What You Should Do To Protect Your Plants From Rust Mites

Rust mites

Rust Mites are a common household pest of indoor plants (any plant really, but especially potted plants). The main way to identify that your house has rust mites is to see the webs they create on the leaves and stems of your plant. 

If you’re like me, you may never know what these things look like until it’s too late. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of rust mite infestation.

What are rust mites?

Rust Mites are tiny spiders, about the size of a dot. They create webs on the leaves and stems of plants to catch insects as food. They lay their eggs in the webs to produce more rust mites.

What do rust mites look like?


The most common way to identify rust mites is by their webs, which are located on the leaves and stems of plants. If you see these web-like lines, it’s a sign that these pests can be found in your home.

As mentioned before, the main way to help prevent rust mite infestation is to reduce moisture. When moisture is at an appropriate level, Rust Mites will not leave the plant and cause damage. Another helpful tool for controlling rust mites is providing your plants with good lighting conditions. This will also help prevent water buildup on the leaves and stems of your plant.

For additional protection against rust mites, mist your plants regularly or try using neem oil as a spray or dip to protect them from these pests.

Prevention of Rust Mite Infestation

The most important step to take if you want to protect your plants from rust mites is to make sure that you keep the humidity of your house high. Humidity levels should be well above 20%. Rust Mites thrive in low humidity, so this is a good way to prevent them from coming into your home. You can also try moving your plants into a room with a little bit more light, or you could use an air purifier or humidifier.

Treatments for Rust Mites

One of the most effective ways to rid your house of these pests is to prevent them from reaching your plants in the first place. One way to do this is by using a humidifier in your home. 

Humidity keeps the air moist and prevents rust mites from developing into adults and reproducing. Another option for prevention is to cover your plant’s container with a plastic or metal mesh lid or barrier, which prevents pests from climbing up and reaching your plant.

If you do have rust mites, there are some treatments that may help get rid of them without harming your plant. One treatment that can be helpful is boric acid, which can be sprinkled on top of the leaves and stems of your plant. 

Boric acid works as an insecticide and it also kills rust mites and their eggs. If you don’t want to use boric acid, another option is neem oil, which also works as an insecticide but it doesn’t kill any beneficial insects around your plants while killing off the rust mites slowly over time.


Are rust mites harmful?

Rust mites are generally harmless in and around the home, but can damage plants and flowers. They can be found on tomatoes, beans, peas, potatoes, and many other plants.

Do russet mites live in soil?

No, russet mites do not live in soil. These mites live in grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and other grass-feeding insects.

What does sulfur do to russet mites?

Sulfur is toxic to russet mites, and will kill them if applied according to label directions. If you notice mites in your garden, you may want to start applying sulfur before the mite population becomes very large. The best way to prevent mite infestations is to keep your plants healthy and free of insect pests. Sulfur may damage the appearance of Hosta leaves so it is important to use sparingly and only when necessary.

Written by Chris Buckland

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