Spider mites are really small pests that can cause BIG damage to your plants. A small number of mites can grow into very high populations. By sucking cell contents from leaves these pesky pests will make the leaves on your plants turn yellowish.
If you want to remove their infestation, you need to know what species of mites you are dealing with and how to distinguish them. The second important thing is to find out how to prevent hideous spider mites and remove them in your garden and indoors. All this instructive information and even more you will find in this article.
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What are spider mites and how to distinguish them
If you noticed that your plants have speckled, bronzed appearance, then you have spider mites on your property. Brown or yellow flecks on plants are a noticeable symptom of spider mites’ presence. Spider mite is tiny like a grain of sand. These common pests have oval-shaped bodies and needle-like mouthparts. Red, yellow, brown or green, spider mites come in various colors.
The yellow specks will start in a small area but will quickly spread all over the leaves. As you look at the plants’, leaves you will see yellow dots of dead cells but you will not see the spider mites.
The first sign of destructive spider mites on your plants is tiny yellow spots or specks which start in a small area and then spread all over the leaves.
It is much easier to see white eggs of these insects than spider mites themselves.
Usually, these pests accumulate on the bottom of leaves and look like tiny dots. If spider mites’ infestation is severe, there will be webbing. There is a good method to test for spider mites. Hold a piece of paper under a leaf and shake it. Do tiny specks fall on the paper? Are they moving? If the answer is yes, then these are spider mites. Want to find out how to kill mites on houseplants, weed plants and tomatoes? Click here.
Being less than half a millimeter in size these invasive pests can cause damage to your garden.
What do spider mites eat? They can eat hundred species of plants. Spider mites suck leaves’ cell contents. When they feed on plants, the leaves take on light dots and bronze color. Soon they turn reddish or yellowish and drop off.
Spider mite life cycle
A female mite can lay hundred of eggs during her four week life span. In 3 days the eggs hatch.
Before becoming an adult, the newly hatched plant mite goes through such stages as:
- protonymph (first nymphal stage),
- deutonymph (second nymphal stage).
The time from egg to an adult can take as less as one week. It depends on weather. Dry and hot conditions cause faster growth of spider mites.
At first larvae are colorless. But when newly hatched microscopic mites begin to feed (they do it immediately after hatching), larvae develop color. You can easily recognize spider mite adults by 2 dark spots on their bodies.
With less available food and falling temperatures, female mites enter diapause and become of an orange color. There is a huge number of mites’ species. One of the most troublesome pests is red mite. Click here to find out more about red spider mites and their elimination.
Two-spotted spider mite
Having an extremely broad host range, a two spotted mite is considered to be one of the most destructive spider mite species that can feed on a variety of flowers, trees, shrubs, fruits, field crops and greenhouse.
Being oval-shaped two-spotted mite adults vary in color from yellow, green to red-orange. Males are smaller than females. Symptoms of two spotted mite damage appear when there are small yellow dots on the bottom of plants. Adult female lives about thirty days and may produce 100-200 small, spherical eggs.
The undersides of plants’ leaves are their favorite place to feed on. With stylet-like mouthparts they pierce and feed on plant cells. Prolonged feeding makes leaves bleached and completely damaged. The production of webbing on plant stems is the first sign of heavy mite population.
The webbing allows two spotted mites to:
- be protected from watering, rain and sprays;
- move among leaves of plants.
Due to their high reproductive potential, wide host-plant range and resistance to pesticides, it is often difficult to eliminate two-spotted spider mites.
Spruce spider mite
Spruce spider mite or as it is often called a cool season mite is another destructive mite feeding on hemlock, spruce, Douglas fir, pine and various conifers. Maximum reproduction and feeding of spruce mites takes place in fall and spring. Spruce spider mites are inactive in hot weather and active in cool weather.
It is recommended to treat spruce spider mite infestation at the end of summer or winter.
As far as these pests are the most active in cool weather, these periods of treating will be the most effective.
Spruce spider mites lay eggs at the base of needles. The eggs usually hatch in April and May. After hatching larval mites begin to feed. These pests cause yellow, brown spots at the bottom of needles when damage is light. When the entire needle becomes spotted it means that the number of mites increases.
Proven tips for getting rid of spider mites
It is difficult to eliminate spider mites. Therefore, prevention is obviously the key in the control of these troublesome pesky pests.
So, let’s find out how to prevent them from spreading:
- What they really don’t like is humid, damp conditions. Keep in mind, regular spraying will for sure suppress the ability of these pests to reproduce. Knock down troublesome pests off plans by spraying the plants with a strong steam of water.
- Control them. As soon as spider mites’ activity is diagnosed you need to implement control of these pests. This will prevent further damage of your plants and for sure minimize treatments. Insecticidal soaps or summer oils can help to control these tiny pests.
More information on spider mite control you can find here.
- Removing plants, weeds and old plant material that are heavily-infested is necessary as they may serve as a source of spider mites populations.
There are many ways and techniques to eliminate spider mites. Usually elimination of mites depends on type of infestation (moderate or heavy). The best way to get rid of spider mites involves combining the use of specific types of pesticides, insecticides with cultural practices.
Before using any product for spider mite elimination read the directions.
There are miticides that may discolor or harm some kind of landscape plants.
Some mite control products can kill only adult mites while others can also kill eggs of mites. One of the most efficient products is Talstar P. Spraying on both sides of the plants’ leaves with Talstar P leaves a long lasting effect when compared with insecticidal soaps.
Tips and products to eliminate spider mites in the house
We usually don’t know that our house plants are in danger until the leaves on them are crisp and dead. The name of this danger is spider mites. As far as these troublesome pests prefer some home plants over others, they will not infest all your plants. However, some plants in your house can be a great source of food for mites.
So, how to get rid of spider mites indoors? Consider these methods.
Do a little check up
Do the leaves on your plants look perky and healthy? Then you have no problems. But if you suddenly notice that the leaves have yellow speckles or webbing and are crispy brown, it’s time to sound the alarm. Usually, infested plants have gritty texture on the underside of leaves. This is a combination of mites and their eggs.
Treat your house plants using these proven methods:
- Wash the plants 2 times a month.
- To reduce the spread of mites remove dead leaves.
Consider the use of some control products
To remove spider mites, consider using these products:
- Bayer Advansed Insect Disesease and Mite Control Concentrate. This mite control concentrate offers systematic, 30-day protection from spider mites and diseases that may harm your houseplants, shrubs, trees and flowering plants.Watering of plants can prevent and limit mite’s infestation.
- Spider Mite Knock Out. This plant spray has a high concentration of pyrethrin that can efficiently control spider mites. The product can be use indoors and outdoors.
- Safer-Insect Killing Spray. Safer can be effectively used on houseplants as well as on flowering and ornamental plants. To eliminate mites on houseplants, spray Safer weekly.
How to kill mites using organic sprays and what can really kill these plant pests? Find out all the details here.
- Bayer Advansed Insect Disesease and Mite Control Concentrate. This mite control concentrate offers systematic, 30-day protection from spider mites and diseases that may harm your houseplants, shrubs, trees and flowering plants.
By following all these proven tips mentioned above you can prevent and limit spider mite infestation. The usage of good killing products can deter these tiny warriors from invading your garden and house plants.
Getting rid of these plant pests can be frustrating and may take some time. But if you make some efforts, you will surely remove these damaging pests.