Whether you’re into gardening or agriculture, anyone who’s raising plants must be concerned with the dangers posed by spider mites. This difficult pest is very small and multiplies rapidly, slowly eating the sap from the plant. Over time, leaves will get white and show brown spots, fade, and can even become scorched. A mite infestation that is uncontrolled can significantly damage and eventually destroy a plant. They can also spread between plants, infecting previously healthy plants.
The following are three important points to keep in mind when dealing with spider mites:
1. Be on the lookout for webs — spider mites weave webbing
A sure sign of spider mite presence is their particular brand of webbing. They don’t look like spider webs, rather, they’re like thin gauze draped around the leaves and stems. This will be present in any sizeable infestation. They create these webs for a few different reasons. First of all, it gives them shelter from the elements and their natural predators. It also keeps conditions dry, which most spider mite species prefer. The webs also help secure and shelter the numerous eggs that they lay. Spider mite females lay lots of round, translucent eggs, giving them great potential for population growth. The webs also help them move around. They can spread around to other leaves on a plant in search of more nutrients to consume. It can also bridge their path to new host plants, so if a plant is infected, you must inspect the plants adjacent to it.
2. No plant is safe — spider mites attack many kinds of plants
Spider mites target a wide variety of plants. These include flowers, fruits, vegetables, conifers, and more. Usually they eat sap from the leaves, but they can also attack the fruits, which leaves them russeted. Different species target different plants. Sometimes the mites will be camouflaged against their host plant – for example, red mites will appear on tomatoes or strawberries. Other colors include yellow, orange, brown, and green. They often have some degree of translucence, especially the early stages. There are a few plants that repel spider mites, such as garlic, onions, and hot peppers. This can be put to use in prevention. But for the most part, most plants are vulnerable to infestation from at least one species of spider mite.
3. If you spot one, there are more — spider mites reproduce quickly
Once spider mites start reproducing, they can quickly increase their population. If there are a lack of natural predators and desiccated conditions, infestations will grow rapidly. A mature female can lay many eggs in her lifetime, sometimes up to 100. Maturation can take anywhere from 1 – 3 weeks depending on species and conditions. Naturally, at the height of a dry summer, it will be worse. They can go through several overlapping generations in a single season. When you are exterminating them, it is important to be thorough and administer multiple treatments, especially since eggs are hardier and can still hatch later.
So what do you do if you’re dealing with a full-on mite infestation? Your best bet is to purchase a specific mite solution, capable of wiping out a large population of these pests.
Our recommendation is Lava Mite as they receive great reviews online and host an excellent amount of mite information on their site. You can’t go wrong with choosing a company that specifies in mite killing.
Feel free to join our discussion on mites and leave a comment below!