Finding out about spider mite infestation damaging one of your indoor plants is a frustrating experience. These little monsters are lethal to plant life, and getting rid of them immediately is critical as they can spread pretty quickly.
Luckily, there are several ways you can use to get rid of them, and we’ll discuss the best ones in this guide. So, let’s get started.
What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are a type of arachnid, relatives of scorpions, ticks, and spiders. They aren’t dangerous to human beings, but they can wreak havoc on your indoor as well as outdoor plants. They’re classified into different types, including two-spotted, spruce, strawberry, carmine, and Southern red spider mite.
However, the two-spotted spider mite is the most common type. These arachnids live in colonies, can lay hundreds of eggs, and their population explodes within weeks.
How to Identify Spider Mites
It’s difficult to find out that you have a spider mite problem because of their small size. In addition, you can’t see their eggs with naked eyes, and that’s why most people fail to discover spider mites until their population has exploded.
Spider web on plants, yellowing around the leave’s edges, and spotting on plant leaves are some telltale signs of this infestation. You’ll find fine webbing on the leaf joints and underside of the plant’s leaves. If your whole plant appears to be mottled yellow, you might need to discard it to save other houseplants.
Important Note: If you buy a new plant, we recommend you keep it away from healthy house plants for at least a week. Use a damp cloth to wipe the leaves of the new plant and keep an eye on it to find out if it shows any signs of spider mite infestation.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on Indoor Plants – Easy Methods
The following are some natural and safe ways that you can use to control spider mites.
Using a mixture of warm water and liquid dish soap or castile soap is a great way to get rid of these arachnids, as the insecticidal soap will suffocate them. All you need to do is combine one teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 32 ounces of lukewarm water. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle and periodically, twice a week, spray the solution on the plant that’s suffering from the mite infestation.
Rubbing alcohol can kill spider mites effectively by dehydrating them, and using this method is also very simple. Grab a piece of cotton or tissue paper and dab some rubbing alcohol onto it. Next, swipe the tissue paper or cotton gently over the affected area by holding a leaf taut. After a couple of hours, cast off the dead mites from infested plants using a garden hose.
Neem Oil is a natural pesticide, and it effectively controls spider mite infestations. It’s a horticultural oil that is non-toxic to plants, humans, and pets. Mix one tablespoon of neem oil with 32 ounces of water in a spray bottle and spray the solution over the infested plants.
Important Note: Chemical pesticides can damage your sensitive plants a great deal. That’s why you should use organic pesticides and avoid spraying them on the entire plant.
Using rosemary oil is yet another great way to get rid of spider mites. It’s a plant and pet-friendly substance that can kill mites quickly. Mix 32 ounces of water with one teaspoon of rosemary oil and spray it over the infested plant. You can also use this solution on vegetables and fruits.
Encouraging natural predators such as ladybugs, thrips, and lacewings can also help you control spider mite infestation. The best way to do this is to avoid using chemical pesticides. You can also provide a water source and shelter to attract these insects.
Spider mites thrive and spread in dry environmental conditions. Keeping humidity levels high to minimize dry air is one of the best ways to kill them. We recommend you mist your houseplants regularly to increase the humidity levels and get rid of affected plant parts to eliminate adult spider mites and eggs. Another great way to keep the humidity high in your home is to add a humidifier.
Treating Spider Mite Damage
The methods discussed above will allow you to get rid of spider mite infestation. After that, you’ll need to take care of the damaged and infected areas to make sure your houseplants continue to thrive.
Prune Affected Leaves
A leaf of a plant may get damaged too much to save, but it certainly doesn’t mean that you should discard the entire plant. All you need is to cut the disfigured or browned foliage to keep the rest of the plant healthy.
Make sure that you place the damaged leaf in a plastic bag before discarding it. You can use the same technique to get rid of all the infected areas so that the nutrients aren’t wasted on the dying part of the plant.
Isolate New Plants
If you think your indoor plants have been infested by predatory mites, place your new houseplants away from the affected ones. Bear in mind that spider mites can easily go from one plant to another. So, keeping the infested plants away will help you ensure that these predatory mites don’t spread to damage other plants.
How to Prevent Spider Mites from Damaging Houseplants
Spider mites can be highly destructive, and maintaining appropriate soil moisture and keeping your plants healthy are the two best methods to prevent them. You want to make sure that the humidity level around your plants is more than 60 percent to keep mites and other houseplant pests from thriving. Check that your plants are getting all the essential nutrients they need, and keep an eye out for signs of spider mite infestation.
Identifying and getting rid of spider mites on indoor plants doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Although it can be time-consuming, using the right methods discussed in this guide will help you keep your indoor plants healthy.