Spider mites, being almost invisible to the human eye, actually not only irritate but also assault the house plants, trees, flowers, shrubs, garden fruits, and vegetables. It becomes practically very difficult to get rid of them.
Though it is very difficult to get rid of them you can use some homemade remedies, or chemical pesticides, or biological control methods for getting rid of them.
What are spider mites?
Spider mites, as apparent from their names, are tiny mites belonging to the Tetranychidae family of arthropods.
Spider mites belong to the family of ticks with an oval shaped body and the size of a single sugar grain. You can see them clearly under a magnifying glass or the light of a microscope.
Though these mites range in several varieties, the most common among them all is the two-spotted spider mite. There is a dark spot on both sides of this mite and it prefers to live in the form of colonies by clinging under the leaves with a life span of three to four weeks.
They take the plant chlorophyll as their food source. Even with this short life span, they can reproduce hundreds of larvae. The female starts to lay eggs when it is 5 days old and after 72 hours baby mites come out of those eggs.
What do spider mites look like?
Though the spider mites are visible to the naked eye, the shape and body type are not apparent because of their diminutive size. However, if you see from a magnifying glass, the spider mites would appear as oval-shaped pests with eight legs and two eye spots at the head. Females are quite different from the males having a large blotch on either side of the body. Besides this, the females also have bristled over the body and legs too.
Where do spider mites come from?
You may be carrying the mites along with you without even knowing. Mites can be present anywhere, in your shoes, your clothes, or your pet’s skin. But if we talk about spider mites precisely, they tend to appear from plants. The garden soil may develop spider mites, which can multiply in a matter of hours. And before you know, your garden is inundated with the worst of the garden pests.
What are the favorable conditions for spider mites’ growth?
Spider mites are likely to grow and multiply in garden soil with a high content of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If the plants are rich in nitrogen and carbohydrates, spider mites may thrive on the leaves or other green parts of these plants. They feed on the extracts and cell content of the plant; hence if the plant is high in carbohydrates, spider mites may spread vigorously. The environment that is most liable for mite growth is a hot and arid environment. However, they can also grow in humid conditions.
Getting rid of spider mites:
Once expanded, spider mites may scare the hell out of the gardeners to leave the garden. But they should be taken care of as soon as possible, to minimize the hazard that the mites can cause. But before treatment, confirm the presence of spider mites by checking the leaves with a magnifying glass. After you have confirmed the presence of the mites, it’s time to start looking for the methods to control the mites.
Here is a list of ways that can help you get rid of spider mites from your garden.
How to get rid of spider mites with essential oils:
Essential oils are not just confined to beauty and health purposes; you can use them for tons of other benefits too. The strong aroma of essential oils repels insects and pests, and sometimes it can also kill the pests and work as a pesticide. The chemicals in essential oils stimulate the brain of the insects, causing them to destroy their nervous system.
Essential oils are the most organic and environment-friendly way of treating spider mite infestation. Many different essential oils have been used against spider mites as an effective pesticide. Some of the oils that you can use for your garden are peppermint essential oil, rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, lemon essential oil, and pennyroyal essential oil.
By using rosemary essential oil:
Rosemary essential oil is one of the best oils in treating spider mite infestation in your garden. The best thing about this oil is its kind nature; rosemary will eradicate the spider mites without harming your garden. Making the mixture is the easiest thing to do; all you need is a few drops of rosemary essential oil, water, and a spray bottle. Mix both ingredients in a spray bottle and spray on the plants where you see the signs of spider mites.
By using neem tree oil:
Neem essential oil is another great pick for getting rid of spider mites. Neem tree oil can kill the spider mites without harming the plants. You can mix neem oil with water to make your own DIY insect repellent, or you can buy any neem oil-based pesticide from the local stores or nurseries.
How to get rid of spider mites with soap:
Another great way to treat spider mites is to spray them with a soapy water mixture. Any no detergent soap will do good in eradicating the pests from your garden. Mix 4 to 5 tablespoons of any detergent-free liquid soap in a big jar (1 gallon considerably) now fill the jar with warm water. Now shake well, so the water and soap get mixed; after that, pour the mixture in a spray bottle. That’s all; your miticide is ready.
Spray this mixture on the parts where you see the most colonies of the spider mites and leave to rest. Leave the mixture for two to three hours so the mites will get suffocated to death.
How to get rid of spider mites with other organic compounds?
Besides essential oils, many other compounds can also be used as a controlling agent for spider mites.
By using pyrethrum:
Pyrethrum is basically a dried and powdered flower of Chrysanthemum cinerariafolium. These flowers contain compounds having insecticidal and miticidal properties. They kill the mites by paralyzing the brain, stopping all the functions of the mites. You can use it as a powder and sprinkle it on the soil and plants, or you can mix it with water and spray it on the affected areas.
By using diatomaceous earth:
Diatomaceous earth, a powdered form of ocean plants diatoms, is an effective miticide. The mode of action of diatomaceous earth is that it is a desiccating agent. It removes all the moisture and fluid from the mites cells, leaving them dead. All the cell content is collapsed as it needs water to survive. Diatomaceous earth is a great prevention and curing agent for spider mite infestation.
How to spot spider mites in soil?
No matter if you’re planting indoor or outdoor, spider mites can invade both soils. Spider mites feed on the plant material or residue present in the soil, and hence they lay eggs and grow rapidly into the soil. The warmth of the soil also provides an ideal living situation for the pests, and they become more in more in number. If you see silk webs on your garden soil or around the leaves or flowers, there is a good chance your garden has got these nasty pests.
You can control spider mites in the soil with the help of the following steps.
Leaving natural mites predators into the soil
Inducting cannibalistic mites to the soil
Organic fertilizers with mild insecticides.
Treating spider mites from indoor plants:
If you have seen white or yellow spots on your indoor plants or if there are webs growing on your indoor plant’s leaves and flowers. You have a spider mite attack. But you don’t have to worry about that, a little care and the use of the right tactics can help you get rid of spider mites from indoor plants. Make a mixture of soap in water and spray it on the areas you think have the highest number of mites growing in. After that, leave it for a few hours and then wash it off with water. Repeat the same process several times to get rid of spider mites completely.
A quick tip here: Before spraying the soap mixture to the entire plant, test it on a small patch to check if the plant is alright with the soap mixture.
Additional tip: Besides the above-mentioned ways, you can also avoid spider get rid of spider mites from growing into tomato plants or many other plants during flowering by spraying water forcefully on the whole plant. The spraying should be forceful enough to knock off all the possible mites from the plant without damaging the leaves or flowers.