Spider Mites

Spider Mites

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Spider mite infestations can rapidly get out of hand causing significant damage to your plants- even killing them, so it’s important to take action as soon as possible!

SYMPTOMS & IDENTIFICATION

Spider mites range from red and brown to yellow and green. They are very small; almost like the size of this dot --> . So rather than looking out for the mites themselves, it may be easier to check for the damage that they leave behind on your plants. Some of the first signs of spider mites are:

  • Pale spots on the leaves, which will eventually yellow and fall off

  • Dust-like particles on the leaves or stems

  • Mottled discoloration

  • Larger colonies of spider mites may also create a fine webbing under the leaves, in crevices and at the top of the plant

spider mites

TREATMENT PLAN

Treatment:

1. Isolate the infected plant

  • Spider mites feed on many different types of plants and spread easily so keep infected plants away from others

2. Shower the plant with cold water

  • Spider mites hate anything below 4.4°C (around 40 °F)

  • The force of the water should be enough to dislodge most of the mites from the plant

3. Use a suitable pest control method

  • Insecticidal soap, neem oil or chemical pesticides are effective against spider mites and will help prevent future infestations

  • Spider mites can be controlled biologically by introducing natural predators such as lacewings, ladybugs or other Mite Predators such as Phytoseiulus persimilis. There are even beetles specifically called Spidermite Destroyers (Stethorus punctillum)

4. Increase the humidity around the plant

  • You can do this by misting your plant often or placing a humidifier close by

  • Spider mites prefer dry conditions, so this will help make the environment less hospitable for them, as well as keeping your plants free of dust (which they also like!)

Spider mites

HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS IN THE FUTURE?

Check your plants regularly for signs of mite infestation, particularly webbing. This is especially important when conditions are very dry as this is when they are most likely to attack. Also make sure that your plants stay well-watered (but not overwatered), and take extra care for plants that appear to be under stress - these are extra vulnerable to Spider mites.


QUESTIONS ABOUT SPIDER MITES

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? Spider mites are actually not really insects - they’re arachnids. They look a bit like tiny little spiders: they’re oval-shaped and eight-legged.

HOW BIG ARE THEY? These little bugs are only around 1/50-inch long (less than 1mm), meaning they are very difficult to see with the naked eye.

HOW CAN I SPOT IF THEY HAVE DAMAGED MY PLANT? Spider mites are sap-sucking pests. As a result of this, your plant’s leaves will be dotted with feeding marks, which show up as little light-coloured dots (stippling). If the infestation and damage is severe enough the leaves will yellow and eventually fall off. The plant may stop growing altogether.

CAN THEY FLY? No, luckily not! Spider mites do not have wings. However, they are ‘wind surfers’, meaning that they can be carried by the breeze on their webs. Therefore, it’s important to carefully dispose of any infected material and remove all webbing to avoid the spread of mites to other plants. Put any infected plant parts in the trash - don’t try to compost them.

HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE? When conditions are ideal for spider mites (i.e. warm and dry), eggs are laid almost continuously. It’s necessary to apply multiple treatments to be sure you get them all. Otherwise, you risk only removing the adults and not eliminating future generations. There are many different types of spider mites, so the length of their life cycle can vary greatly: anything from just 5 days to a month. However, the treatment for each type is the same, so it’s not necessary to try to identify the exact type of spider mite on your plant.