Contents

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites

The first thing you should know is that these tiny creatures are not actually insects, they are rather related to a group of arachnids, and were named spider mites due to their ability to produce fine silk. They are parasites damaging crops, trees, and plants by sucking on the underside of leaves and thus killing the vegetation. For this reason, taking timely measures related to spider mite control is essential for farmers and gardeners facing this kind of infestation. In this article, we will tell you how to get rid of spider mites by the most effective way, including a botanical control, and will look at the 8 most popular pest control products which are commercially available. To make our research as reliable as possible, we have based our conclusions only on scientifically proven facts and referred to academic studies. Also, we have examined the consumers’ feedback on particular products.

Table of Contents:

Identifying Spider Mites

So, how do you know that you are dealing with spider mites? It’s not easy to detect them with the naked eye, without a magnifying glass, as these spiders are incredibly small in size which does not exceed 1/50 inch in length. Visually, they look like moving dots and when monitoring spider mites you will reveal a generous amount of such moving dots as they live in colonies. Fading leaves with on the top and a webbing underneath is an unmistakable sign of mite infestation. In order to make sure that you are dealing with spider mites, tap a leaf over white paper. If you see moving dots, it’s them.

Spider mites live a short life which sometimes does not exceed seven days but, as if to make up for this, they produce up to twenty generations annually. They normally overwinter in plant debris. What are the physical characteristics of spider mites? These arachnids have eight legs and an oval-shaped body, but you may encounter diverse species depending on the region. There is a number of species, the presence of which in the area varies geographically.

Two-spotted and spruce spider mites are the most troublesome species. The former has a green-yellow body decorated with two black spots. These pests feed on a broad spectrum of plants, trees, fruits and flowers, weaving webs under leaves or on branches. The female mites overwinter in the soil what should be taken into account when making a decision on pest control measures. Two-spotted spider mites may appear in your garden in the spring and can be observed in the period from June to October. And the most unpleasant part of it is that they are notably active during this time laying translucent eggs as long as the weather permits. Note that the most favorable weather for the Two-spotted spider mite is sunny and dry. These pests infest almost two hundred types of plants, whether they are crops, weeds or flowers, causing premature leaf drop.

Another species of spider mite, which hates wet weather conditions, is the European red mites which often occur on apple, cherry, and other fruit trees. They lay eggs of bright red color, either on branches, or on the leaf underside in such amounts that one would easily mistake it for powder. Spruce spider mites attack all sorts of conifers turning their needles brown. Most damage is inflicted at the base of a tree or shrub, with older needles being especially vulnerable. This species prefers a cooler temperature, which is why they are most active in the spring and autumn. To check for Spruce spider mites, look for webbings on the needles. Upon discovering them, do not hesitate to resort to pest control management as, in case of heavy infestation, trees and shrubs of small sizes can be totally destroyed by these pests. Meanwhile, do not let these creatures trick you: the thing is that the damage may not be seen until mid-summer, even if the tree was infested as far back as the previous year.

Spider Mite Control

Before treating spider mites in your garden, take some measures to create conditions unfavorable for these pests. First and foremost, remove dust with the use of water. Irrigating plants with a focus on the leaf undersides will keep them clean, make them less likely to experience a mite infestation. But remember, you have to do it on a regular basis to obtain the result.

Michael F. Potter, an extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, recommends using a garden hose to remove mites from small plants. He notes, however, that this approach will not work in case of heavy infestation. Apart from this, pull out seriously infested plants and use floating row covers to protect your garden.

When facing a severe problem involving spider mites, it makes sense to resort to chemical control. As David J. Shetlar, at the Department of Entomology, the Ohio State University Extension, put it, as a rule, because they are not insects, spider mites cannot be killed with regular insecticides, which is why only products marked with “miticide” label should be applied in this case. If the label says “for mite suppression,” then it means that the product is too weak to control spider mites and you will have to apply it a number of times to achieve the result. Mr. Shetlar stresses that most true miticides are labeled for restricted use only and are available for licensed professionals. However, there are the following miticides intended for over-the-counter sale: Abamectin, Bifenazate, Hexythiazox, and Spiromesifen.

Mind you, miticides is a very potent solution, so be sure to read the product’s instruction before application as it may damage or discolor some species of plants. Also, when spraying a miticide, it is crucial for the product to thoroughly cover the leaves, especially their undersides. Apply the product exactly to the product instructions in order to efficiently control spider mites.

Also, spraying horticultural oil and dormant oil is a good solution for homeowners, although some flowers may be damaged by these so-called “soft pesticides”. Nor should they be applied to conifers which could be discolored. When spraying insecticidal oils, take care to cover the foliage particularly thoroughly. Use horticultural oils in summer, while dormant oils should be applied during colder months of the year. Products based on these substances have a significant advantage: they have minimal impact on beneficial insects. But a disadvantage is also witnessed. Namely, the effect of these oils lasts for a short period of time and it is necessary to re-apply the substance, an article published by the University of Maryland Extension states.

Surprisingly, the application of some insecticides can encourage multiplication of spider mites, according to L. D. Godfrey, an entomologist at the University of California. The thing is that insecticides kill natural insect enemies of mites. However, it’s not the most important. Another drawback of some insecticides is that they prompt reproduction of spider mites. “For example, spider mites exposed to carbaryl (Sevin) in the laboratory have been shown to reproduce faster than untreated populations. Carbaryl, some organophosphates, and some pyrethroids apparently also favor spider mites by increasing the level of nitrogen in leaves,” the scientist claims.

Also, as long as spider mites do not consume anything they will not be harmed by chemicals functioning through ingestion.

Note that pesticides can harm human health and cause damage to the environment, therefore thoroughly read the product’s label and manufacturer’s application instruction regarding the usage, storage, and disposal of that given chemical. Always strictly follow the prescriptions.

Spider Mite Eggs

When tackling spider mites infestations, take a broader approach and treat both adults and eggs. The latter are responsible for future generations of the pests and preventing their emergence helps keep your garden safe and healthy. Spider mite eggs normally have a spherical, round shape, but, as we have mentioned above, their color may vary depending on the species.

These bite-size balls can be discovered on the underside of leaves, meanwhile, it is not an easy task to destroy them. The thing is that miticides have little or no impact on mite eggs, nor do they affect larvae and molting nymphs. Michael F. Potter from the University of Kentucky attributes this peculiarity to the fact that when molting the former skin of these arachnids make them resistant to chemicals.

Scientists at the University of Maryland Extension claim that horticultural oil and insecticidal soap have the strongest impact on spider mite eggs. Spraying is recommended early in the morning, however, take care not to treat the plants too heavily as they can be harmed. Spruce spider mites and European red mites overwinter as eggs on the plants, that is why dormant oils designed to be used in the cold months of the year are helpful in eliminating the infestation.

How To Kill Spider Mites Naturally

Sometimes nature itself does all the work for you and this is the case when you should take advantage of it. This is particularly relevant when it comes to organic gardening. Biological control implies the exploitation of insects preying on spider mites, such as ladybugs, as well as predatory mites which kill these pests. Ladybugs are commercially available but it could be impractical to buy them as they will fly away as soon as their food ends. For this reason, it makes sense to attract these insects naturally, in particular, by building or buying special ladybug houses.

L. D. Godfrey from the University of California advises using western predatory mite and Phytoseiulus mite species, which go after plant-feeding spider mites. The former one is best for the hot and dry environment. These predators can be purchased from a shop and should be released on the infested plants or trees. Actually, there is a wide range of natural enemies of spider mites that can be used in your pest control strategy. These are six-spotted thrips, the larvae of particular flies such as the cecidomyid Feltiella acarivora, and some general predators including minute pirate bugs and lace­wing larvae, to name a few. Western flower thrips are effective in dealing with both spider mite eggs and larvae. Be careful, however, in using this kind of predators as they can also harm the vegetation.

When establishing a new population, predatory mites should be purchased. But in order to achieve maximum efficiency, take care to create favorable conditions for predators to live and reproduce by avoiding the use of chemicals in pest treatment. In case of biological spider mite control, scientists recommend tackling heavy infestations by first applying soap spray to reduce the number of these plant-feeders and then putting predatory mites to do their job. You should take into account that repeated releases of predators may be needed for satisfactory control and achieving an immediate result.

It is not only predators that can be used. Below you will find tips on how to treat spider mites naturally and some homemade recipes:

  • Pepper spray. You need water and a piece of soap without additives. Mix them in the proportion nine by one, then add one tablespoon of cayenne pepper. When the liquid is ready to use, spray the bottom of every leaf in the infested area.
  • Nicotine spray. Note that commercial options are too strong and can be harmful to beneficial insects, whereas their homemade analogs have a milder impact. To make a nicotine spray, mix a cup of cigarette butts with one gallon of warm water, and add ten drops of liquid soap. The latter will help the liquid to coat the plant. Steep the mixture for a half an hour, then pour it through a cheesecloth into a container with a lid. Keep it on hand for at least 30 days, then spray the plants.
  • Use essential oils, such as rosemary, neem and lemon ones. Mix them with one liter of water and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. It will kill spider mites without damaging the infested plants. Saber Miresmailli, the Executive Science Officer of Sumatics LLC. at New York, claims that rosemary oil is good at killing spider mites, while it does not have a strong impact on predators which are beneficial. According to laboratory bioassay results, “a pure rosemary oil and rosemary oil-based pesticides caused complete mortality of spider mites at concentrations that are not phytotoxic to the host plant”.
  • Apply diatomaceous earth, which is a natural mineral and multi-purpose organic pesticide. DE kills spider mites through dehydration by removing the outer layer of their cuticles.

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites: Comparison Chart

Method Advantage Disadvantage Grade (1-10)
Removing dust environmentally friendly solution; creates unfavorable conditions for spider mites; does not involve spending money labor-consuming; should be done regularly to produce a result 10
Killing mites with a strong stream of water produce an immediate result; kills lots of mites at once; environmentally friendly solution labor-consuming; does not work in case of heavy infestation; may harm leaves of the plants; 9
Miticides produce an immediate result; kills lots of mites at once; most true miticides are available for professionals only; may damage or discolor some species of plants; encourages the spread of mites by killing the beneficial insects preying on them; mites can become resistant to various pesticides; no impact on mite eggs; 8
Horticultural / dormant oils have minimal impact on beneficial insects; unlike miticides, available for homeowners; effectively destroy eggs and larvae; can be used on a year-round basis the effect lasts for a short period of time; requires repeated applications 10
Use of natural predators environmentally friendly solution; can be attracted naturally by means of creating favorable conditions can leave the area when running out of food; some species of predatory mites can damage plants; repeated releases of predators may be needed 10
Diatomaceous earth environmentally friendly solution; does not contain poisons can cause skin irritation; being an insecticide it is not non-toxic 9
Pepper spray can be homemade; easy solution; natural has a short-term effect; can burn and irritate skin; required repeated application 8
Nicotine spray can be homemade; natural toxic; has a short-term effect; required repeated application 6
Essential oils kill spider mites without damaging the infested plants; can be homemade; natural; does not have a strong impact on beneficial predators have a short-term effect; required repeated application 8

TOP-8 Spider Mite Killers

Below you will find a review of commercially available products designed to kill spider mites and their eggs. We will consider natural predators, such as ladybugs and predatory mites, insecticides based on chemicals and natural ingredients, as well as insecticidal soap and dormant oil recommended by scientists for eggs destruction.

1. Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap Insect Killer (Ready-to-Use) (HG-10424X) (24 fl oz)

This solution is made from plant-derived fatty acids and is compatible with organic gardening. It kills mites on contact by penetrating the body and disrupting cellular function. The product can be applied on vegetables, fruit trees, ornamental plants, including edibles. However, to obtain desirable results, you should spray on spider mites directly, namely, all over the leaves and stems as well as under the leaves, otherwise, the effect is not guaranteed.

Garden Safe is useless in the elimination of spider mite eggs. It must not be applied on sweet peas and delicate ferns, as well as should be used with care on blooms and transplants. Also, do not treat plants with the spray during the full sun or on hot days. In case of rain, it should be reapplied.

The product has received 3.7 out of 5 stars, with 47% of the customers awarding it five stars. “Thorough spraying kills bugs that you don’t see, but it does not leave a toxic residue like some harsh pesticides will,” comments one of the users. Some of the customers point out that Garden Safe is good as a preventive measure.

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2. Safer Brand 5118 Insect Killing Soap – 16-Ounce Concentrate

Safer Brand costs twice as much as the previous product, but it seems to be a cost-effective one. This concentrate, the half of which volume are salts of fatty acids, makes up to six gallons of ready-to-use liquid. What is needed is to mix one-part soap concentrate with 50 parts water. It is certified for use in organic gardening by OMRI and the NOP and can be used on edibles and ornamentals as well. So, the product’s key distinguishing feature is that the bottle contains fifty times more of the acids than the spray we reviewed before. But still, you will have to make a number of applications for a satisfactory spider mite control.

This solution is more popular with users giving it 3.9 out of 5 stars. Some of the customers seem to be disillusioned with insecticides’ impact on spider mites: “Nothing seems to work on them. I have them now in my grow room. I am now going to try green lacewings which is a parasitic insect,” one of them writes in the commentary section. Others indicate the success and give recommendations to follow: “It “dries out” the critters. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the critters are fully soaked”.

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3. Bayer Advanced 701290 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control Ready-To-Use, 24-Ounce

This product containing Imidacloprid is more expensive than the soap concentrate. Bayer Advanced is labeled for the application on plants, trees, and shrubs attacking a number of pests, including spider mites. The solution has one-month protection against rain, moreover, its residual lasts two times longer compared with other products. However, being good at killing mites, this characteristic shows that the product is not environmentally friendly due to the effect duration.

It received 4.1 out of 5 stars, with 61% of the consumers providing better feedback. Some customers say that this insecticide performs much better than its analogs: “I had tried two other products without any success. I had to spray them on the plant daily and each day more mites came back. I sprayed the plants and then put some of the product in the dirt as instructed and have not had any mites come back in a month,” a commentary reads. Some of the users facing mite problems state that they had to apply the solution on a daily basis when started the treatment. But eventually, the pests have been eradicated. Also, being a potent insecticide, Bayer Advanced should be applied carefully in order not to affect beneficial insects.

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4. Growers Trust Spider Mite Killer, Non-toxic, 32 oz

This insecticide will cost you more money, but this is the price to pay for a solution based on natural ingredients. It is designed specifically to control spider mites and, according to the manufacturer, the product kills them at all stages, including eggs. Apply the product both indoors and outdoors, it is safe for pets, people and the environment.

Growers Trust Spider Mite Killer includes active ingredients sodium lauryl sulfate which creates a foam, as well as geranium, castor and rosemary oils. Regarding the latter, as we stated above, rosemary oil causes a total elimination of the affected mites, with plants remaining unharmed if the product is used at reasonable concentrations.

The manufacturer claims that the product is as effective as chemical pesticides which are not environmentally friendly. However, the users have awarded it 3.1 out of 5 stars, with 27% of consumers giving it just one star. “This product not only saved my plants, but it is also non-toxic so that family and I can safely remain in our home after spraying, and the scent is pleasant citrus,” a satisfied customer wrote. Meanwhile, some consumers were apparently disappointed claiming that Growers Trust killed their plants or burnt the leaves. Well, it should be taken into account, however, the question remains as to whether they followed the manufacturer’s instruction.

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5. 1500 Live Ladybugs

Ladybugs are natural enemies of spider mites and a very efficient solution to the pest infestation problem. This package contains 1500 ladybugs which are guaranteed to be delivered alive. Also, you will get a guide on how and when to release these insects, as well as some tips related to the treatment.

Taking into account the recommendations of the scientists mentioned above, this looks like an attractive offer as not only adults ladybugs, but their larvae as well prey on spider mites. When buying 1500 these beneficial insects you actually get much more of them since ladybugs will reproduce increasing their population.

It is preferable to release them at dusk close to the infested plants and trees. Prior to releasing the ladybugs, irrigate the plants to provide these insects with a source of water. Do not let them out at once, rather introduce in small portions regularly. However, if you have just applied any pesticide in the garden, wait for several weeks before releasing the ladybugs. As a reference, this number of ladybugs covers about 1000 square feet of the area.

The product has received 4.4 out of 5 stars on and is marked as a bestseller No.1. Many customers were satisfied with the quality of the product: “They arrived 100% alive. Literally not a single dead Ladybug in the mesh. Packaging was high quality,” one of them comments.

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6. 2,000 Live Adult Predatory Mites

If you do not trust these tiny ladies, but still want to use natural predators, consider predatory mites. This offer is twice as expensive as the previous one, but the rating on is notably poorer — 3.6 out of 5 stars, with 26% of the consumers giving just one star to the product. The package contains 2,000 predatory mites of different species, so you do not have to guess which one you need in a particular case.

Opinions were divided, some claim that this solution works: “My poor house plants were ridden with webs from the spider mites and were not happy. We bought these and they did their job,” wrote one of the customers. Others disagree lamenting the absence of tangible results and that the predators do not reproduce.

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7. Voluntary Purchasing Group 32034 Paraffin Oil Spray, 32 oz

Dormant Spray contains 97% paraffinic oil as an active ingredient. Present-day dormant oils can be applied to plant leaves on a year-round basis without damaging the foliage, however, in earlier years, dormant oils used to be less refined and unsafe for some plants. This solution should be applied only in the dormant season.

Since the product is a concentrate, mix it with water at a rate of approximately 2 oz per gallon. Actually, the dilution rate depends on the plant you treat. For ornamental ones mix 1.5 oz. per gallon of water, for fruit trees — 3 oz. per gallon. The liquid should be sprayed three times while the plant is dormant.

The product has gained 3.8 out of 5 stars, with 66% of the consumers awarding it five stars. Judging by the feedback, it seems that the solution really works. “It’s basically mineral oil but it does the job,” writes one of them.

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8. Mite Massacre 8 oz. Spider Mite Killer and Powdery Mildew Fighter

This solution is designed to kill both adults and their eggs by first suffocating spider mites and then drying their bodies and eggs which lead to the total elimination of several generations. Mite Massacre is a concentrate making up to 8 gallons of spray. To that end, dilute one oz. per gallon of water.

The product is based on a blend of saponified oils killing pests. While being a combination of pesticidal and fungicidal properties, it is based on natural ingredients and can be applied to edibles, however, it is not certified organic. According to the manufacturer, spider mites do not get immune to this product.

Mite Massacre has got 3.5 out of 5 stars, not an impressing approval rating, one must say. Judging by the feedback, it seems that most of the negative comments are related to the product’s inflicting damage to the plants.

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Comparative Chart Of Spider Mite Control Products

Product Type
Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap Insect Killer fatty acids
Safer Brand 5118 Insect Killing Soap – 16-Ounce Concentrate Potassium salts and fatty acids
Bayer Advanced 701290 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control Ready-To-Use, 24-Ounce imidacloprid
Growers Trust Spider Mite Killer Sodium lauryl sulphate and trace amounts of geranium, castor and rosemary oils
1500 Live Ladybugs natural predators
2,000 Live Adult Predatory Mites natural predators
Voluntary Purchasing Group 32034 Paraffin Oil Spray, 32 oz Parafin oil
Mite Massacre 8 oz. Spider Mite Killer and Powdery Mildew Fighter Soya bean oil and Sodium lauryl suphate

Many species of the spider mite (family: Tetranychidae), so common in North America, attack both indoor and outdoor plants. They can be especially destructive in greenhouses.

Spider mites are not true insects, but are classed as a type of arachnid, relatives of spiders, ticks and scorpions. Adults are reddish brown or pale in color, oval-shaped and very small (1/50 inch long) – about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Immature stages resemble the adults except only smaller.

Mites live in colonies, mostly on the underside of leaves, and feed by piercing leaf tissue and sucking up the plant fluids. Feeding marks show up as light dots on the leaves. As feeding continues, the leaves turn yellow and may dry up and drop off.

Spider mites are most common in hot, dry conditions, especially where their natural enemies have been killed off by insecticide use. Some of the many species common in North America are predators of the plant-feeding mites, which make up the vast majority. They are also very prolific, which is why heavy infestations often build up unnoticed before plants begin to show damage.

Large populations are often accompanied by fine webbing. Host plants are many and include strawberries, melons, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, ornamental flowers, trees and most houseplants.

Life Cycle

Most mite species overwinter as eggs on the leaves and bark of host plants. In early spring, as temperatures warm, tiny six-legged larvae begin hatching and feed for a few days before seeking shelter where they molt into the first nymphal stage. Nymphs have eight-legs and pass through two more molts before becoming mature adults.

After mating, females continuously produce as many as 300 eggs over a couple of weeks. Hot, dry weather favors rapid development of these pests. During such conditions the time it takes to pass from egg to adult may occur in as little as 5 days. There are several overlapping generations per year.

Note: Spider mites are wind surfers. They disperse over wide areas riding their webbing on the breezes. Careful containment and disposal of infested plants is crucial.

Damage

Spider mites, almost too small to be seen, pass into our gardens without notice. No matter how few, each survives by sucking material from plant cells. Large infestations cause visible damage. Leaves first show patterns of tiny spots or stipplings. They may change color, curl and fall off. The mites activity is visible in the tight webs that are formed under leaves and along stems.

The University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources division’s Integrated Pest Management website says the following about the damage mites cause:

  • On annual vegetable crops — such as squash, melons and watermelons — loss of leaves can have a significant impact on yield and lead to sunburning.
  • On crops such as sugar peas and beans, where pods are attacked, spider mites can cause direct damage.
  • On ornamentals, mites are primarily an aesthetic concern, but they can kill plants if populations become very high on annual plants. Spider mites are also important pests of field-grown roses.

How to Control

Chemical pesticide use actually encourages the spread of spider mites by killing the beneficial insects that prey on them. Mites are also known to develop quick resistance to various pesticides. For these reasons, it’s important to control mites with effective natural and organic methods.

  1. Prune leaves, stems and other infested parts of plants well past any webbing and discard in trash (and not in compost piles). Don’t be hesitant to pull entire plants to prevent the mites spreading to its neighbors.
  2. Use the Bug Blaster to wash plants with a strong stream of water and reduce pest numbers.
  3. Commercially available beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewing and predatory mites are important natural enemies. For best results, make releases when pest levels are low to medium.
  4. Nuke Em, a relatively new organic insecticide containing food-grade ingredients, works fast and kills most indoor gardening pests at the egg, larvae or adult stage. Best of all, it does this without leaving a residue on the leaves that can impact flavor.
  5. BotaniGard ES is a highly effective biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus that attacks a long-list of troublesome crop pests – even resistant strains! Weekly applications can prevent insect population explosions and provide protection equal to or better than conventional chemical pesticides.
  6. Mix Pure Neem Oil with Coco-Wet and apply every 3-5 days to kill pest eggs indoors and interrupt the reproductive cycle. Make sure to spray all plant parts, including the undersides of leaves. Do NOT apply when temperatures exceed 90˚F and wait at last six hours before turning lights on.
  7. If populations are high, use a least-toxic, short-lived pesticide (Take Down Spray, Doktor Doom Foggers) to reduce infestations, then release predatory mites to maintain control.
  8. Insecticidal soap or botanical insecticides can be used to spot treat heavily infested areas.
  9. On fruit trees, horticultural oil should be applied early in the season or late in the fall to destroy overwintering eggs.
  10. Dust on leaves, branches and fruit encourages mites. A mid-season hosing (or two!) to remove dust from trees is a worthwhile preventative.
  11. Water stress makes both trees and garden plants more susceptible to mite infestations. Make sure your plants are properly watered.

Tip: Management strategies must take into account the fast development time of this pest, especially during warm weather when eggs are laid continuously. Just targeting the adults will do little good if eggs and larvae survive. Repeat treatments are almost always necessary. The use of leaf shines and washes helps control and prevent further infestations.

How To: Get Rid of Spider Mites

Photo: istockphoto.com

Tiny, sap-sucking arachnids known as spider mites can be a problem any time of year, out in your garden and plaguing houseplants and greenhouse varieties, too. With females able to lay as many as 300 eggs every few weeks, spider mite populations can explode in a matter of days. Tell tale signs that you’ve been infested include speckled leaves or brownish webbing on the surface of leaves. Unfortunately, employing chemicals to control them can be a two-pronged problem: First, mites can develop resistance, and second, pesticides often kill such beneficial insects as ladybugs that like to feast on mites. Instead, go with the simple techniques and non-toxic remedies outlined here for in this guide on how to get rid of spider mites.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Magnifying glass
– White paper
– Hose with spraying attachment
– Spray bottle (optional)
– Sponge
– Bucket
– Pruning shears
– Plastic bags
– Rosemary oil
– Lemonscented liquid dish detergent
– Onequart jug

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 1
Your plants are in trouble: Leaves may be blotchy, be-webbed, streaked with silver or gold, or turning brown and falling off. But are spider mites to blame? These pests are less than a millimeter long, so grab a magnifying glass and inspect the underside of leaves, where they congregate. If you can’t see the culprits, place a piece of white paper under foliage and shake the leaves, then examine what falls on the sheet. Slow-moving, eight-legged pests—red, yellow, brown, or green in color—mean you’ve got spider mites. Two-spotted spider mites, so called for the duo of dots on their backs, are deemed “particularly troublesome” by experts, but diligent treatment can curb their invasion.

STEP 2
Simply wash the buggers away! Pressure-sprayed water is a surprisingly effective against spider mites, whether using a power spray from your hose outside or just a strong stream from a spray bottle on houseplants. Blast plants from below to hit the back of leaves. Then, take a clean, water-dampened sponge to wipe the backs of leaves, rinsing the sponge after each wipe by dipping it in a bucket of water.

STEP 3
Prune any leaves and stems spider mites have attacked, placing the clippings in a plastic bag and putting it in the trash, not your compost (eggs can lay dormant until the perfect hatching climate arises). If the entire plant has evidence of mites, or its health seems too far-gone to bounce back, consider pulling it completely to prevent infestation from spreading to neighbors.

STEP 4
Mix this all-natural, non-toxic solution that’ll banish the invaders without harming phytoseiulus persimilis, a beneficial mite that snacks on spider mites.
• ½ ounce rosemary essential oil (found in natural health stores)
• 1 quart tap water
• 1 teaspoon of lemon-scented liquid dish soap

A soap-and-water combo is often used as a repellent on its own, but rosemary oil helps emulsify the solution, making it easier to spray. Combine all ingredients in a jug, shake well, and fill a spray bottle. Shake thoroughly before use, spraying plants either early or late in the day, avoiding the hottest periods. Spray plants (and surrounding soil) daily for at least four days, then on alternate days for two weeks. Once you’ve got the situation thoroughly under control, continue spraying once a week to keep plants healthy.

STEP 5
For outdoor plants, consider introducing predatory mites, ladybugs, lacewings, and other beneficial insects (find them online or at nurseries) once you’ve gotten the problem in hand. They’ll eat the spider mite larvae, mite adults, and all mites in between that try to muscle in on your restored territory. You may also want to put in companion planting, interspersing Chinese parsley, chives, dill, chrysanthemums, garlic, and onion throughout your garden to repel spider mites.

STEP 6
When plants are stressed, they’re more prone to invasion by spider mites and other opportunistic feeders. So keep them watered per their needs and ensure excess water drains well. Use nutrient-rich soil and vary feeding accordingly as seasons change. Be sure plants have the right light conditions for their species. Then be vigilant, inspecting for early signs of infestation and doing what it takes to nip it in the bud.

How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

| More pests | More crops | About guidelines |

Floriculture and Ornamental Nurseries

Twospotted Spider Mites

Scientific name: Tetranychus urticae

(Reviewed 3/09, updated 5/10)

In this Guideline:

  • Description of the pest
  • Damage
  • Management
  • Publication
  • Glossary

DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST

Twospotted spider mites are web-forming mites that pierce plant cells and remove their contents. All spider mites have two body segments and four pairs of legs as adults. Twospotted spider mite adults, as the name suggests, have two large dark spots on the sides of their yellowish green bodies. These mites lay round eggs that hatch into six-legged larvae. The subsequent stages, the protonymph and deutonymph stages, are eight-legged as are the adults. Since the entire life cycle can take as little as 8 (77° to 95°F) to 28 (50° to 68°F) days, spider mites have many generations per year and can rapidly increase in number.

DAMAGE

Twospotted mites suck cell contents from leaves, initially stippling leaves with a fine pale green mottling. As feeding continues, the stippling increases and leaves turn yellow with bronzed or brown areas; damaged leaves frequently fall. Undersides of leaves may have many cast skins of mites, and the webbing on foliage is unaesthetic. Plants may become severely stunted when large mite populations are allowed to feed and the plants may die.

MANAGEMENT

Biological Control
Many different species of predatory mites are available for control of these mites under different conditions. Phytoseiulus persimilis is a commercially available predator of twospotted spider mite, and it has been used to control mite populations in greenhouses and field situations. It can reproduce faster than its prey, yet best results have been obtained when it is released into the crop well before the spider mite populations have built up. For more information, see BIOLOGICAL CONTROL.

Cultural Control
Because spider mites feed on a large variety of plants, keep production areas free of weeds, which can serve as hosts to the mites. Carefully inspect plants being brought in to start a new crop to ensure that they are free of mites. Rogue or treat infested plants.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
Monitor the crop regularly, as indirect sampling methods (such as sticky cards) are ineffective. Observe the undersides of leaves with a 10X hand lens, and watch for changes in plant foliage that are characteristic of mite feeding.

Except as noted, the materials listed only kill active stages of mites, so more than one treatment may be necessary to break the life cycle. Follow label directions regarding reapplication times. For guidelines on when to treat, see ESTABLISHING TREATMENT THRESHOLDS.

TREATMENT

Selected Materials Registered for Use on Greenhouse or Nursery Ornamentals
Read and follow the instructions on the label before using any pesticide. Before using a pesticide for the first time or on a new crop or cultivar, treat a few plants and check for phytotoxicity. Also consider pesticide resistance management and environmental impact.

Class Pesticide
(commercial name)
Manufacturer R.E.I.1 Mode of action2
botanical A. cinnamaldehyde
(Cinnacure)
Proguard 4 Use product within 10 days of breaking seal. May cause phytotoxicity to tender tissue growth on plants. Do not apply to stressed plants or newly transplanted material before roots are established.
carbamate A. methiocarb*
(Mesurol 75W)
Gowan 24 1A Apply in 50 gal water. Repeat as necessary up to 4 applications/season. Do not apply with oil or foliar fertilizer.
carboximide A. hexythiazox
(Hexygon 50DF)
Gowan 12 10A No chemigation. Ovicidal/larvicidal action. Use only 1 time per crop or once a year.
carboxylic acid A. bifenazate
(Floramite)
Chemtura 12 un Do not use in successive applications; apply at least two alternative products between treatments of bifenazate. Primarily effective against motile stages but has some ovicidal activity.
macrocyclic lactone A. abamectin
(Avid 0.15EC)
Novartis 12 6 Label permits low-volume application.
oil3 A. clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil#
(Triact 70)
OHP 4 un Do not spray plants under stress. Target pest must be completely covered with spray. Check label for list of plants that can be treated. May cause injury to flowers.
B. horticultural oil4
(Ultra-Fine Oil)
(SafTSide)
(JMS Stylet Oil)
Whitmire MicroGen
Brandt
JMS Farms
12
4
4


Use as above for neem oil. Also, do not use with sulfur fungicides; check label for tank mix restrictions.
organochlorine A. endosulfan*
(Endosulfan 3EC)
Drexel 48 2A Check local water/runoff restrictions. Some varieties of chrysanthemum exhibit phytotoxicity. Do not apply more than 3 lb a.i./ acre/season.
phenoxypyrazole A. fenpyroximate
(Akari)
SePRO 12 21A Do not apply more than 10 gal spray/1000 sq ft/application. Do not exceed 48 oz/crop cycle or growing season, whichever is longer.
pyrethroid A. bifenthrin
(Attain TR)
Whitmire
MicroGen
12 3 Check label. A fogger for greenhouse use only.
B. bifenthrin*
(Talstar Professional)
Whitmire
MicroGen
12 3 Label permits low-volume application.
C. fenpropathrin*
(Tame 2.4EC Spray)
Valent 24 3 Label permits low-volume application.
D. fluvalinate
(Mavrik Aquaflow)
Wellmark 12 3 Label permits low-volume application. Also labeled as a cutting dip at 5 fl oz/100 gal.
pyridazinone A. pyridaben
(Sanmite 75WP)
BASF 12 21A Use at least 2 different chemicals between applications of Sanmite. Do not use fertilizers containing boron. Do not exceed 10.67 oz/acre/application.
pyrrole A. chlorfenapyr
(Pylon)
OHP 12 13 Greenhouse use only. Do not exceed 3 applications/growing cycle.
soap3 A. potash soap#
(M-Pede)
Dow Agro
Sciences
12 Must contact mite, so thorough coverage is important. Repeat weekly as needed up to 3 times. Test for phytotoxicity. Do not spray new transplants or newly rooted cuttings. Do not add adjuvants.
spinosyn A. spinosad
(Conserve SC)
Dow Agro
Sciences
4 5 Miticidal activity of this material is due mainly to the surfactants and other inert ingredients. This material is not recommended for use against mites unless control is also needed for other pests (caterpillars, leafminers, thrips) against which the active ingredient in this product is effective. Do not apply more than 10 times in a 12-month period. Compatible with most beneficials but highly toxic to bees and hymenopteran parasites. Direct contact can cause significant mortality to Phytoseiulus persimilis.
1 Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing.
2 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at http://www.irac-online.org/.
3 Note that single doses of soaps or oils can be used at anytime in a pesticide rotation scheme without negatively impacting resistance management programs.
4 Check with certifier to determine which products are organically acceptable.
* Restricted use pesticide. Permit require for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown ornamentals.

PUBLICATION

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Floriculture and Ornamental Nurseries
UC ANR Publication 3392
Insects and Mites
J. A. Bethke, Entomology, UC Riverside
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
K. L. Robb, UC Cooperative Extension, San Diego County
H. S. Costa, Entomology, UC Riverside
R. S. Cowles, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Windsor, CT
M. P. Parrella, Entomology, UC Davis

Top of page

Spider mites

How to get rid of mites

Webbing on a plant caused by spider mites Spider mite feeding damage Predatory mites can control spider mite populations ​ Velvet mite ​

Check plants regularly for spider mites

  • Examine plants for stippling and/or webbing.
  • Look closely with a hand lens on the underside of discolored leaves for the presence of spider mites.
  • You can also hold a white piece of paper or cardboard underneath potentially infested leaves; shake the leaves and look for spider mites that have fallen.
  • Check garden plants every 3-5 days, especially under drought conditions.

Watch plants for signs of stress

Spider mites thrive on plants under stress. Keep plants well watered to reduce the chances of a spider mite attack.

  • Most plants should receive about one inch of water a week to avoid stress conditions.
  • Conserve moisture through proper mulching.
  • Select drought tolerant plants for locations that are particularly hot and dry.
  • Do not fertilize plants during drought, as this can add further stress to plants.
  • Do not overwater as this can lead to root rot.

Use a high pressure water spray to dislodge some of the spider mites. This can also wash away their protective webbing.

Natural enemies like velvet mites can control spider mites

Certain species of lady beetles (e.g. Stethorus sp.) and predatory mites (e.g., Phytoseiulus persimilis) naturally control spider mite populations.

Velvet mites feed on spider mites

Velvet mites are 1/16 – 1/8 inch long and are found on the soil surface. They are active during spring.

  • Mite eggs and larvae can grow inside insects.
  • They are harmless to people and gardens.
  • Apart from spider mites, they can control other pests like, spring cankerworm, cabbage moth, lace bug and other arthropods.

If the spider mite population is high, natural enemies are not effective at controlling spider mites.

Using pesticides like carbaryl and imidacloprid for mite control can kill these natural enemies as well.

Using pesticides

Insecticidal soap and horticultural oil

These are effective against mites and have little impact on people, animals and nontarget insects.

These products will only kill mites that the pesticide directly contacts. They do not have any residual activity.

  • Target the underside of leaves as well as the top.

  • Repeat applications may be needed.

Pesticides

Effective active ingredients of residual pesticides include bifenthrin, deltamethrin and lambda cyhalothrin. Use these pesticides only when necessary, as they might affect a variety of insects.

Most spider mite infestations occur when it is hot and dry.

  • Water plants thoroughly before spraying pesticides for spider mites.

  • Spray in the early morning or early evening.

  • These steps will reduce the risk of further stressing plants and causing injury.

    CAUTION: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. Remember, the label is the law.

Integrated Pest Management

  • P. persimilis is available either in a granular carrier or on bean leaves with all life stages and a food source.
  • When using carrier product, check first by sprinkling some of the product unto a white sheet of paper and look for the active predatory mites.
  • Gently roll the tube to mix the predatory mites in the carrier before application.
  • Sprinkle material on leaves.
  • Concentrate releases near hot spots of mite activity.
  • Relative humidity should be greater than 75% and temperature above 68°F for some hours of the day. Lightly misting plants or walkways may increase humidity levels.
  • Adults and nymphs actively search for prey and suck them dry.
  • Spider mite colonies should be reduced in 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Contact your supplier for information on release rates. Supplier recommended release rates vary depending upon susceptibility of crops or cultivars to spider mites, length of crop time and infestation levels.
  • To evaluate effectiveness, look for dead, shriveled spider mites that have been fed upon.
  • For information on pesticide compatibility: consult with your supplier or with the following resources on the Internet:
    • Pesticide Side Effects Database- www.koppert.com
    • Pesticide Side Effects Database – www.biobest.be

    Neoseilus (Amblyseius) californicus, a predatory mite

    Neoseilus (Amblyseius) californicus is slower acting than P. persimilis but has a broader host range than P. persimilis and survives longer in the absence of prey by feeding upon other plant feeding mites (such as broad and cyclamen mites) and thrips. N. californicus may also feed upon mold and nectar. This slow acting predatory mite is useful for keeping low spider mite populations under control and can be released preventively. In situations where high temperature or relative humidity variations can occur, N. californicus may be a better choice than P. persmilis. You can also release N. californicus in combination with P. persmilis.

    Tips for N. californicus use

    • Release as soon as possible after receiving.
    • It is available in a granular carrier or in breeding sachets.
    • Gently roll the tub to mix the predatory mites in the carrier before application.
    • N. californicus is active at temperatures between 46°F to 95°F, 40-80% RH.
    • Consult with your supplier for information on release rates.
    • For detailed information on pesticide compatibility: consult with your supplier or with the following resources on the Internet:
      • Pesticide Side Effects Database- www.koppert.com
      • Pesticide Side Effects Database – www.biobest.be

    Amblyseius andersonii, a predatory mite

    This predatory mite feeds upon spider mites, broad mites, cyclamen mites and eriophyid mites. It may also survive on thrips and fungal spores in the absence of mites. A. andersonii can be released when there are low numbers of spider mites. If hot spots develop, P. persimilis can be used with A. andersonii. A. andersonii is active at a wide range of temperatures (42 – 104 ˚F) and can be applied to both greenhouse and outdoor crops. It is available in a granular carrier or in breeding sachets.

    Neoseilus (Amblyseius) fallacis, a predatory mite

    This predatory mite feeds upon spider mites, tomato rust mites and cyclamen mites. The shiny pear shaped adults (1/50 inch long) are tan to light orange in color with long legs. N. fallacis can survive in the absence of prey on other small arthropods and pollen. N. fallacis tolerates a wide range of temperatures (48-85˚ F) but does best where there is a dense plant canopy and relative humidity over 50%. N. fallacis is available on bean leaves or in a granular carrier. You can also release N. fallacies in combination with P. persmilis.

    Galendromus occidentalis, a predatory mite

    This predatory mite feeds upon two- spotted spider mites. G. occidentalis does best are temperatures between 50-115˚ F and 30 to 60% relative humidity. If mite populations are low, G. occidentalis can feed upon pollen. G. occidentalis is available in a granular carrier.

    Mesoseilus longipes, a predatory mite

    This predatory mite feeds upon spider mites and does best at temperatures between 80-90 ˚F but can tolerate lower humidity levels (40% RH at 70˚ F).

    Feltiella acarisuga, a predatory midge

    A small (1/16 of an inch long) predatory gall midge (Feltiella acarisuga) feeds on two-spotted spider mites. (Another species of gall midge is commercially available for use against aphids.) Adults live for 2 or 3 days, are more active at night and rest during the day on the underside of leaves. Females lay orange to red eggs among the spider mite colonies, eggs hatch in 3 to 5 days. The larvae stage is the only predacious stage.

    Figure 5: Predatory midge larvae. Photo by L. Pundt

    After about a week of feeding, larvae pupate on the underside of leaves forming tiny, white velutinous pupal cocoons.

    Figure 6. Feltiella acarisuga pupae, Photo by L. Pundt

    Adults emerge from the pupae. Feltella develops from egg to adult in 10 days at 80° F to 34 days at 59°F with relative humidity between 60 to 95%. Extended periods of relative humidity below 60% may reduce their survival and reproduction, optimum relative humidity is 80%. This predatory mite is active year round and does not have a winter resting stage.

    Feltiella is shipped in the pupal stage and adults emerge soon after arrival. They are best released late at night or early in the morning. Felitella can be used with P. persmilis (depending upon the crop and pest levels). Adults are excellent flyers so they may be able to reach handing baskets and other hard to reach ornamental crops. Feltiella is also able to forage on the hairy leaves of greenhouse tomatoes whereas the tomato’s glandular hairs reduce the survival and reproduction of P. persmilis.

    Tips for Feltiella acarisuga use

    • Commercially available as pupae on paper pieces in pots or boxes. Pierce paper disc on the cover, so the adult midges can emerge.
    • Open the box containing the predatory midges, place close to spider mite infestations. Let box stand for one week until adults have emerged.
    • When scouting, look for the nearly white pupal cases near the midrib on the leaf undersides and for the bright orange larvae.
    • For more detailed information on pesticide compatibility: consult with your supplier or with the following resources on the Internet:
      • Pesticide Side Effects Database- www.koppert.com
      • Pesticide Side Effects Database – www.biobest.be

    Stethorus punctillum, a predatory ladybird beetle

    This small, (1/10 of an inch long) black predatory beetle feeds on all life stages of spider mites. Adults can fly, allowing them to locate spider mite colonies that are not accessible to predatory mites. Their yellow oval eggs are laid singly in or near mite colonies. Larvae are slow moving with conspicuous legs. Larvae and adults feed on all stages of spider mites. Optimum conditions are moderate to high temperatures (61-90˚ F). They can also feed on small arthropod eggs, aphids, nectar, and pollen. Stethorus prefer smooth leaved plants and can’t readily travel the hairy leaves of greenhouse tomatoes. These predatory ladybird beetles are best used in combination with predatory mites.

    Regular monitoring, in conjunction with cultural controls help insure the successful use of predatory mites, midges and beetles against spider mites.

    Cloyd, R. 2008. All predatory mites are not created equal. Greenhouse Grower. June 2008.

    Glenister, C. 2005. Midge Out-Muscles Spider Mites. GMPro. Feb 2005. 35-38.

    Heinz, K.M., R.G. Van Driesche, and M.P. Parella (ed.) 2004. Bio Control in Protected Culture. Ball Publishing, Batavia, Il. 522 pp.

    Available online at:

    Stack, Lois Berg. (ed). 2014-2015. New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide. A Management Guide for Insects, Diseases, Weeds and Growth Regulators. New England Floriculture Inc and the New England State Universities.

    Malais, M.H. and W. J. Ravensberg. 2003. Knowing and Recognizing: The biology of glasshouse pests and their natural enemies. Koppert Biological Systems and Reed Business Information. The Netherlands. 288 pp.

    Smith, T. and L. Pundt. 2014. Greenhouse Pest Guide web App. http://tiny.cc/greenhousepestguide.

    Thomas, C. 2005. Greenhouse IPM with an Emphasis on Biocontrol. Publication No. AGRS-96. 89 pp. Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program.

    By Leanne Pundt, Extension Educator, University of Connecticut, 2007, updated 2014

    Disclaimer for Fact Sheets:

    The information in this document is for educational purposes only. The recommendations contained are based on the best available knowledge at the time of publication. Any reference to commercial products, trade or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended. UConn Extension does not guarantee or warrant the standard of any product referenced or imply approval of the product to the exclusion of others which also may be available. The University of Connecticut, UConn Extension, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is an equal opportunit

    SPIDER MITE HISTORY ^

    Spider mites are small, light brown to bright red arachnids which exist throughout the United States. They are very small – smaller than a poppy seed – and are many times confused with clover mites or chiggers. Unlike clover mites or chiggers, most all spider mites will turn bright red in color making them both “messy” and highly visible.

    Related articles: CHIGGERS CLOVER MITES DUST MITES STRAW ITCH MITES

    RED SPIDER MITE ON CAMPANULA

    Spider mites have long existed outside in the landscape living their lives amongst the plants where organic matter thrives. They would infest cotton, corn and other food crops causing enough damage to ruin the harvest. Awareness and treatments for this pest has enabled farmers to control populations, but the spider mites have remained persistent. They are now common around the home choosing to live on any plant or shrub available. Juniper, arborvitae, succulents and pine trees are common hosts, but just about any vegetation will do.

    In recent years, spider mites have found their way onto and now inside the home. The increase of indoor plants and the practice of keeping some outside for the summer and inside for the winter have allowed the spider mite to become an indoor pest. They do not migrate inside out of desire but in most cases, due to over populating outside plants.

    DO SPIDER MITES DAMAGE PLANTS?

    Plants with spider mite activity will likely suffer some damage. Sure signs include web like material on the bottom sides of plant leaves, bronzing of the plant stem and in extreme cases, plant death. Unlike other acari, spider mites can reproduce quickly. Several cycles may complete in one season.

    If conditions are good, they may go through all cycles in under a month. Their cycle includes egg, nymph, two molts of the nymph and then adult. Since they don’t migrate quickly, most populations will grow around each other, slowly moving outward as their population increases. The main part of their nest is usually where damage is most prevalent. Expect to find dead leaves and plant parts in “bad” condition. Upon closer observation, you will see the mites feeding or slowly moving if you disturb them.

    RED SPIDER MITE ON THE PROWL

    HOW TO CONTROL SPIDER MITES

    Spider mite control should be implemented around the landscape as soon as activity is diagnosed. This will prevent further damage, less chemical control and most important, prevent a local populous from getting inside the home. Just be sure to understand this process will require specific actives and almost certainly, several treatments. Retreating is generally needed because no one spray will last long enough to kill all stages. And until all local eggs hatch, they will linger if treatments are not renewed. So to insure you kill all activity, treat once a week for 3-6 treatments. This schedule is especially important during warm summer months when cycles develop quickly.

    BEST SPIDER MITE SPRAY

    If it is the off season like winter or spring when mite development is generally slow, treat every two weeks for local activity over a two month period. The best material for the outside landscape and on the home is MAXXTHOR EC. This concentrate uses a synthetic pyrethrum which both flushes and kills mites quickly once they move through the active.

    Formulated as an oil base, it does a good job of penetrating all cracks and crevices where mites might hide and it will naturally coat all plant surfaces which is important for small pests like spider mites.

    Add 2.5 oz of concentrate to our 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER, fill the sprayer to the 5 gallon line and use the entire mixture over no more than 5,000 sq/ft. Spider mite activity may be centralized, but don’t limit your coverage area to just the active plants or just one side of the home. Its easy to miss key nest sites so its wise to treat as much as possible to ensure you don’t miss any.

    Maxxthor EC: https://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/maxxthor_ec.html

    When spraying for spider mites, its important to use a lot of water. This is why a hose end sprayer is well suited. Our sprayer is actually a 20 Gallon model which means you get up to 20 gallons of mixed material sprayed with one tank. So lets say you wanted to spray 10,000 sq/ft; you would add 5 oz of Maxxthor EC, fill the sprayer half way and then distribute the entire amount over the targeted 10,000 you wanted to treat.

    And potted plants readily get spider mites too. Fortunately Maxxthor EC is excellent to use on household plants which show signs of activity. Take them outside to treat and dry; once dry they can be brought back inside. Be sure to inspect all plants in the home to catch any activity before it is too late. In most cases, treating plants around the infested one is a good practice. Maxxthor EC is gentle enough to use and getting the mite before it causes damage is important.

    ORGANIC MITE SPRAY FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

    For mites active on an edible garden plant or tree which will produce fruit or vegetables, go with MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER. This concentrate is strong enough to handle mites yet approved for organic gardening and can be safely used right up to the day of harvest. Treatments will quickly work and keep plants mite free for a week or more.

    Mix 6 oz per gallon of water (1.5 oz per quart) and spray all foliage of infested plants.

    You’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to apply the solution; unlike spraying the yard, mulch and flower beds, a more focused sprayer is required.

    BEST SPIDER MITE SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOUSE

    Once in the house, you’ll need treat all routes of entry with FS MP AEROSOL. This is a quick acting aerosol ideally suited for void treating where mites like to hide. It uses an oil base that helps it penetrate all the small gaps they’ll use to hide and nest. FS MP will kill quickly and provide a week or two of residual. But if you spot activity anytime during the week – even a few days after you spray – don’t wait to treat again. When spider mites get active, they’ll be persistent requiring ongoing treatments and follow-up.

    If you need to treat several rooms in the home, go with BITHOR. Similar to Maxxthor, this active is labeled for use in the home and is odorless. This form is water based so it won’t stain.

    You’ll need to apply it using a PUMP SPRAYER like the one listed above but for spraying baseboards, basements, garages, etc., using a liquid will be more efficient.

    For in the home, mix up 1 oz per gallon of water and expect to get about 800-1000 linear feet treated per gallon of mixed spray. Bithor will kill quickly and is safe enough to be applied on carpets for fleas and other pests so its okay to use even where children and pets play. Most homes can be properly treated with one gallon of mixed material but large homes or homes with bad problems could require more. And like the outside Bithor, plan on treating until the problem is gone. In general, you won’t need to apply it as frequently as the outside spray but twice a month is suggested.

    TREAT ALL SIDES OF THE HOME

    Keep in mind once one side of the home shows evidence of spider mites, its just a matter of time before they migrate to the other sides. And since its hard to see the migration, don’t wait. And even after they’re gone, using Maxxthor EC outside every 2-3 months will keep them gone for good. Anyone who has had this problem will understand that this pest is resilient and very tough for something so small.

    RED SPIDER MITE LOOKING FOR FOOD

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    Red spider mite is a minuscule mite of the Tetranychidae family that attacks garden and indoor plants, both leaf plants and flower-bearing plants.

    The term “spider” is actually improperly used, because in reality this is a mite. However, it does have 8 legs!

    They often only induce little damage, but, if they are numerous, they might lead the plant to perish.

    Here is how to eliminate red spider mites with organic treatments:

    Conditions for red spider mite to appear

    Red spider mites tend to multiply and attack plants when the weather is hot and dry.

    That’s why they are found indoors all year round and in the garden in summer, when it doesn’t rain and that temperatures stay above 70°F (20°C).

    Additionally, these spiders aren’t insects, and abusive use of pesticides actually contributes to their spread. Since many other insects are their predators, killing them blindly helps them to prosper.

    Red spider mite development cycle

    Red spider mites feed on sap of plants, sucking it out of leaves to absorb leaf cells.

    • Since they reproduce very quickly, an invasion can be devastating if not caught early.

    Moreover, they are perfectly capable of migrating from one plant to the next, which leads them to spread to multiple plants if one is infected.

    • If you locate an invasion on one plant, move the other plants out of reach, especially if they’re touching.

    Red spider mite invasion symptoms

    Their tiny size makes them very difficult to see with the naked eye, but a small magnifying glass helps lift any doubt.

    • The first symptom is the appearance of small white or yellow dots and then leaves turn completely yellow.

    Also, the fact that they weave small webs around the leaves also helps one notice them more easily.

    • For that, spray or mist water on the plant and check if you see any webs appear.

    Treatment against red spider mite

    As mentioned earlier, red spider mites love it when the air is very dry, it helps them spread.

    Red spider mite on indoor plants

    On houseplants, getting rid of them is straightforward:

    • Spray calcium-free water on the leaves to create a moist environment that will make them disappear. Spraying & showering also dislodges red spider mite.
    • For minor infestations, wipe a soft moist cloth on leaves (topside and underside). Repeat daily until no more red spider mites are seen.
    • If that isn’t enough, purchase mite-killer that can be found in any garden shop.

    Although red spider mites often only cause limited damage, keep an eye on your plants, especially in case of high temperatures and dry weather, because that is when they reproduce the fastest.

    • Build up moisture around houseplants to deter mites.

    Red spider mite in greenhouses or in the open

    Again, spraying soft water regularly for a few days is usually enough to dislodge small colonies.

    There are other forms of biological control that don’t require daily work:

    • Fungus against red spider mite – Beauveria bassiana is a type of fungus that greatly reduces red spider mite fertility and and egg hatching.
    • Red spider mite natural predators – Phytoseiulus is also a type of red spider mite, but a beneficial one! It eats plant-parasite red spider mites much like a ladybug eats aphids. Ladybugs also eat red spider mites, too, not only aphids!
    • Bordeaux mixture is a valid organic mite killer.

    Different trials have shown that a range of natural pesticides can help get rid of the pest. Pyrethrum-based insecticides are a good example of this.

    Red spider mite repellents

    Certain plants will repel red spider mite near where they’re planted. Such protection usually extends about a yard (one meter) all around the healthy, mature plant. Sometimes a decoction, an extract or essential oils work better than the simply growing the plant itself.

    Herbs that fend off red spider mite

    Many herbs naturally repel spider mites, among which you may find:

    Vegetables that repel red spider mite

    • lettuce
    • chili pepper
    • wild tomato

    Trees and shrubs that repel red spider mite

    • eucalyptus
    • neem
    • pongam
    • malabar nut
    • vitex (not a repellent per se, but a decoy plant)

    Ornamental plants & flowers that repel red spider mite

    • santolina
    • some varieties of croton

    Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
    Red spider mite on a leaf by Lori Erickson ☆ under © CC BY-NC 2.0
    Two mites eating by Angelo Milioto ☆ under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    First of all you need to figure out if the “little red spiders” are clover mites or red spider mites. Clover mites are relatively harmless while red spider mites are a garden pest that you will need to control.

    In late spring to early summer you tend to see the “little red spiders” and what you see are most likely Clover mites (Bryobia praetiosa). They are small, reddish mites, about the size of a pin head and usually moving around very quickly. If you would happen to crush one of them, they can leave a red stain. Clover mites are sometimes confused with red spider mites. Clover mites generally live and feed in grass and for the most part remain unnoticed. Every once in a while populations can get very large and the mites start to migrate from the grass. They are not harmful to people or pets and will not harm your plants or lawn. Clover mites are generally just a nuisance.

    Burger Farm and Garden recommends using Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4 to control Clover Mites.

    Red Spider Mites

    Red Spider Mites however are garden pests that affect a wide variety of plants. A plant that is infested by red spider mites will start to look unhealthy and will have a dusty appearance to the undersides of their leaves. Close inspection will reveal that the dust is actually moving and is in fact the spider mites. The plant may also have some webbing on the underside or on the branches of plant. The best way to control red spider mites is through the use of insecticidal soaps and oils. Applications of these products should be applied every 5 to 7 days for 21 continual days because the spider mite has a 5 to 7 day reproductive cycle and it’s important to break that chain.

    Burger Farm and Garden recommend the following products to control spider mites…

    • Organic approaches – Insecticidal Soap, Fertilome Fruit Tree Spray, Horticultural Oil Spray, Triple Action Plus Insect Spray.
    • Pesticide approaches – Malathion 55%, Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4, Bayer 3-1 Insect, Disease, Mite control

    Contact Us (513-561-8634) Today for More Information!

    The Most Beautiful Yards in Cincinnati come from Burger Farm and Garden Center. Family owned and operated since 1904, we supply all of your landscape and gardening needs in one convenient spot. We provide our customers the freshest plants and best gardening accessories in the Greater Cincinnati area. Our full time staff has over 100 years of experience in the gardening business and are always ready to help. Throughout the year Burger Farms also transforms itself into holiday specific attractions for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!
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    This predatory mite is your friend!

    If you look closely at outdoor plants – and sometimes even indoor plants – you’ll occasionally see a tiny red arthropod moving fairly quickly on a leaf or stem. It’s red or orange, it has eight legs, it must be a red spider mite, right? Wrong!

    Small as it may be, if you can see it fairly clearly (assuming you’re wearing your glasses) and it is all on its lonesome, it’s not a red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), but rather a predatory mite. There are all sorts of species of these mites, in several genera (Amblyseius, Balaustrium, Phytoseiulus, etc.), many of them are red in color (but green, orange, and yellow are also possible), and they are all beneficial, since they feed on pest mites, notably, but also on small harmful insects, like fungus gnats and thrips. You don’t want to kill these mites, but instead to encourage them.

    Red Spider Mites Are Rarely Red

    The red spider mite looks like moving dust and is rarely red!

    The true pest mite you should worry about is the red spider mite, also and more appropriately called the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).

    Web created by spider mites.

    It is much, much smaller than a predatory mite (without a magnifying glass, all you see are moving “dust particles”) and is, in fact, rarely red. It only turns red in the fall and even then, only outdoors. Most of the time, it is actually greenish with two darker spots. It never lives alone, but always in colonies. When numerous, it spins webs that link stems and leaves, webs it uses as a highway to go from plant part to plant part and as protection against rain (and pesticides). It’s this ability to build a spiderlike web that gives it the name “spider mite”, as it is not a spider at all.

    Spider mites have a long list of hosts and will attack thousands of different plants, including beans, strawberries, eggplants, melons, roses, arborvitae, and spires in the outdoor garden and palms, hibiscus, English ivies, brugmansias, and scheffleras indoors.

    The Good and the Bad

    So let’s recapitulate: the good mites (the predatory ones) are red, about half the size of a pinhead, move fairly quickly, and live on their own. Their very presence usually indicates a healthy environment, so congrats! You don’t want to spray these or even bother them. They are your friends.

    A good shower will remove spider mites.

    The bad mites are dust-sized, live in colonies, spin webs and are rarely red. They turn leaves yellowish and will kill plants if allowed to proliferate. These you don’t want on your plants. A strong spray of water will often blast their webs to smithereens and reduce their population to a harmless level. Or add a bit of insecticidal soap to the spray to kill them outright. Indoors, just sticking the plant in the shower and giving it a thorough rinse will do wonders.

    Spider mites thrive under hot, dry conditions, so rinsing your plants’ foliage occasionally, keeping temperatures cool and increasing the air humidity will help discourage them indoors. Outdoors, you’ll notice the spider mites rarely cause problems on outdoor plants when summers are cool and rainy, but when they are hot and, especially, dry, spider mites really go to town. When summers are dry, hosing your plants down occasionally may be all you need to do to control spider mites.

    Good bugs, bad bugs: to be a good gardener, you have to know the difference!

    Spider Mites? Mini Venous Orange Plant and Hiniscus

    Isolate your plants from one another since you are dealing with sucking insects such as aphids and/or spider mites.
    Looks like you are dealing with aphids on your hibiscus. They are a sucking insect which excretes a honeydew as they feed and this fosters the growth of a sooty mold. Other reasons for leaf yellowing may be too much moisture, too little moisture, changes in air temperatures, possible fertilization, etc.
    See our website on aphids http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/aphids-houseplants
    Aphids can be washed off the plants with water. If not effective, take outside on a warm day and spray with insecticidal soap for houseplants or a houseplant insecticide. Check the label to make sure it is safe to use on the plant and pest.
    Here is a link on care of hibiscus. May need fertilizer once it starts actively growing this spring. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/hibiscus/
    Orange plant – looks like spider mites. They are a sucking insect that sucks the chlorophyll from leaves which results in fine white spots or stipples on the leaves. Heavy feeding causes yellowing, browning and eventual death of leaves. Some spider mite species produce webbing. Control is the same as for hibiscus and be sure to get coverage of the lower leaf surfaces. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/spider-mites-houseplants
    Here is a link to citrus and care http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/080110.html
    mh

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