If you notice that your plants do not look too happy, leaves show some spots and color is not as green, and you see small bugs crawling around and making a web… Your plants might be suffering from spider mites.
Spider mites can be a tricky breed to rid yourself of, especially if you are growing in soil. These tiny sucking pests can quickly wreak havoc on indoor and outdoor gardens.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are one of the most common species in the U.S., being Neoseiulus Californicus they form part of the arachnid family, but, despite that, they are not exactly spiders. They actually are tiny sap-sucking insects that enjoy destroying plants in your garden. They have an endless appetite that could really wipe out entire crops in a very short time.
The reason these pests are referred to as spider mites is that they have a habit of making webs on the underside of plant leaves. This is where they live and lay their eggs as well. Their life cycle is four weeks and their eggs hatch in three days; they lay a new batch every single day.
A female spider mite has the ability to produce a huge batch of eggs very quickly. This is the main reason why these pests are difficult to deal with, they have a high generational turnover making them tolerant of chemical pesticides.
Signs that You Have A Spider Mites Infestation
One of the reasons why this pest, in particular, is so destructive is because they are not easily spotted. Unlike most spiders, spider mite infestations are not easily noticeable. There are two main reasons for this:
- They are tiny (1mm in size)
- They live exclusively on the underside of leaves
You are most definitely not going to be checking the underside of every leaf in your garden for silk threads and webbing, so the only alternative you have is to keep an eye out for white or yellow spotting on leaves.
These spots are a sign that you may have a spider mite infestation going on.
Infestations often happen during warm and dry conditions which makes Sacramento a perfect location. They tend to get worse during spring and summer. That is because spider mite eggs can overwinter on dead leaves and fallen twigs. Once it starts to get warmer, they hatch, start eating, and mature in a few days. They instantly start reproducing and the cycle continues.
Some of their favorite plants to inhabit are:
While spider mites are not flying insects, they can actually ride their webbing to far off plants. The worst part about it all is that a single female can start her own colony even without fertilized eggs. She will just lay her unfertilized eggs that will hatch into male spider mites.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites
These are some of your best options when it comes to DIY solutions for spider mite control.
Natural Methods to Control Spider Mites
One of the biggest natural enemies to spider mites is actually a different kind of mite: the western predatory mite. What you can do is create an environment where any of the following natural predators thrive so they can keep your spider mite population under control:
- Lady beetle
- Big-eyed bugs
- Lacewing larvae
- Six-spotted thrips
- Minute pirate bugs
Chemical Methods that Get Rid of Spider Mites
If you need to completely get rid your plants of spider mites, pesticides and miticides are the best options.
Because of their fast-breeding, spider mites quickly develop a resistance to most pesticides and miticides. Here’s a shortlist of some pesticides you should consider to get rid of spider mites:
- Insecticidal Oils (Botanical)
- Insecticidal soaps
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Azadirachtin and Neem Oils
Why You Need To Call A Pest Management Professional
The best course of action you can take against any kind of pest infestations, spider mites or otherwise is to call a pest management professional.
At Pegasus Pest Control, we are highly trained and well equipped to deal with any kind of pest infestation on any scale. You can rest assured that we will run a thorough check of the pest situation in your home.
Not only will we get rid of the spider mites that have invaded your property, but we will also give you practical recommendations on how to keep populations to a minimum as well as give you a quick rundown on all other pest-risks you run.