Spider mites are garden pests that are mainly found living on the under sides of the leaves of plants. They usually spin protective silk webs around the leaves and puncture the plant cells to feed themselves, causing great damage. The most obvious signs of spider mites infestation are small brown or yellow dots and small strands of silk on the leaves of a plant, along with leaf discoloration. A spider mite infestation needs to be treated on an urgent basis, since it tends to grow too quickly. Though miticide or pesticide is the quickest solution, you can also opt for home-made insecticide, so as not to cause much harm to your plants. In the following lines, we have provided information on how to kill spider mites.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites
- First of all, you need to make sure that you have spider mites in your garden. Scorched looking leaves and leaf discoloration are amongst the most obvious signs. After you have seen these signs, take a white sheet of paper and hold it under a branch. Gently shake or tap the branch. Look at the paper. If it has slow-moving specks on it, your problem is surely that of spider mites.
- In case you feel that the problem of spider mites is not too great, you can wait for sometime, to see whether it gets solved on its own. Insects like lady beetles, predatory mites and big-eyed bugs are natural predators of spider mites and can easily get rid of the problem for you. Since these predators can be killed by insecticides, make sure to spray them carefully and save the beneficial insect species.
- One of the major conditions supporting the outbreak of spider mites on plants is dryness. So, make sure to give your plants adequate water, especially during the dry periods. In case of sturdy plants, you can even hose them down periodically. This will help in removing the dust on their leaves and thus, restrain the spider mite webbing that holds the eggs and leads to the break.
- In order to retain moisture in plants, try to keep them away from late afternoon sun and arid weather. This solution can work mainly in the case of potted plants, which you can remove from direct sunlight and put under shade. In case of plants that are attached to the ground, try to provide them shade in any other way. For indoor plants, you can draw the shades or move them out of direct sunlight. Using a humidifier next to the plants is another option.
- In case you feel that the problem is not going away by natural means, make your own insecticide and get rid of the spider mites. For the purpose, add 5 tbsp liquid dish detergent to 1 gallon water. Repeated sprayings will be required to kill the mites. While spraying, ensure that you do use it on the undersides of the leaves. This is because spray will only kill those spider mites that it comes in contact with.
- Another homemade insecticide comprises of alcohol and water. For making the same, add 1 part alcohol to 1 part water i.e. use both in equal quantities. Since rubbing alcohol is poisonous, it will kill the mites on contact. At the same time, it evaporates quickly and thus, will do little damage to your plant. Make sure to use the spray on the entire plant, paying emphasis on the bottoms of the leaves.
- If you feel that even homemade insecticide is not helping you kill spider mites, you have the option of using a miticide or other pesticide on your plants. They should be applied once every five days, till all signs of spider mite infestation go away. Remember that it is quite difficult to get rid of spider mites, even when you use pesticides. So, before using such harmful substances, weigh the pros and cons first.