionally, you’ll get answers to the most common questions homeowners ask about spider mites.
Early Signs Of Spider Mites
Spider mites hate the light. Therefore, they attack leaf undersides first. You would see discoloration or fading of the leaves’ color on the undersides.
Yellow or bronzy spots will appear on the underside of the leaves as a result of the discoloration. There will also be holes in the leaves.
The spider mite is an arachnid, but it has no fangs like the spider. Spider mites have a sucking organ in their mouths, which they use to ingest sap from the leaves.
Spider mites suck out the sap from the leaf thoroughly, causing the leaf to turn yellow or bronzy and fall.
Even when spider mites are in low numbers, it’s hard to spot them and the damage they’re doing to your plants.
You can’t see them directly since they are away from you. It is necessary to turn the leaves over to check their bottoms for spider mites.
Look for them at the bottom of the leaves with a handheld magnifying glass.
Alternatively, you can hold white paper underneath the leaves. There will be mites on the leaves when you turn them over.
It is difficult to see spider mites because they are so small. As an adult, you can only grow up to one-fiftieth of an inch. A period sign at the end of this sentence is about the same size.
An orange, a reddish, or a green spider mite can be found on a plant. These colors provide good camouflage.
Because of their small size and ability to blend in well with leaves’ colors, they can be difficult to see without a magnifying glass.
In a magnifying glass, you’ll find that they are oval-shaped and move around on the leaves’ surface. There are also one or two dark spots on the back of the mites if you look closely.
Checking out spider mites’ eggs with a magnifying glass can also reveal their eggs. Spider mites can destroy flower plants and vegetable plants in your garden and home.
In greenhouse plants, they can spread quite quickly as well. Spider infestation begins with clusters of webs on the leaves at the beginning of its growth.
Having dead leaves fall off the plants is an indication that spider mites are spreading rapidly.
Lifecycle of Spider Mites
If you don’t stop spider mites early on, you’ll soon have many dead plants in your home due to the lightning-fast life cycle of spider mites.
After hatching from an egg, spider mites reach adulthood in just 20 days. The larval stage is followed by two nymphal stages.
Translucent and cylindrical, the eggs are translucent. Due to their small size, the eggs cannot be seen with the naked eye.
You’ll need a magnifying glass for this. During the fetus’ development, the egg becomes off-white.
Nymphs, or baby spider mites, only have six legs when they hatch. When they reach adulthood, they have eight legs.
From the moment they’re born, spider mite babies eat the leaves. Female spider mites can live for only four weeks at most.
During these four weeks, a female spider mite can lay over a hundred eggs. Thus, 100 spider mites can spread in your home and garden for each spider mite!
Spider mites are not seasonal. The insects are active all year round. In order to breed and live, they only need a dryish environment and a lack of sunlight.
Plants are, of course, necessary for their diet. Spider mites are often hidden under foliage, bark, and organic debris outside.
Once a plant has been destroyed, they wait for new leaves to grow. They may also move on to another plant with green leaves.
How Are Spider Mites Attracted Or Caused?
It is believed that spider mites are attracted to the following two causes –
- The soil contains high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen
- Dusty and dry conditions
When fertilizers are overused, soil levels of phosphorus and nitrogen can become high. This increases spider mite populations.
In agricultural landscapes, spider mites are a serious problem. You can attract spider mites to your plants if you don’t water them.
Spider mites are also common in hydroponic gardens and greenhouses.
If you don’t get rid of the spider mites, the population of these mites can explode because of the dry and humid environment.
What are the ways spider mites spread?
As soon as spider mites have destroyed a plant, they move on to another one. They spread quickly because there are no natural predators in your yard or garden.
For months, they can easily hide in the soil beds and wait for the leaves to grow before eating them. Therefore, you would find holes and discoloration on leaves infested with spider mites.
Spider mites can also travel from one place to another by latching on to your skin and clothing.
You can also bring them home that way!
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites In The Early Stages?
You have spotted spider mites early on. If you don’t take any action, your plants will die.
How do you get rid of spider mites?
Spider mite removal is a relatively straightforward and easy process. Nevertheless, you should avoid using pesticides and insecticides.
We’ll explain why in a moment, but for now, let’s find out how to eliminate spider mites that harm your plants.
Step #1 – Quarantine Infected Plants
You can use this method for indoor and outdoor potted plants.
Plants infested with spider mites should be quarantined. Keep them away from healthy plants.
By using it, you can prevent spider mites from infesting other plants.
Step #2 – Water Your Plants
It is easy to kill spider mites with just water. In your garden and home plants, spider mites thrive because you might not be watering them often.
Due to that, the soil beds were dry. That created an ideal breeding environment for spider mites.
The first step in killing spider mites is to water the plants.
Don’t forget to spray the leaves and stems with water after you bathe the plants.
Take note of the web clusters that spider mites make on leaves and stems. Make sure the web clusters are also watered. Add a bit of soap to the water to give it more punch.
The perfect homemade spider mite killer is soapy water. In addition, it kills wood mites, which also damage plants.
Keep your plants’ leaves moist by spraying water often to prevent further spider mite attacks.
Step #3 – Clean Your Garden And Yard
Under vegetation and organic debris, spider mites can be found.
Therefore, you should maintain a clean and moist garden and yard.
The spider mites won’t breed if that happens.
Step #4 – Cut Down The Overuse Of Fertilizers
Sometimes, fertilizers are essential for the growth and health of plants.
However, too much fertilizer can be counterproductive.
In addition to damaging the soil (because it increases the phosphorous content of the soil), it also damages the plants.
Step #5 – Introduce Predatory Mites
There are many natural predators of spider mites that you can use to kill spider mites. It is safe for humans, pets, and plants to use these spider mite predators.
Aphids, moths, spider mites, and many other damaging pests are killed by these beneficial insects.
You will also find the predatory mite Neoseiulus (Amblyseius) Californicus, which eats spider mites and kills them.
Also, P. persimilis is a great choice when it comes to predatory mites. Following the first four steps, they will kill any spider mites left behind.
You can also release these predatory mites as a first step before moving on to the rest of the steps. The system works both ways.
If there are no spider mites left for predatory mites to eat, they will starve to death.
In hydroponics and greenhouses, where spider mites are not naturally preyed upon, predatory mites are an excellent option.
Step #6 – Monitor If Spider Mites Are Coming Back
Spider mites are small and can easily hide, so you must keep an eye on them if they come back. To keep the stems and leaves moist, continue spraying water.
There’s no doubt that will stop the spider mite infestation. You should keep your garden, yard, and soil beds of both indoor and outdoor plants clean.
In order to get rid of spider mites, you should spray a mixture of water and eucalyptus or neem essential oils. That’s the most effective natural way to keep spider mites at bay.
Neem, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils are effective against mites and many types of bugs and pests.
Spider mites cannot be killed with insecticide sprays. Why?
Spider mites can easily be killed with insecticide sprays if you act hastily. But don’t do it.
Due to the fact that it kills beneficial bugs and spider mite predators. Pesticides containing Carbaryl, which encourages spider mite reproduction, can make matters worse.
Using pesticides in hot weather can cause soil to dry out quickly. This will result in a spike in spider mite infestations.
Pesticide sprays for controlling pests can also harm plants. Because spider mites are arachnids rather than insects, they are killed by various types of pesticides.
In addition, they are less harmful to the environment and do not kill all beneficial insects. The Floramite SC spray is one of these miticides.
Please read the instructions on the label before using it for your own safety.
Are spider mites able to live on humans?
Spider mites cannot live on humans. Humans are not bitten by spider mites. However, they will sometimes bite humans to determine if they’re plants or not.
Although some mites bite, there are others that do not. Check out our post about microscopic bugs that bite. Bite bites are extremely rare, painless, and do not cause any side effects
Plant-killing spider mites suck sap from leaves without having a fang or mandible.
Plants are necessary for spider mites to survive.
Do spider mites infest houses?
Spider mites cannot infest a house without indoor plants.
Spider mites will confine themselves to plants and soil in the soil bed of your home if you have indoor plants.
In the absence of plants in your home, spider mites will starve to death.
In cold weather, can spider mites survive?
Yes, spider mites can survive in cold weather, even in temperatures below freezing.
The rate of their spread is higher in warm weather than in cold weather.
The warm weather allows them to breed quickly.
Early signs of spider mites are :
- Discoloration of the undersides of leaves of the plants and holes on the leaves
- Yellowish or bronzish spots on the leaves
- Web clusters on the stems and leaves
- Live spider mites on the plants
In this guide, you’ve also found out how to get rid of them. And why using pesticide sprays isn’t a good idea to kill spider mites.
Read our post now to know more about 7 Invisible Microbes That Bite And Their Solutions