Early Signs of Spider Mites – How to Detect and Prevent Infestations

Spider mite infestations can be pretty lethal for your garden plants. These mites seem quite tiny, but they do pack a serious punch. Spider mites are one of the most common pests found on the interior landscape, and they have more than 1200 species.

You can see them easily with a naked eye, so they can do pretty serious damage. This guide will explain what you can do to detect and control spider mites infestation.

So, scroll down to read further.

Early Signs of Spider Mites

So, what are the early signs that you need to keep in mind and see to detect the presence of spider mites on your plants? It is important because spider mites can wreak havoc on your indoor and outdoor plants. They can also cause severe damage to your crops in those agricultural fields.

Therefore, you must control these spider mites at an early stage. Doing this will allow you to make your outdoor and indoor plants live longer. However, you have to be very alert for that. Here are some signs that you need to see to determine whether your plants have spider mites or not.

Checking under the leaves

Spider mites do not like light; therefore, they start from the undersides of the leaves. Hence, you will notice fading or discoloration of these leaves on their undersides. As a result, brownish or yellowish spots will appear on the undersides and holes on the leaves.

Leaves turning yellow and brown

These mites are arachnids, but they don’t possess fangs similar to spiders. They have a sucking organ within their mouth, and they use it to suck the sap from the leaves. When they do so, the leaf turns brownish or yellowish.

Spotting spider mites can be pretty strenuous, and their damage the plants when there are not many. They are not easy to see because they are too small and are not in direct sunlight.

You have to check the bottom of the leaves and whether these mites are there. You can also use a magnifying glass and check these mites at the bottom of the leaves. Another way to check is to hold white paper right underneath the leaves.

When you turn the leaves, some mites will fall off the paper. These are tiny critters, and an adult can only grow up to 1/9th of an inch. It’s the size of the “full stop” in any sentence.

These mites are orangish and reddish or even green. These colors camouflage them with the leaves. Their small size and their colors make them difficult to see.

Look for the eggs

When you observe them under a magnifying glass, you will see they have an oval shape and move around the leaves’ surface. If you look at them closely, you will know they have one or two dark spots. Moreover, you might see a few eggs along the way too.

There will be webs

These mites can also spread greenhouse plants pretty fast. At an early stage of an infestation, you will see different clusters of webs on the leaves. Any falling or dead leaves around the infected plant tells you that these mites are spreading fast.

Life Cycle of Spider Mites

If you cannot spot these mites earlier, you will have multiple dead plants in your home or garden pretty soon. It is because these spider mites have a pretty fast life cycle.

It only takes them 20 days to hatch and become adult spider mites. They grow through their larvae stages and a couple of nymph stages during this time. Spider mites have translucent eggs and are cylindrical. You cannot see them with the naked eye as they are tiny.

To spit these eggs, you will have to use your magnifying glass. When the fetus develops within the egg, it starts turning white. When baby spider mites or nymphs come out of their eggs, they only possess six legs.

And when they reach adulthood, they develop 8 legs. These babies start eating leaves right from day 1 in their lives. Females can only live up to 4 weeks and can lay more than 100 eggs in these four weeks of their lifetime.

So, for each mite, 100 more can grow in your home, and the worst part is that they don’t have a specific season to spread. They need some lack of sunlight and a dryish place to breed and live around the plants.

These mites can hide under the bark, foliage, or organic debris. And once they destroy one plant, they wait for the next leaf to grow or move to the next plant.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites the Easy Way?

There are two different ways to get rid of these spider mites. You can either get rid of them naturally or chemically. The easy way is, of course, getting rid of them naturally. But keep in mind that these solutions are only best if the infestation is not too much out of control.

Biological controls

Biological control of spider mitesYou can introduce natural predators into their habitat. These include the likes of ladybugs, thrips, lacewings, and predator mites. These predators will keep the spider mite population under check.

You can keep these healing insects around by not using pesticides and going for mulch flowers and regular watering. You can also rate predatory insects and release them into your plant pots.

Essential oils

According to a 2017 study, spearmint, coriander, chamomile, and rosemary oils effectively kill the two-spotted spider mite, eggs, and adults.

For this, you will have to mix the essential oil in a water bottle and apply the solution to the affected leaves. Moreover, neem oil sprays can work against these mites as it suffocates them.

Hot peppers

Pepper extracts have been tested for their toxicity against these mites. These peepers include chili, jalapenos, bell pepper, and cayenne. These can kill up to 45 percent of these adult predatory mites. Moreover, other pepper varieties such as lemon drops and Bishop crown peppers can repel these mites.

Dish soap

According to research, mixing three tablespoons of any quality dish soap in a gallon of water and making a solution will work if you spray this solution on these spider mites. You can spray this solution on your plants once or twice a week.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol that you have around your house can effectively kill spider mites. Just soak some cotton balls in this fluid and wipe it across the foliage of those infected houseplants. Let it sit around on the planet for a few hours, and rinse thoroughly with water.

How to Prevent These Mites from Returning to Your Plants?

The two best ways to keep spider mites away from your plants are to keep these plants healthy and also ensure that you maintain proper soil moisture. You can use a soil moisture gauge to determine how much moisture your soil has.

It will enable you to water our plants and keep these critters away from them. Following are some other tips to get rid of these mites for good.

  • Make sure to mist your houseplants daily and keep the moisture level high near your plants.
  • You can use neem oil in your preventive spay and use it as a leaf polish to keep your leaves clean.
  • If you want to move your plants outside in the summer, don’t forget to debug them before bringing them back in.

The important thing is to take care of your plants and keep them healthy. It is the best way to prevent spider mite damage and keep them under check to identify any issue beforehand.

What Attracts or Causes Spider Mites – Do They Favor a Specific Plant?

The tricky part is that these spider mites can come from anywhere. You might never find where they come from. Here are some familiar places where these mites can come from.

  • Purchasing a new plant that already has mites on it.
  • Repotting plants with some non-sterile soil for potting.
  • Shifting your plants outside for the warm season.
  • Veggies and flowers are brought in from your garden.
  • They are pretty small, and they might come in from open doors or windows.

Best Way to Recover Plants from Spider Mite Damage

Recover Plants from Spider Mite DamagePlants with any spider mite damage limited to a few leaves will quickly recover, and you won’t have to take care of them. But if the damage is too much, these plants become overly stressed, and you might have to take care of them properly.

Just make sure that you protect them with an adequate amount of sunlight and also make sure that you keep their soil moist but nothing too soggy. You can feed your plants with quick-release fertilizers that are very handy in providing these plants with a quick boost of energy.

Carry on with these steps until your plants start shooting new leaves. Also, make sure you don’t transplant them or don’t make any major changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can plants recover from spider mites?

Yes, as long as the damage is not too extensive, these plants can recover from the damage caused by spider mites. You have to provide them with proper sunlight and fertilizer and keep their soil moist but not too soggy, and your plant will start recovering.

What do spider mites do to humans?

Contrary to the misconception that spider mites can live on humans, they can only bite humans, but they can’t live on us because they can only feed on plants. So, you might not feel any pain or the bite itself, but you might see some skin irritations later on in some cases.

How do spider mites spread?

These mites are so small that you might bring them to your house with your shoes, clothing, pet fur, or other infected plants. But they are small, so they can come from windows or doors.

They have a pretty small but fast lifecycle. These female spider mites can lay up to 100 eggs. So, they can multiply pretty quickly.

Are there different types of spider mites?

Yes, there are different types of spider mites as there are 1200 species of this mite that you can find based on where you live. There are red spider mites, clover mites, panonychus ulmi, oligonychus, eutetranychus, mononychellus.

How often do spider mites lay eggs?

Spider mites live for four weeks, and though they live, they continue to lay up to 20 eggs each day to lay hundreds of eggs during their lifetime.

Conclusion – Are Early Signs of Spider Mites Enough to Prevent an Infestation?

If you can identify spider mites early, it is enough to prevent their infestation. But you have to make sure you provide your plant with enough sunlight, moisture, and nutrition to thrive.

Provide your indoor plants with proper moisture and humidity, and you will be able to keep spider mites away from your plants for a long time to come.

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