How to Kill Spider Mites on Houseplants in 3 Easy Steps

Spider Mite Infestations Prevention, Causes and Treatment

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Red Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) can be a massive problem for any gardener indoors and out. These tiny, all too common pests can quickly infest your plants and cause extensive damage.

If you are looking for ways to kill spider mites, you have come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, I will share with you how to identify spider mites, how to prevent them from infesting your indoor plants, and how to get rid of them if they do become a problem.

What are Red Spider Mites?

There are various species of spider mites, including the Spruce spider mite and the Red Spider mite, both feed on the sap of plants or trees.

They are small, only about the size of a pinhead (0.5mm), but they can ruin foliage, harm ornamental plants, and serious attacks can even kill plants.

The most common spider mite here in the UK is the red spider mite, a type of arachnid also known as the two-spotted spider mite. Red spider mites thrive in hot weather and dry settings and live well in a greenhouse or a centrally heated house.

The adult females can breed all year if the temperature remains above 12°C. Low temperatures do not kill spider mites. Instead, they survive the winter as eggs or dormant mature adults.

Magnified Image of a red Spider Mite - how to kill spider mites - Infestations Prevention, Causes and Treatment

Life Cycle of Red Spider Mites

The life cycle of a spider mite is divided into four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.

Eggs are laid on the leaves of plants and hatch in about two days. Larvae feed for five to seven days before turning into nymphs. Nymphs feed for another five to seven days before turning into adults.

The adult stage is when spider mites can reproduce. The entire life cycle of a spider mite, from egg to adult, takes only two weeks, and a single female spider mite may produce up to 20 eggs each day.

It is crucial to treat your plants quickly if you think they have been infested with spider mites.

Symptoms of Spider Mite Infestations

The most common symptom of spider mites is the presence of tiny webs on the leaves of plants. You may also see small, red spots on the leaves.

If you suspect that you have a spider mite infestation, it is best to take a closer look at your plants. The easiest way to do this is to hold a piece of white paper underneath a leaf and gently tap the leaf.

If you have spider mites, you will see tiny dots moving around on the paper.

How to Identify Spider Mites

These microscopic mites can be challenging to see with the naked eye. The best way to identify spider mites is by looking for signs of damage on your plant leaves.

Spider mites typically leave behind small, dark spots on the leaves of plants. You may also see webbing around the base of the plant or on the stems. If you suspect that you have spider mites, it is best to confirm with a magnifying glass or microscope.

Spider Mite Infestations Prevention, Causes and Treatment

What Do Spider Mites Eat?

Spider mites consume plant sap. They pierce leaves with their mouthparts and suck out the nutrients, giving them a yellow, brown, or golden appearance. In severe instances, spider mite infestations can cause a plant to die.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites

The best way to prevent spider mite infestations is to keep your plants healthy and stress-free. Healthy plants are better able to resist pests and diseases.

You can also take some steps to make your garden less hospitable for spider mites. Here are a few tips:

  • Water your plants regularly, but do not overwater them. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions.
  • Make sure your plants have plenty of air circulation. This will help keep the leaves from getting wet and sticky, which is ideal for spider mites.
  • Avoid using excessive amounts of pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals can kill off the beneficial insects that prey on spider mites.
Spider Mite Infestations Prevention, Causes and Treatment

How to kill spider mites

If you already have a problem with spider mites, there are several ways to get rid of them. Here are a few ways that you can try:

There are a few different ways to get rid of spider mites naturally. 

Here are some easy ways to kill spider mites naturally:

1: One way is to use a strong stream of water to blast them off your plants, as this will dislodge the mites and their eggs. Be sure to wet all of the leaves, as this will help drown any remaining mites.

This method is most effective if you catch the spider mites early before they have a chance to reproduce.

2: Another option is to use an insecticidal soap, neem oil or horticultural oils, which causes the spider mites to suffocate. Read the instructions carefully and test a small area first to ensure the soap or oil is not harmful to your plants.

If you are using an insecticidal soap or neem oil, repeat the treatment every few days until all of the spider mites are gone.

Home Made Neem Oil Spray Recipe:

3: You can try biological controls to get rid of spider mites. One way to do this is by using predatory mites from Dragonfli Phytoseiulus persimilis.

These tiny mites will eat spider mites and their eggs. They come in a pouch that is easy to attach, and they will start working right away. These natural enemies are most effective when released early in an infestation.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites with Chemical Pesticide Sprays?

You may need chemical pesticides if you have a severe spider mite problem.

A few different bug control sprays are effective against spider mites, but follow the instructions on the label carefully and only use the chemical pesticide sprays as a last resort.

With a bit of effort, you can keep your plants free of spider mites! With these steps, you can eliminate spider mites and keep them from coming back.

Be sure to check your plants regularly for signs of damage and take action immediately if you see any evidence of these pests.


How hard is it to get rid of spider mites?

It's not that hard to get rid of them. You need some patience and time! 
The best way would be using a natural remedy or organic fertilizers with beneficial microbes like mycorrhizal fungi, which help plants grow bigger and healthier.

Can neem oil kill spider mites?

The answer is yes, but you must ensure you use meem oil correctly.

The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program recommends that you wet the plant thoroughly with the neem oil spray, mix the sprayer frequently, and pay particular attention to the entire plant, especially the underside of leaves if you want to apply a premixed neem oil correctly.

Apply neem oil once a week at the absolute least. Because spider mites are arthropods with an exoskeleton, the neem oil will also affect their moulting process; they may take longer to grow out of a nymphal stage and could die.

So, in conclusion, if the neem oil isn't working, it's possible that you aren't applying it often enough, or perhaps you're applying it at the wrong time.

Never use neem oil when temperatures are above 32c (90f) or when the plants are water-stressed; this includes when they need water or are going through a drought.

What attracts spider mites?

Spider mites are devious little creatures that may enter your house through various avenues. Due to their tiny size, they are frequently undetected by the naked eye and are only seen in large numbers.

Red Spider mites are carried into your home in various ways, including via your shoes and clothing, tucked between animal fur, from outdoor plants and most particularly from spider mite populations on another infested plant in your home.

Once indoors, the mites will quickly reproduce and have a chance to spread throughout your home.

You can prevent spider mites from entering your home by taking some simple precautions:

– Inspect plants before bringing them inside.
– Take off your shoes before coming inside.
– Change clothing if you have been interacting with outside plants
– Quarantine new plants for a few weeks to ensure it's not infected with spider mites.

And Finally!

Spider mites are tiny, sap-sucking pests that can cause extensive damage to plants. They're difficult to detect and even more challenging to get rid of.

There are a few different ways to get rid of spider mites: you can use organic methods like natural predators such as the Phytoseiulus persimilis or neem oil or use chemical controls like bug sprays.

With a bit of effort, you can keep your plants free of spider mites! Be sure to check your plants regularly for signs of damage, especially the undersides of leaves for spider mite eggs and take action immediately if you see any evidence of these pests.

 With these steps, you can get rid of spider mite problems and prevent spider mites from coming back.

If you have any questions or would like to share your tips on how to get rid of spider mites, please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading.

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