There are thousands of species of mites, so this article addresses the household plant spider mite as a pest and some simple as well as aggressive ways to eradicate them as well as prevent them. Spider mites can destroy plants and they are typically very difficult to see. Most of the time the unwary gardener discovers them only after a massive infestation.
Spider mites are barely visible to the human eye, but you can spot them with a magnifying glass easily. A 5X magnifier works well and you should have one in your gardening tool kit. Spider mites live underneath the leaves and you’ll find them primarily toward the bottom of your plant – they don’t particularly care for the greener foliage. The eggs look like tiny little pearl clusters. Spider mites create webs that look like a pile of debris underneath the leaves. It’s a sort of webbing, which looks like a spider web. That’s how they got their name. Once you know they are there, you should start with natural remedies first and get more aggressive as you try to rid yourself of the problem.
The first remedy you can try is to blast your plants with water using a misting sprayer. This is your first line of defense home remedy for killing spider mites. You’ll need to spray the undersides of the leaves since that’s where spider mites live. Spraying just the tops of the leaves will have little to no effect. Spraying with water is the first line of defense against spider mites, and it can be time consuming. However, it’s still the best method for the health of your plant.
If you have your plants indoors, and you can bring them outdoors, all the better. Be as gentle to your indoor plants as you can, since they will be weakened by the spider mite infestation. You will need to spray every couple of days to control the problem. If you find more than about 10 mites per leaf, you are facing a more severe problem, and you’ll need to try other methods to get rid of the problem. If your plants are already outdoors, they are probably more hearty, and you can follow the advice in the video above.
Ladybugs eat spider mites. Plus, you can buy ladybugs online or at a garden store for your garden. Simply let them loose in your garden and they will do a good job of defending your plants. The down side is of course…that you may end up with a ladybug problem. Go figure. Ladybugs won’t eat your plants though, so it’s an option you will need to determine for yourself whether or not it is viable for you. You can also buy predator mites by the gram or per one thousand, but it’s an expensive way to go. The idea with predator mites is to re-establish an environmental balance in your garden.This solution will not rid your garden of destructive spider mites, but if your garden is very large, it may be a solution you may want to consider.
You can add just a little bit of dish soap and perhaps a little essential oil such as neem oil to your sprayer water before spraying. this will add a lot of effectiveness to your spraying efforts. Start with tiny drops added to your sprayer. This is perhaps the best alternative to pure water for indoor gardens.
Using pesticides to rid your plants of spider mites is of course, the least desirable method to go with because the pesticide may render your plant unsatisfactory for human consumption. It is very difficult, if not impossible to clean the pesticide off of your plant. Also, pesticides are a short-term solution at best. Once you begin using pesticides, you’ll probably need to continue using them. However, if, as a last resort, you decide to use a pesticide, then Bayer makes a product that works quite well.