If you have an infestation of spider mites in your garden, you can say goodbye to healthy plants. Thankfully, there are natural methods you can use to get rid of spider mites that will not harm your plants in the process.
In this guide, we will teach you how you can get rid of spider mites using these natural techniques. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about spider mites themselves.
What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are members of the mite family, as their name suggests. Up close, they resemble spiders, thus their name. They are extremely small, and difficult to detect with the naked eye. In fact, they appear as little more than tiny specks on your plant leaves. They can be black, yellow, brown, or red.
Do You Have Spider Mites?
Although you probably will not notice these spider mites themselves on your plants, you might notice the telltale signs that they are in residence.
Like spiders, spider mites weave webs. They also damage plant leaves, leaving yellowish-brownish spots in their wake.
You might be wondering how spider mites found your plants. Sometimes, they simply migrate to your area. Other times, they may have been infesting the garden center where you purchased plants. They then hitched a ride back to your garden.
Regardless, they thrive when it is dry. That means you may find them outdoors or indoors. In fact, they love it when you run your air conditioner.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites On Plants
Now that you know how to identify spider mites on your plants, we can talk about what you can do to get rid of them. Below are the basic steps.
1. Prune especially infested leaves and stems.
If the spider mites have already done extensive damage to certain leaves and stems, consider pruning them. This will immediately reduce the spider mite population. The plant will then also be able to devote its energy to maintaining and producing healthier stems and leaves.
2. Hose down your plants.
After you have pruned the offending leaves and stems, the next step is to hose down your plants to wash away some of the remaining spider mites.
With small container plants, you might find it easiest to just rinse them off in a large sink basin. For others, you can use your garden hose with an appropriate attachment.
Make sure after you do this step that the plants have adequate ventilation, however, so that mold does not become a problem.
This product contains only neem oil with no added ingredients.
Neem oil is a powerful natural insecticide. But thankfully, it should not harm a lot of the beneficial insects that may inhabit your garden. It also will not hurt animals.
There is a caveat—you must not spray neem oil on bees, ladybugs, and other insects you want to protect. Doing so will be lethal.
But if you simply spray it on certain plant leaves, it is unlikely that your beneficial insects will be harmed.
Begin by diluting it with water in a spray bottle. Then, spritz your plants with it. If you do not have a spray bottle handy, or if your spray did not distribute evenly, you can use a microfiber cloth to gently spread the neem oil across the leaves and stems.
Keep applying neem oil once a week.
4. Consider insecticidal soap.
Hopefully, the neem oil for spider mites will do the trick. But if you are still struggling with spider mites, you can try using insecticidal soap.
Insecticidal soap contains potassium salts of fatty acids. It is a completely natural product. It pulls water out of insects’ bodies to kill them.
Pay close attention to shipping methods and times, however. You do not want live insects to be spending extensive time in transit. You want them to arrive as swiftly as possible so they will get to you alive and healthy.
With beneficial predators inhabiting your garden, hopefully you will have a more balanced ecosystem that is less prone to spider mite infestations.
6. Apply horticultural oil in autumn as a preventative measure.
Ohio State University Extension writes, “Most spider mites spend the winter in the egg stage but the twospotted spider mite overwinters as adult females resting in protected places.”
One good way to deal with the overwintering eggs is to apply horticultural oil in autumn.