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How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on Plants

Spider mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that love to feed on plant sap. The damage they cause to plants can be extensive. They multiply quickly, feeding on plant sap and leaving behind their webbing.

Spider mites are hard to see and diagnose. Therefore, many people don’t even realize they have a problem until plants start to look sick. In this article, we’ll cover how to get rid of mite eggs, how to know if you have spider mites, and how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants.

What are Spider Mites?

Spider mites are tiny, microscopic arachnids. Similar to spiders, they have eight legs. The most obvious sign of a spider mite infestation is webbing. If you look closely at the undersides of leaves, you will notice a silky webbing.

This webbing is caused by the excretion of sticky resin from the mite’s pinching mouthparts. The sticky resin causes the webbing, which looks like a fine coat of silver dust on the underside of leaves.

Also, look for tiny white eggs and webbing near the base of the plant. If you see these signs, you may have a spider mite problem.

Spider mites are very small, which makes them harder to detect than other pests. That’s why many people don’t even realize they have a problem until plants start to look sick.

Recognizing the Signs of Spider Mites

The most common sign of spider mites is yellowing or sick leaves. Healthy leaves should look green and lush. Yellow leaves are the first sign of a nutrient deficiency.

Other signs include:

Stunted growth 

If a plant is severely infected, it may not leaf out properly. Instead of normal growth, you may see new roots.

Buds drop

Buds that are wrapped in webbing may drop prematurely.

Curls and lesions 

Leaves curled under and with lesions on the upper surface may be a symptom of bacterial infections.

White powder on fruits 

White powder on fruits could be lactic acid, which is caused by bacterial infection.

Change in fragrance 

Some plants have a distinct aroma. If they start to smell odd, it could be a sign of spider mite infestation.

How do you know if you have spider mites?

There are several ways you can tell if you have spider mites on your plants.

Look for Egg Sacs

Egg sacs are the spider mite’s waste products. If you don’t kill the eggs, they will continue to hatch and spread on plant leaves and stems. Egg sacs can look like tiny yellow spider eggs that are attached to plant tissue.

Look for Webbing 

Webbing is a sign that spider mites are feeding on your plants. Look for webbing on the tops of leaves and also on stems.

Look for Green Aphids 

Green aphids are another sign you might have spider mites on your plants. Aphids are small, green insects that love to feed on plant sap. Look for these aphids on leaves and also on stems.

Look for Yellow Stippling 

Yellow stippling is a sign you have spider mites on your plants. Yellow stippling is a sign that plant sap is being depleted from leaves.

Some of these signs are easy to recognize, while others are more difficult to diagnose. The best way to know if you have spider mites is to use a magnifying glass or loupe to examine infected leaves. You can also purchase tung oil traps to catch and trap the mites.

The good news is that most plants are not susceptible to spider mite infestations for long periods. If you notice yellowing and stunted growth, it’s only a matter of time until the spider mites are gone.

You can also use pesticide sprays to get rid of spider mites. It’s important to follow instructions and use the appropriate pesticides for certain plants.

Top 7 Plants That Are Prone to Spider Mites

Citrus

Citrus trees, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits

Ornamental Crops

Prune roses to remove dead branches. Remove stray plants. Remove infected plants and their debris.

Hydroponics

Keep the root zone well-watered.

Houseplants

Keep low to the ground and shield from excessive heat. Keep the foliage dry. Remove infested leaves.

Medicinal Herbs

Cut herbs back to the base.

Roses

Prune roses to remove dead branches. Remove stray plants. Remove infested roses and their debris.

Vegetables

Be careful when planting vegetables in containers. Vegetables that go into salads.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mite Eggs on Plants

Eggs are your first defense against spider mite infestations. You can collect and destroy the spider mite eggs on your plants. To collect the egg sacs, you can use a needle to pick the eggs off of your plant leaves. You can also use a Q-tip to pick up the spider mite eggs.

Next, you’ll want to boil the egg sacs for 2-3 minutes. Once the eggs are cooked, you can pick them off of your leaves with a clean towel and throw them in the trash.

Once you kill the spider mite eggs, you can prevent new infestations from happening by following these grow room tips.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on Plants

Once a spider mite infestation is detected, the best course of action is to treat the plant with pesticide sprays. This is because most pests are easy to control once you catch them in the act.

For indoor plants, the best locations are near an air conditioner, on a south-facing window sill, and in a cool spot. These locations make plants susceptible to high temperatures.

The best time to treat indoor plants is when spider mites are spotted. That way, you can get rid of all the eggs and immature mites at one time.

For outdoor plants, you can treat them when they’re small and sprouting. That way, you kill off all the eggs and spiders before they have time to grow into dangerous pests.

For larger plants, you can wait until spider mites become large. Then, treat with pesticide sprays or for a longer-lasting effect, use horticultural oil to suffocate the mites.

Organic Remedies for Spider Mites

Here are some organic remedies for spider mites on plants:

– Keep houseplants dry.

– Remove infected plants and their debris from the garden.

– Water houseplants with a soaker hose or watering can.

– Cut back on watering when the risk of spider mites is low.

– Use good garden sanitation. Remove debris from the garden and wash your hands after working in the soil.

– Clean up pet droppings that fall in the garden.

– Keep the base of plants well-watered.

Conclusion

Spider mites are a common pest in the garden and in indoor and outdoor plants. They suck the sap out of plants and cause leaves to yellow and die. The best way to get rid of spider mites on plants is to catch them in the act and use pesticide sprays to kill them.

Written by Chris Buckland

Hello, I’m Chris. I’m a houseplant expert. I have been Cultivating and Growing Houseplants for 20 years. Plants are like my children. I love to write about Indoor plants and share my experience. That's why I started writing everything I know about houseplants.

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