If you’re looking for ways on how to get rid of red spider mites, you’ve come to the right place. As the Summer season approaches, these spider-looking mites wake from their winter slumber and start feeding on your precious plants.
You should be able to recognize the early signs of spider mites and therefore prevent infestation of these Summer pests.
How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites Safely and Effectively
Step 1. Identify the Severity of Red Spider Mites Infestation
Red spider mites are very small arachnids that feed on plant saps and cause damages that could lead to plant death. Widespread as they are, red spider mites infestation is not easily identified.
For one, they are very small (about the size of a pinhead), making them almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. Secondly, these mites live in the underside of leaves which makes them unnoticeable.
Infestation Telltale Signs
So how do you know if your plant harbors these pests? Check your plants for the following telltale signs:
- white or yellow spots in the plants
- white cottony webbing on the leaves’ underside
- small moving spots on the leaves
- the underside of the leaves appear dusty
- curled up leaves that soon fall off
Expert Tip: To confirm, use a magnifying glass to look at the underside if you suspect the presence of these predators. Red spider mites have small bodies with 8 legs. Sometimes the color varies from red, brown, green, or yellow.
Some plants are especially prone to spider mites. They include beans, eggplants, pea pods, melons, strawberries, tomatoes, and houseplants.
It is important to note that red spider mites only live for an average of four weeks. However, they breed fast and exponentially as well. Eggs are laid every day and hatch within 3-4 days. This makes these pests a gardener’s nightmare.
Step 2. Eradicate Red Spider Mites from Your Plants
Isolate the Infected Plants
Once you confirm the presence of these garden pests in your plant, it is imperative to prevent them from going to your other plants. Although these mites are incapable of flight, they can windsurf to nearby plants. If possible, bring your mite-infested plant outside.
Prune the Leaves
Once the other plants are at a safe distance for cross-infestation, start snipping off the affected leaves, stems, and branches. Make sure you do this thoroughly.
Throw these parts outright into a trash bin and as far as possible to your garden. Never throw into your compost bin because they can survive on the ground and find a way back to your garden.
There’s a high chance that your plant will be infested beyond saving. When this happens, it’s best to say goodbye to the plant and throw it away.
Organic and Natural Way of Killing Red Spider Mites
To ensure you knock down these Summer pests, you can use these plant-safe and organic methods:
- High-pressure water hose. A strong gush of water can dislodge these tiny monsters, together with their eggs. Do this in the early morning to allow the leaves to dry before the nightfall.
- Natural Predators. Introduce beneficial bugs to your infested plant. Examples of natural predators for spider mites are ladybugs. lacewings, six spotted thrips, and predatory mites. Make sure you haven’t used harmful pesticides or miticides because these can also kill the friendly bugs.
- Herbal Tea. Prepare your solution by boiling cinnamon powder, garlic cloves (pounded), and tea diluted in water. Spray directly to the infested area. Your concoction will be extra potent when you use chrysanthemum tea.
- Insecticidal Soap Solution. Mix 1-2 tbsp. mild soap and 1-2 tbsp. cooking oil with a gallon of lukewarm water. Thoroughly spray the plants, especially the underside of the leaves, every four days until there is no sign of red spider mites or their eggs.
- Oil-based Pesticide. Mix essential oils such as neem oil, insecticidal oil, or white oil with lukewarm water. Spray on a patch first and see if the leaves do not burn. Proceed only when the solution is safe for the leaves. Repeat application every 4 to 7 days or until the infestation has cleared up.
- Chili Pepper Spray. Be careful in creating and applying this strong insecticidal solution. To prepare, mix some chili pepper powder and mild liquid soap. Dilute in water and let sit overnight. Apply directly to the affected area. Don’t forget to test the solution on a patch to ensure it’s safe for the plant.
Expert Tip: Never ever use regular pest control chemicals to treat red spider mites infestation. As they quickly reproduce, these bugs also develop immunity faster to these pesticides.
Step 3. Prevent Recurrence of Red Spider Mites Infestations
Prevention is better than cure. If you’re really adamant about mastering how to get rid of red spider mites and avoiding future infestations, here are some ways to do so:
- Keep the plant in good shape especially during the hot season when red spider mites are abundant. Keep them watered, fertilized, and exposed to the proper lighting condition.
- Regularly dust the leaves and stems of the plants to knock off any bugs that live there including the red spider mites.
- Keep the plants in a humid area. The red spider mites love dry and hot condition. These garden pests do not thrive well when it’s humid and wet.
Watch this video featuring John Overvoorde on introducing predatory mites to control red spider mites:
The wreak these harmful mites can do to your garden is something you must be prepared to combat. By knowing how to get rid of red spider mites, you are in a better position to enjoy your gardening.
The key here is persistence and the ability to maintain healthy growth for your plant.
Have you encountered red spider mites in your garden? Share your successful techniques on how to get rid of red spider mites. Let us know in the comments section below.
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