When you use plants in your home to spruce up your living environment, or maybe you are an indoor gardener who grows a few herbs to use when cooking, there are plenty of pests to look out for. Spider mites are tiny brown arachnids that are very small, about the size of a period at the end of a sentence.
These pests live in colonies and survive off sucking the fluids out of plants, effectively slowly killing them. If you have noticed these on your plants, taking care of them should be a high priority.
One of the simplest ways to take care of these pests is to get some commercially available miticides and lightly spray the infected plants. Make sure the plants are infected with the spider mites.
Often the mites are gone by the time the plant starts to wilt and show the effect of the spider mites eating the lifeblood of your plants.
Given that information, you can take steps to help prevent the occurrence of spider mites in the first place and other methods of safely taking care of the issue at hand. As you continue to read, you will find a few ways to keep your plants safe from spider mites.
Identifying The Issue
First, make sure you actually have spider mites. Some signs to look for are silver-ish and brown spots and stippling on the leaves. You may even find some excellent webbing between the stems and the bottom of the leaves on closer examination.
It might very well be that you will see the tiny pests themselves. The reason to make sure you have spider mites is to save you the hassle when trying to exterminate something that is not there.
If you notice spots but not the other symptoms, your problem might not be spider mites, and getting miticide for your plants might be hurting them more than helping.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Plants
There are many methods of getting rid of spider mites from your plants. But the first one we are going to talk about will help above all the rest.
Prevention is the first line of defense for these plant-killing pests—spider mites like plants that are dusty. So keeping your plants nice and clean should be your first and foremost line of defense.
All you will need to do is take a squirt bottle and fill it with about four cups of water and roughly one tablespoon of dish soap. You will then lightly spray and wipe the leaves of your plants.
This solution will clean the plants without having the dish soap damage them further.
Now that we have discussed prevention let us get on with extermination. Step one is to isolate the plant or plants in question. If you notice the mites, the last thing you want them to do is spread them to your other healthy-looking plants.
Once you have done this, you can proon or remove the decaying parts of the plant if you do so. Just be sure to dispose of these parts of the plant quickly and carefully to spread the issue further.
Once you have isolated the infected plants and pruned them, spray the plants with herbal-based miticides if you chose to do so. There are a few different kinds we recommend using.
First up is the Pyrethrum, a chemical derived from a relative of the chrysanthemum. To start this process, miticide is possibly the strongest. Some mite species can develop tolerance over time, so track your plants after spraying them with Pyrethrum.
Next on this list is Cinnamate. This pesticide is non-hazardous and derived from cinnamon oil. It will not kill spider mite eggs, but it will kill adult and larvae spider mites.
Spray this on your plant every three days for a few weeks to ensure you have taken care of them in their entirety. Remember, Cinnamate is best used alongside one of the others on this list.
3. Neem Oil
Third on this list is Neem oil. Neem oil is a crucial pesticide that you can use on a variety of pests. You can obtain it from the nuts of the Neem evergreen tree, which will cure the problem you are currently experiencing and act as a repellent for new critters. Since neem oil takes time to become reliable, you may need to reapply it regularly.
4. Rosemary Oil
Lastly, there is Rosemary oil. Since rosemary oil is non-toxic to humans, it can be an effective treatment for spider mites, particularly for herbs and plants that you want to harvest and eat later.
Making Your Own Miticide
If you do not want to use any of these, you can get away with making your own. Think of it as making tea.
Step 1: Make a pot of water and add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, two tablespoons of Italian seasoning.
Step 2: Lastly, you will take a few cloves (around 3 or 4) and crush them.
Step 3: Afterwards, you will add all of that into the water and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat and let it start to cool off. Leave it for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Then, you want to add two freshly crushed garlic cloves to the mixture and let it cool off completely.
Step 5: Once everything is said and done, you put it into a spray bottle and add a single drop of dish soap to your tea.
Shake the mixture well before each use and spray underneath the leaves of the infected plants, and in about 2 to 4 weeks, your mite issue should be non-existent.
If you do not want to spend extra money on premade miticides or go through making your own, you can get away with using some everyday items in your home.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
To begin, we will start by talking about Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol. Spray rubbing alcohol mixed with water in a spray bottle or use it to clean off leaves from your garden manually.
Try 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water for susceptible plants and 1 part alcohol to 1 part water for hardier plants.
If you think rubbing alcohol may be too tough on your plants, you can make a simple mixture of water and soap. Use the same mix we spoke about above: the 4 cups and 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap.
Using this formula will eventually kill the mites. However, it is the weakest option on this list and will take the most extended time to eliminate the mites.
2. Predatory Mites
Honestly, this is probably the most powerful thing you could do, but it works. If all else fails, or if you want to go above and beyond for whatever reason, you can get other types of mites to pray on the spider mites.
They do not have any particular name; they are just called predatory mites. These mites do not harm the plants themselves in any way and will exclusively hunt and eat other mites, in this case, the spider mites.
3. Ladybug Alternative
You can also use ladybugs if that is more your cup of tea. They will do the same thing, but their ladybugs look pretty while eating the pests on your plants.
This option is mainly used for more extensive gardens or commercial greenhouses rather than your own home. But if you are an outdoor gardener experiencing significant issues with spider mites, this may be the perfect solution for you.
Something to note, though, if you decide to go this route, most of the miticides we have mentioned above will also harm your predatory mites and maybe even the ladybugs as well, other than the rosemary oil.
4. Give Your Plants A Bath
One of the last options we recommend doing is just simply giving your plants a thorough wash. Take your infected plants and carefully transport them to your sink and wash them off with your spray nozzle on your sink with room temperature water.
At the same time you are doing this, pay close attention to the bottom of the leaves. The underside of the leaves is where spider mites like to congregate the most and should be the area you focus on the most.
If you choose to do this, try your best to wash all the mites down the drain less the mites might spread. Be sure to do this every few days until you do not notice the mites anymore.
5. Throw Your Plants Away
This may be the last thing you want to do, but one sure-fire way of ridding yourself of any spider mite problem is to throw the plant away. Obviously, you will lose your plant but all of the spider mites with it. This should be either the last thing you consider or the first.
Spider mites are a pain in the butt to deal with and can be the killer of any plant or garden if not cared for when you discover them. That being said, we hope to have helped you by providing you with several ways to deal with your spider mite issue.