Spider mites are a member of the mite family and can usually be found on the underside of your plant leaves. They are actually capable of spinning silk webs, hence the addition of ‘spider’ to their name. These webs protect the mites from predators.
Unfortunately, the mites then puncture the plant cells and feed off the nutrients inside, causing damage to the plant.
In fact, spider mites are happy on many different species of plants. They are less than a ½ inch in size but are visible to the naked eye. Of course, it’s easier to see them with a magnifying glass.
The Problem With Spider Mites
If you have any plants or are growing crops commercially, then you need to be concerned about this tiny pest.
The spider mite can do a lot of damage to any plant in a surprisingly short space of time. This is because they puncture the network of stomata that allow water retention and loss. When this is damaged the plant is no longer able to maintain the right balance and will start to suffer health issues.
The weaker the plant gets the quicker it dies, the spider mites simply move onto the next plant, that’s why you need to contact your local exterminator for advice as soon as you notice you have an issue.
Signs of Spider Mites
Turn the leaves over on your plant and, using a magnifying glass, study the leaves for any signs of these small pests. An adult mite is pale green or amber yellow and may have 2-4 spots on its back, along with 8 legs.
If they’re already present the leaves will quickly look dry and brittle.
It’s worth noting that these mites can hitch a ride on your clothing and they can even travel short distances on a light breeze.
If you’re visiting a garden store change before you see your own plants. And, if you accept a plant from a friend place it in quarantine before introducing it to your other plants. You really can’t be too careful.
Getting Rid Of Spider Mites
The most important thing is to know how to deal with spider mites. If you have a particularly bad problem then your only recourse is likely to be fast professional help. You can click here to find it!
It is also possible to mix plain water with a small amount of mild dish soap in a spray bottle. This can then be applied to the undersides of your leaves. You may find it more effective to have a bowl of this solution and apply it to the plants with a soft sponge.
If the infection is particularly bad you can also remove a section of the plant, be careful to wrap it in a bag and discard it properly, you don’t want the spider mites infecting another plant. You can also remove an infected plant from an area to stop the issue spreading.
The alternative is to use insecticides, but you may prefer to let the professionals handle this part for you.