Spider Mite Control

Pest Control
Spider Mite Nest

Spider mites are garden pests that give gardeners serious headaches. They cannot perform anything harmful when they are working as a single unit but when they start to attack your garden as a colony, the plant that they choose to infest on will die off in no time.

There are still methods that you can use to kill spider mites but before that, you must understand some basic characteristics and how they manage to destroy your plants easily.

People sometimes call them red spider mites because there are some other species which are of different colors. The most common one will be the red.

Understanding Spider Mites

Spider mites got their name because just like a spider, they have 8 legs. However, since they are too tiny in size, we are unable to count the number of legs that these creatures have by using our bare eyes.

Spotting fine webs that are being left behind by these tiny little creatures will be our best bet of knowing which plant has been infested and which plant are they going to move on to next. You should be able to differentiate between a spider mite web and a common spider web because spiders are usually large in size and it will be abnormal to have a red spider.

The above photo is one great example of how a spider mite nest looks like. Underneath the web, the whole colony is sucking the sap of your plant happily and it is just a matter of time that your plant will die due to dehydration.

Your Plants and Spider Mites

These creatures can infest on almost all the plants that you can find in your garden. Thus, a proper spider mite control is a must.

Basically, they are targeting all the nutritious sap which are stored underneath the leaves and stems of a plant. With this, we can easily understand why they can cause death to literally every single plant of Earth because most plants store their water and nutrients in order to survive.

Plants that are being attacked by them will have blotchy yellow leaves and the leaves will drop after their sap has been sucked dry.

Spider Mite Control to Kill Spider Mites

Applying spider mite control to kill spider mites is easier than it seems. Their characteristic as a pest that lives in a colony close down our scope on where should we target in order to kill them off once and for all.

Natural Insecticides

Natural insecticides such as Soap-Shield, summer horticultural oil spray, rotenone and pyrethrum are some of the proven solutions to handle a spider mite colony. Simply provide the list above to any nurseries and they should be able to come up with the natural insecticides for you to kill spider mites.

Chemical Pesticides

The usage of these pesticides will be subject to your personal preferences. You will be able to see fast results and a devastating effect on the spider mite colony because of their interaction with each other.

If you own a vegetable garden, a fruit garden or an organic garden, you are highly advised not to use such pesticides for spider mite control. As spider mites suck sap out of your plants, it is very likely that they will pass on the pesticides into your plants as well. Due care should definitely be taken.

Domestic Spider Mite Control

There are some alternatives that people are using over and over again to curb the infestation of these tiny red pests but these methods cannot guarantee success and the results vary from different locations around the country.

Some of the domestic control methods are:

  • Sprinkling water and soap solution onto the colony
  • Spray the colony with dormant oil
  • Sprinkle the colony with a flour, buttermilk and water solution

Sounds odd? Well, it works for some so it is not harmful to try these methods out.

Deploying Natural Enemies

Biological control is not something new in gardening and handling garden pests. The natural predators that you can use for spider mite control are ladybugs and and lacewings.

The problem you might face will be the availability to find these insects. Nurseries may be selling them at a high mark up because rearing these insects is tough. However, if you can get hold of them online (Amazon), they can be very successful in assisting you to kill spider mites.

Apart from the ladybugs, you can also get Feltiella acarisuga, which is a type of tiny midgets that feed on spider mites.

Photo credit: Joe Lapp

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