How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on your Indoor Plant
Eek, just hearing “spider mites” alone sounds scary, and they also could be infecting your indoor plants. One of the first things people notice are the finely spun webs they weave on the leaves and stalks of your plants. While you may think it may just be a rogue spider at first, it is crucial to make sure it isn’t a case of spider mites. The next thing you can check are the undersides of your leaves - look for little brown and yellow stippling or spots. In the worst cases, your plant may start to yellow entirely and stop growing. Honestly, spider mites are so tiny that they can be nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. One way to confirm your suspicions is to hold a white piece of paper or cloth under the leaves, then shake them a little. If your plant has spider mites, you might see little pepper-like flecks fall onto the sheet. Yuck. However, if you do see these little yellow dots, that should be enough of a sign to take action.

 

Red Spider Mite Lively Root

Close-up photo of a Red Spider Mite

 

Natural Remedies for Spider Mites

One of your first lines of defense can be to rinse your plants with a hose, like a garden hose with a nozzle. If you are lucky and thorough, this may be enough to get those creepy crawlies off your plant. Unfortunately, if even just a few of these little guys stick around you will continue to have problems, and you may have to try something a little more direct.

Soak a cloth in a solution of 1:1 rubbing alcohol and tap water. Carefully wipe down each leaf, including underneath, and the stem. Next, add the solution to a spray bottle and generously wet the entire plant, allowing it to air dry.

Another option is to mix 16 oz of warm water with a ½ tsp liquid dish washing soap. Pour the soapy solution into a spray bottle and douse the plant, allowing it to air dry!

If neither of these options work and you want to stay natural, it may be time to bring in the big guns. Releasing natural predators can help you get rid of the mites, and protect your other plants. Ladybugs are a good option, but you can also opt for something like Spider Mite Destroyers (yes, a very creative common name for the Stethorus Punctillum).

Unfortunately, even if you do want to use less-natural options, normal pesticides often won’t do anything to these pesky spiders. You have to use something like a miticide, or something that will specifically target these types of insects. 


Keep an Eye Out

It’s important to regularly check your plants for mites as they thrive in hot and dry conditions. If possible, spritz your plants every now and again to maintain a reasonable level of humidity (especially during winter when the heater is running). Every now and again, give your plants a neem oil bath to help prevent all sorts of infestations.

Sources

Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spidermites-gardenia.jpg