How To Kill & Remove Spider Mites on Your PlantsGreenhouse to Garden
If you have indoor plants, one of the most common problems with regards to pests or insects is spider mites. These tiny little insects can multiply rapidly and can cause havoc on your plants. When spider mites are left untreated, they will eventually overcome your plants, and kill them.
Spider mites are very common and we will explain to you how to kill these insects in the section below. But first, what are spider mites and how do you know when you actually have them?
Spider mites are very small white, brown, or red insects. They are less than 1.0mm in size and their eggs are nearly undetectable to the human eye. Spider mites are attracted to plants and thrive in warm and dry climates. Most people begin to see spider mites on their indoor plants in the late fall and in the winter when the indoor temperature is nice and warm and the humidity is low.
How to Spot Spider Mites
Usually by time you have spotted spider mites on your indoor house plant the infestation has already begun and you must begin your assault. Most people first notice spider mites when they see little white specs moving across the plants foliage. These specs look like dust, but in fact they are adult spider mites. Another key indication of spider mites is “webbing.” These little critters will create webbing between foliage which will act as a shelter for them.
Spider Mite Life Cycle
As we noted earlier, spider mites are very destructive to house plants especially given their small size. Spider mites like to reproduce, and a single female will lay over 20 eggs per day. The eggs will typically hatch within 3 days and the juvenile spider mites will mature within 5 days. The rapid rate of maturity and reproduction is why spider mites can overtake a plant within weeks.
How Do Spider Mites Damage and Kill Plants
The way spider mites stay alive is by feeding on your house plants. The teeth of a spider mite will puncture the outer skin of your plants foliage and will extract the liquid from within. Eventually, your plant will become drained of its moisture and the foliage will be riddled with very small bite marks. This will in turn lead to the death of your house plant.
How to Kill Spider Mites (DIY)
If you see spider mites on your house plant, you can kill them with a very simple and free homemade spray solution.
Step 1: Get a spray bottle and fill it with one liter of cold water
Step 2: Get some mild dish soap (i.e dawn) and pour 1 tbsp into the spray bottle
Step 3: Liberally spray your plant. Make sure to spray the top of the leaves and the bottom of the leaves.
Step 4: Repeat every 2-3 days until the spider mites are gone (may take around 2 weeks).
This is a known method to get rid of spider mites without harming your plants. The dish soap and water mixture does not instantly kill the spider mites but actually suffocates them and slowly breaks down their shell/skin. I have found this method to work most of the time, but, if your spider mite problem is out of control, you will need to bring out the big guns!
How To Kill Spider Mites (Store Bought Products)
If you have used the soap and water method to try and kill your spider mites without any luck after a few weeks, it’s time to changes things up. Your next best approach will be to use a commercial grade insecticide soap spray or aerosol spider mite killer. Below are two really good spider mite insecticide killers that works very well without killing your plant.
We recommend the Safer’s Insecticidal Soap 500ml Concentrate. This product is safe for humans and the plant and works wonders on getting rid of spider mites. It is a bit pricey, but as a last ditch effort, it’s totally worth it.
Last but not least, another great option to get rid or spider mites is by introducing a predatory mite into you grow room or plant foliage. This is an expensive course of action so we only recommend it if the plant you are trying to save has a lot of value or if you are trying to save an entire greenhouse or grow room.
Predator Mites are true killers that can’t go long without food, and their favorite meal is spider mites!! It is important to note that predator mites will not affect or eat your plant. Their primary goal is to eat spider mites and once there are no more spider mites to eat, they will die off of starvation.