Spider mites are a major pest in your home and garden, wreaking havoc on both indoor and outdoor plants.
Additionally, they cause significant damage to crops in agricultural fields.
Controlling spider mites at the onset of an infestation is critical to extending the life of your plants.
However, to do so, you must be vigilant for four early signs of spider mites.
This guide will explain what those signs are.
Spider mites can be identified early by:
- Discoloration of the undersides of leaves and holes in the leaves.
- Spots on the leaves that are yellowish or bronzy in color.
- Clusters of webs on stems and leaves.
- Spider mites in their natural state on the plants.
- and more.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to prevent spider mites from spreading and destroying your plants.
Additionally, you’ll receive answers to frequently asked questions about spider mites by homeowners.
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5 Early Signs Of Spider Mites
Spider mites are averse to light. Thus, they begin with the undersides of the leaves.
You’d notice discoloration or fading of the color on the undersides of the leaves.
The discoloration will leave yellowish or bronzy spots on the undersides of the leaves. Additionally, you’d notice holes in the leaves.
Spider mites on the undersides of leaves
Spider mites are arachnids, but unlike spiders, they lack fangs.
Spider mites have a sucking organ in their mouths that they use to ingest leaf sap.
When spider mites completely sap the sap from a leaf, the leaf turns yellow or bronzish and falls.
It’s fairly difficult to detect spider mites and the damage they cause to your plants, especially when their numbers are low.
This is because both are out of your line of sight.
To check for spider mites, turn the leaves over and inspect their undersides.
Check for them at the base of the leaves with a handheld magnifying glass.
Additionally, you can place white paper beneath the leaves. When you turn the leaves over, you will notice that some mites will fall on them.
Spider mites are extremely small. Adults can only grow up to one-fiftieth of an inch in length. It’s approximately the size of the period at the conclusion of this sentence.
Spider mites are typically orange, reddish, or green in color. Both of these colors blend in well with the foliage.
Due to their small size and ability to blend in with the color of the leaves, they are difficult to spot without a magnifying glass.
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When viewed through a magnifying glass, they have an oval shape and move around on the leaves’ surface.
If you look closely at the mites, you’ll notice one or two dark spots on their backs.
Additionally, you can observe spider mite eggs while inspecting them with your magnifying glass.
These spider mites are capable of wreaking havoc on flowering and vegetable plants in your home and garden.
They can also spread rapidly in greenhouse plants.
You’ll notice clusters of webs on the leaves during the early stages of spider infestation.
Dead leaves and leaves that fall off the plants are indicators that spider mites are rapidly spreading.
Life Cycle of Spider Mites
If you do not eradicate spider mites promptly, you will soon have a large number of dead plants in your home due to their lightning fast lifecycle.
Spider mites hatch from an egg in just 20 days and mature into adults.
There are larvae and two nymph stages in between.
The eggs are translucent and cylindrical in shape. Due to their small size, the eggs are invisible to the naked eye.
A magnifying glass will be required.
The egg becomes off-white as the fetus develops within it.
Nymphs, or baby spider mites, have only six legs when they hatch.
When they reach adulthood, they develop eight legs.
Baby spider mites begin eating leaves as soon as they are born.
Female spider mites have a maximum lifespan of four weeks.
In these four weeks, a female spider mite can lay over a hundred eggs.
As a result, for every spider mite, 100 additional spider mites can spread throughout your home and garden!
Spider mites do not have a season in which to reproduce. They are active throughout the year.
All they require is a lack of sunlight and a relatively dry environment in which to live and breed.
Of course, they require plants to survive.
Spider mites conceal themselves outdoors beneath foliage, bark, and organic debris.
Once a plant is destroyed, they wait for new green leaves to grow.
Alternatively, they move on to the next green-leaved plant.
What Attracts Or Causes Spider Mites?
Spider mites are attracted to two things –
- Increased phosphorus and nitrogen levels in the soil
- Conditions are arid and dusty.
Excessive use of fertilizers can result in elevated phosphorus and nitrogen levels in the soil. This results in the presence of spider mites in the soil.
This is why spider mites are such a significant issue in agricultural landscapes.
Additionally, if you neglect to water your plants, dry conditions will attract spider mites.
Spider mites are also found in hydroponic gardens and greenhouses.
Due to the fact that these setups are somewhat dry and humid, the spider mite population can explode if they are not eradicated.
How Do Spider Mites Spread?
When spider mites are finished destroying a plant, they move on to the next.
Additionally, the absence of natural predators in your yard or garden accelerates their spread.
They can easily conceal themselves in soil beds for months, waiting for green leaves to grow in order to consume them.
That is why you will notice holes and discoloration on spider mite-infested leaves.
Spider mites cause holes to form on leaves.
Spider mites can also spread by latching on to your skin and clothing.
That way, you can take them home with you as well!
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites When You Notice The Early Signs?
Thus, you have identified the first signs of spider mites. You are certain that your plants will perish if you do nothing.
In other words, how do spider mites get rid of themselves?
Spider mite removal is a relatively simple and straightforward process.
However, you would need to avoid using pesticides or insecticides.
You’ll see why in a moment, but for now, let’s discuss how to eliminate spider mites that are a threat to your plants.
Step 1 – Place Infected Plants in Quarantine
This step is applicable to both outdoor and indoor potted plants.
Place spider mite-infested plants in quarantine. Eliminate them from healthy plants.
It will go the extra mile to prevent spider mites from spreading to other plants.
Step #2 – Provide Water for Your Plants
Spider mites are easily eliminated using only water.
Spider mites spread in your garden and house plants as a result of infrequent watering.
This resulted in dry soil beds. It’s ideal for spider mite reproduction.
Thus, the first step in eliminating spider mites is to properly water the plants.
Additionally, give the plants a bath by spraying water on the leaves and stem.
Keep an eye out for the web clusters that spider mites create on stems and leaves. Additionally, spray water on the web clusters.
Add a dash of soap to the water to amp up the flavor.
Soapy water is an excellent home remedy for spider mites. Additionally, it eliminates wood mites that cause damage to plants.
To protect your plants from future spider mite attacks, keep the leaves moist by frequently spraying water.
Step #3 – Maintain a Clean Garden and Yard
Bear in mind that spider mites live in dry soil beds beneath foliage and organic debris.
As a result, you must maintain a clean and moist garden and yard.
This will prevent the spider mites from reproducing.
Step #4 – Reduce Fertilizer Overuse
Fertilizers are occasionally necessary for the growth and health of plants.
However, excessive fertilizer use is counterproductive.
It is not only detrimental to the soil (because it increases the soil’s phosphorus content), but also to the plants.
Step #5 – Initiate the Introduction of Predatory Mites
There are numerous natural spider mite predators that you can use to eliminate spider mites.
These predatory spider mites are harmless to humans, pets, and plants.
They are beneficial insects that prey on a variety of damaging pests such as aphids, moths, and spider mites.
Additionally, you’ll find Neoseiulus (Amblyseius) Californicus, a predatory mite that hunts and consumes spider mites.
P. persimilis is also an excellent choice for predatory mites.
They will eliminate any spider mites that remain after the first four steps.
Alternatively, you can release these predatory mites as the first step before proceeding with the remaining steps.
It works flawlessly in both directions.
When there are no spider mites left to eat, predatory mites will starve to death.
Predatory mites are ideal for hydroponics and greenhouses, where spider mites have no natural predators.
Step #6 – Keep an eye out for the return of spider mites
Due to the small size and ease with which spider mites can hide, you must keep an eye out for their return.
Continue misting the leaves and stems with water to keep them moist.
This will almost certainly prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.
Keep your garden, yard, and soil beds clean for both outdoor and indoor plants.
The most effective method of spider mite control is to spray a solution of water and neem or eucalyptus essential oils. That is the most effective natural method for eliminating and preventing spider mites.
Essential oils of neem, eucalyptus, and peppermint repel mites and a variety of other insects and pests.
Why Should You Not Use Insecticide Sprays To Kill Spider Mites?
It’s all too easy to act rashly and kill spider mites with insecticide sprays.
However, refrain from doing so.
That is because it results in the eradication of beneficial insects and predators of spider mites.
Things could get worse because a number of pesticides contain Carbaryl, which promotes spider mite reproduction.
Using pesticides in hot weather can quickly dehydrate the soil. This will result in an increase in spider mite infestation.
Certain pesticide sprays can also be harmful to plants.
Because spider mites are not insects but arachnids, they are killed by a variety of pesticides.
Additionally, they have a lower environmental impact and do not eliminate all beneficial insects.
Floramite SC is one of those spray-on miticides.
However, before using it, please read the instructions on the label carefully for your own safety.
Can Spider Mites Live On Humans?
No, spider mites are not capable of living on humans.
Humans are not bitten by spider mites. However, they may bite humans on occasion to determine whether the object is a plant or not.
However, some mites bite. You can learn more about them in our post about microscopic insects that bite.
The bites are extremely rare, are painless, and have no adverse effects.
Spider mites are sap-sucking insects that lack a fang or mandible.
Spider mites cannot survive in the absence of plants.
Can Spider Mites Infest A House?
No, spider mites are unable to infest a house that lacks indoor plants.
If your home contains indoor plants, spider mites will congregate around the plants and the soil bed.
If your home is devoid of plants, the spider mites will starve to death.
Can Spider Mites Live In Cold Weather?
Yes, spider mites can survive in cold weather, even in temperatures below freezing.
However, their rate of spread is greater in warm than in cold weather.
This means that they reproduce rapidly during warm weather.
Do Spider Mites Live in Soil?
Spider mites are plant-eating mites with the appearance of small spiders. They spend the winter dormant in cool climates, but live and feed year-round in warmer regions.
Where do Spider Mites Come From?
But spider mites are most commonly found in live plants. Even plants bought at garden centers or given by friends should be quarantined for a few weeks before planting.
Signs of Spider Mites on Houseplants?
Spotting on the tops of the leaves and yellowing around the edges are telltale signs of spider mite infestation.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites Naturally
3 tablespoons dish soap in a gallon of water kills spider mites, according to Oregon State University Extension. Spray on infested plant leaves weekly as needed. Rubbing alcohol can also kill spider mites.
Can You see Spider Mites?
Spider mites are so small that they require a magnifying glass. Spider mites appear as tiny moving dots to the naked eye, but their webs are much more visible.
Spider mites exhibit the following early symptoms:
- Discoloration of the plant’s undersides and holes in the leaves
- Spots on the leaves that are yellowish or bronzy in color
- Clusters of webs on stems and leaves
- Live spider mites on the plants
You’ve also learned how to get rid of them in this guide. And why using pesticide sprays to kill spider mites is not a good idea.
Bear in mind that spider mites are extremely contagious.
They can cause significant damage to and death of plants if spider mites are not detected early.
The white mite is another type of mite that is similar to spider mites. Also referred to as wood mites, these small clear insects that live in the house cause damage to plants.