What Are Spider Mites & How to Get Rid of Them

What are Spider Mites?

Spider mites are pesky insects that are common in North America which attack both indoor and outdoor plants. They are usually found in colonies and live on the underside of leaves where they feed on the fluid that the leaves produce. This causes damage to the leaves, initially appearing as small brown spots, but a bad enough infestation will cause the leaf to turn yellow and eventually die off. Spider mites are not selective of their habitat and can be found on most plants including flowers, trees, grass, and houseplants.

What Do Spider Mites Look Like?

Spider Mite Close Up

Spider mites are relatives of spiders and are a reddish-brown or a pale color with a small, oval shaped body. You can identify a large colony by the large webs that accompany them. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions and have an impressively fast reproduction rate. In optimal conditions, a spider mite can hatch in three days and become sexually mature in five days. A female spider mite lives for two to four weeks, laying up to 20 eggs per day and producing hundreds of offspring in her short lifespan. Due to spider mites’ short life span and adaptability, they can be difficult to exterminate. 

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites

Spider Mite Infestation

The easiest way to control a spider mite infestation is by using insecticide. However, if you are dealing with a houseplant infestation, insecticide can bring harsh chemicals into the home and can sometimes be ineffective in controlling spider mites. Due to their short lifespan and quick adaptability, spider mites can build up resistance to some insecticides and the chemical will only kill larger prey and lead to a worse infestation. If you are dealing with a houseplant infestation, we recommend starting with a more natural remedy like household rubbing alcohol. Simply wipe the foliage of the infested plant with rubbing alcohol, let it sit for a few hours, and then thoroughly rinse with water.

To help prevent infestations from occurring in the first place, here are some natural methods that will help deter spider mites from your plants:

  • Prune back infested leaves or stems
  • Wash with a long stream of water
  • Plant natural enemies, such as ladybugs to ward off the pests.
  • Use a dormant oil in the early spring
  • Remove dust the leaves that attract mites (use a hose)

How to Know if Spider Mites are Invading Your Lawn

Watch this video for a quick method to determine if spider mites are invading your lawn. 

If you’re concerned about spider mites in your lawn, look to Senske Pest Control professionals. With over 75 years of industry experience, we’re experts in pest control. Best of all, the Senske Promise guarantees our job is done only when you’re satisfied with your treatment results. Contact Senske today. Call (877) 944-4007 or request an estimate online for FREE!

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