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Introduction - What are spider mites?
Spider mites are somehow related to ticks and spiders, but they are not the same. They are so tiny to be seen unless you use a magnifying glass. Adult spider mites contain 8 legs and are usually red or black. You can find them on the underside of plant leaves.
Spider mites are very dangerous to plants and can cause a lot of damage to your garden within a few days. This means that you need to be very cautious if you have plants in your home. In this guide, we shall reveal the best homemade spider mite killer methods you can use to get rid of them and effective ways to protect your plants from these pests.
What are the effects of spider mites on plants?
Spider mites may harm your plants in two ways which are;
- Feeding- These pests suck the chlorophyll plus nutrients directly from the plant’s leaves. The initial stages of their feeding may not be visible and may only appear as a dry spot below the leaf. However, the leaf will change the color to dark yellow or brown when they continue feeding on the leaf while the edges of the leaf will curl and dry off.
- Webbing damage –Spider mites normally use webbing to keep their eggs safe. They create a web immediately after laying eggs, which prevents water from reaching the plant. This hinders photosynthesis, which is very vital for the plant’s survival, and the plant will eventually dry off.
How do you prevent spider mites from getting into your plants?
When buying plants, it is good to ensure that they are very clean before you bring them to your home. For those plants that you already have in your home, you should do the following;
- Control the environment- Spider mites thrive in hot and dry areas. Therefore, keeping your plants hydrated is one of the surest ways to keep them off from your plants. Another effective way you should dry is shading the leaves from direct sunlight.
- Dust the plants off regularly- Dusting your plants will allow you to detect any potential pests before they develop. Always check the underside surfaces of the leaves.
- Wipe the leaves- You should wipe any suspicious leaf using a wet cloth. Try to do this frequently to ensure that there is no potential spider mite threat.
Top 6 Effective Methods of Eliminating Spider Mites
Spider mites can be very frustrating, especially when they start damaging your plants. If you have been searching for the most effective way to prevent them, you should try any of the following methods.
Water your plants frequentlyOne of the most effective ways of preventing these pests is watering your plants frequently. You should use a garden hose when watering the plants. Spider mites typically grow in dusty plants or plants that are not well supplied with water. If you are growing houseplants, it is good to take them outside and water them from time to time.
Predatory MitesThese are a specific group of mites that comes from the Phytoseiidae family. These mites feed on spider mites, and one predatory mite is able to east about five spider mites in one day. They help to reduce the reproductive potential of the spider mites.
I know you may be worried about the effects they may have in your garden, but the good thing about them is that they do not damage your plants. As a result, they are the best biological control method you can use for outdoor plants.
Insecticidal soapThis solution is very easy to make, but you need to be very careful because it also kills predatory mites.
It is a great alternative if you have already tried the pest control solution and failed. The good thing is that you can make this solution using ingredients found in your home.
- Four tablespoons of mild dish soap
- One gallon of water
Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle then shake and allow them to mix. Spray the mixture over the plant and don’t forget to spray the underside of the leaves as well as the stem.
This composition dissolves the spider mites exoskeleton and they usually die because of dehydration. However, you need to be very careful because the mixture may damage the plants. To prevent this, you should spray the mixture in a small portion to see the reaction and if nothing happens to the plants, you can spray the entire plant.
4. Garlic Spray
Garlic is one of the best natural remedies for eliminating spider mites from your plants. The good thing is that all the things you require are readily available, and you may already be having them in your home.
You will need the following;
- One garlic clove
- Spray bottle
- Container which has a lid
Start by blending the garlic clove in your blender using two cups of water. Use your hands to whisk the mixture until it turns into a smooth texture. After this, you can put the mixture into a container and then cover it. Place it in a cool dry place for about a day.
You will only need to push this mixture through a strainer then add about 12 cups of water to dilute it. After this, put it in the spray bottle and then spray your plants.
5. Alcohol Spray
In order to succeed in this method, you will require rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol and water.
Mix the above components in a spray bottle and then apply than spray on the underside of the leaves. However, you should not use this method if you have already tried predatory mites because alcohol will kill them too.
6. Organic Neem Oil
This is another effective method that you can use to control pests. Here you will only need two cups of water and one tablespoon of neem oil.
Mix them in a spray bottle and shake the mixture. After this, you can now spray the whole plant. Once the spider mites eat the part that is coated with the spray, they will die.
You'll be able to find an organic Neem Oil in a fair price below (has lots of positive reviews as well):
Ready to Use Organic Neem Oil
If you have plants in your home, you need to be very careful to ensure that they don’t have spider mites. Before you bring any plants to your home, examine the underside of the leaves first to confirm that there are no signs of these pests. The problem is that they are so small, and you may not be able to see them with your bare eyes. You should also water the plants frequently because they do not thrive on plants that are well hydrated. In case you detect them in your plants, you should not panic because we have already outlined some of the homemade spider mite killer methods you should try. All the methods have been tried and tested and will give you excellent results.
You can find more related articles on spider mites here: growfoodguide.com/category/spider-mite/