It’s important to know how to get rid of spider mites since they are a common house plant pest. There are more than 1,200 species of spider mites in the family Tetranychidae! They average 1/50th of an inch long, making them difficult to detect.
Spider mites leave signs you can look for including their webbing and tiny yellow dots. Which form on leaves where they feed. If you spot these signs, it’s important to take action quickly! Some spider mites can complete their life cycle in 1 week. Allowing populations to increase rapidly.
Below we cover how to control spider mites, common species, where they come from, and prevention.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Plants
Many different spider mite treatments have been developed for control. Treatments need to be repeated to provide full control. Make sure to treat the undersides of leaves.
- Change The Environment
Spider mites like warm, dry air. Move plants to a cooler room and mist with water to create a less appealing environment.
- Neem Oil
Neem oil kills spider mites by coating them and suffocating them. Spray neem oil directly on your plants following the directions on the product label.
- Insecticidal Soap
Insecticidal soap works like neem oil by coating and suffocating mites. Spray it directly on infested plants, following the product directions.
- Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol will kill mites on contact. Spray it on the plant and allow it to dry. For delicate plants, which may be harmed by rubbing alcohol, mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water then mist the plant.
Types Of Spider Mites
- Two-spotted spider mite: The most common spider mites on indoor plants. Their bodies are yellow, green, or orange, with 1 large black spot on either side. They feed on more than 300 ornamental and weedy plants.
- Red spider mite (a.k.a. carmine spider mite): Females are red and males are clear with a single black spot. They feed on ornamental flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
- White mites: If you notice white mites in soil, they are soil mites. They don’t harm plants and can be beneficial in the soil.
Where Do Spider Mites Come From?
Spider mites are small and easily hitchhike into homes. Without being noticed on our clothing, shoes, and on pets. They can also float through the air using the webbing they make.
How To Prevent Spider Mites
Preventing spider mites is difficult. But a few things will decrease the likelihood of bringing spider mites inside.
Inspect new plants you bring indoors. Check the undersides of the leaves for webbing and shake leaves over a sheet of paper to look for adults. Quarantine new plants for several weeks to see if signs of spider mite infestation develop.
Spider mites are often introduced to indoor plants from clothing and shoes. After visiting places like a plant nursery, make sure to change your clothes and shoes before going near your plants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rubbing alcohol will kill mites instantly. Some plants will tolerate applications of rubbing alcohol without diluting but others won’t. For sensitive plants, mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Then mist the spider mites with a spray bottle. You can also apply rubbing alcohol using a cotton ball.
Plants will recover from spider mites if you catch them early. And keep treating them until they are completely gone. Multiple treatments are the key to eradicating spider mites. They will lay eggs which can take up to a month to hatch and reinfest plants.
Spider mites can live in the soil when moving from plant to plant. They cannot live in soil long term because it doesn’t provide food. The two-spotted spider mite female will overwinter in the soil in colder climates. But remains inactive during this time.
Spider mites are so tiny, we often introduce them to our plants without knowing. They can float through the air using their webbing and little wind. However, more commonly a plant gets spider mites from being carried to the area on our clothing, shoes, or on our pet’s fur.