How To Treat Spider Mites On Houseplants

Houseplants are frequently attacked by spider mites. Low humidity, warm, dry conditions are what they favor. Chlorotic patches or a stippled appearance on plant leaves are signs of feeding damage. There might also be webbing. Fortunately, they are relatively simple to manage.

The two-spotted spider mite is the type of spider mite most frequently observed on indoor plants. The adult is about 1/50 of an inch long, with eight legs, and an oval-shaped body. The body is typically practically transparent or greenish, though it can sometimes be brown or orange-red. Its body features two dark markings that can be seen with a 10X to 15X magnification tool. Insects are not spider mites. They are an arachnid and resemble ticks and spiders in many ways.

If your indoor plants have spider mites, you might want to consider removing them from healthy plants and putting them in a cooler environment. Maintain a moist but not excessively saturated soil. Watering indoor plants when the top half inch of soil feels dry is a good general rule. If done frequently, wiping plant leaves with a soft cloth or vigorously spraying it with warm water might help lower the spider mite population. Plants can be treated with an insecticide containing permethrin or pyrethrin as another alternative for control. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap both work well. Always carefully read the label before purchasing and again before using a pesticide. This is particularly crucial because the availability and advised use of particular pesticides can vary from year to year. Any pesticide’s label is the final word on how to use it legally.

The best method of control is to dispose of the plant if the infestation is severe and the majority of it is covered in spider mites. Before removing the plant, cover it with a plastic bag to help stop spider mites from spreading to other houseplants. Keep newly acquired indoor plants separate from other indoor plants for a few weeks to avoid further infections. Before putting the plants with the rest of your healthy plants, use this opportunity to check for any pest issues.

What method gets rid of spider mites on plants the quickest?

Plant cleaning. Spider mites that are visible can be eliminated by using an alcohol and water solution. Pour a solution containing 1 cup of alcohol and 30 ounces of water into the spray container. Spray the leaves thoroughly on both sides, then use a paper towel to dry them off.

Why do indoor plants get spider mites?

The majority of spider mite species like hot, dry weather. As you might have suspected, drought-related spider mite infections are common. Spider mites are more prone to cause problems for underwatered plants in indoor growing spaces.

Additionally, overfeeding your plants with nutrients can increase their vulnerability to spider mites. Your plants are more prone to be attacked by spider mites and other pests if you’ve applied too much nitrogen. Who knows why?

A surplus of nitrogen produces funny proteins, which are tiny molecules. Although these proteins are useless to the plant, they do make the sap sweeter, which encourages the growth of spider mites and other sucking insects. Apply a balanced spectrum of nutrients and only what your plant requires to avoid this issue. There is such a thing as having too much good.

On bigger plants and in locations with many of plants, spider mites are even more challenging to manage. Since they multiply quickly, it is more difficult to identify and cure them when there is more plant tissue available for them to live and feed on.

Can spider mites help a plant recover?

Have you ever had plants in your garden that were gorgeous before going bad? Perhaps you saw patches of withered or decomposed foliage or clusters of tiny white dots spreading across the leaves of your plant. Perhaps, like me when I was a beginning gardener, you witnessed entire plants decimated in a matter of weeks before realizing too late that they had been ravaged by a spider mite infestation.

You probably understand what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had to deal with spider mites in your garden. Even so, you may have thought to yourself, “Can my plants recover from this?

I have some good news for you as someone who has spent a decent amount of time combating spider mites and studying what works best when it comes to controlling these garden pests:

If adequate time and care are given to both treatment and prevention, plants can recover from spider mite infestations. Spider mite populations can be significantly reduced while plants are being treated with insecticidal soap and oil sprays, giving plants time to recover.

So, the good news is that. The caveat is that it won’t be simple to get rid of spider mites from your plants. If you follow the four-step procedure I’ve outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to eradicating your plants of spider mites, though it will frequently take at least two weeks of concentrated effort, careful attention, and a regular fertilizer program.

What eradicates plant-borne spider mites?

Testing was done to see how harmful pepper extracts were to spider mites. Approximately 45% of adult spider mites were destroyed by these peppers:

  • the bell pepper
  • Jalapenos
  • Chile
  • chilly peppers

Spider mites are also repelled by other pepper cultivars, including Bishop’s crown and lemon drop peppers.

Hot pepper repellant is available in stores, online, or you can build your own.

Other home remedies

  • Dish soap: To get rid of spider mites, mix 3 teaspoons of dish soap with 1 gallon of water, according to the Oregon State University Extension program. Spray the soapy water on the infected plant leaves once a week or as required using a spray bottle.
  • Rubbing alcohol: You can kill spider mites with the rubbing alcohol you have lying about your home. Cotton balls can be used to clean infected houseplants’ leaves by soaking them in rubbing alcohol. After letting the plants soak in the dish soap or rubbing alcohol for a few hours, thoroughly rinse the leaves with water.
  • Any spider mites that may have escaped the effects of homemade repellents can be washed away with the use of a garden hose. Spider mites can reappear after each rinse, so washing them away is only a temporary fix.

What destroys the eggs and spider mites themselves?

Spider mites (Tetranychidae) are a frequent pest of a wide variety of outdoor crops, such as berries, ornamentals, vines, many fruit trees, hemp, and cannabis. The Tetranychus genus contains a large number of spider mite subspecies, such as the Pacific Spider Mite, Two-Spotted Spider Mite, and Strawberry Spider Mite. Some species are easier to identify than others, but because their biology, damage, and management strategies are similar or the same, it is usually not required to do so.

Spider mite populations can expand quickly in the correct environments (warm with little wind being their preference), and they can be recognized by the distinctive webbing they leave on plant leaves. Unfortunately, it could be challenging to regulate the population by the time you notice webbing. Spider mites go through five phases of development: egg, larva, two nymphal stages, and adult.

  • Eggs Overwinter in regions that offer refuge, such as behind bark and in piles of discarded leaves. They can be discovered on the undersides of leaves during the growing season. Usually, the eggs hatch after three days.
  • After the final frost has passed, larvae begin to hatch and have six legs. By this point, feeding is minimal.
  • Although significantly smaller and unable to procreate, nymphs resemble adults in appearance. Proto-nymph and deuto-nymph are the two nymphal phases.
  • AdultSpider mites have eight legs and are around 0.4 mm long. They can range in color from from yellow to green or orange to brown. Over the course of their lifetime, females produce between 50 and 100 eggs, with fertilized eggs developing into females and unfertilized eggs developing into males.

Temperature is the main environmental factor that affects how long a spider mite’s life cycle takes, and this variability is quite large. They are therefore most active outside during the summer. A generation can be finished in less than a week if the circumstances are right.

Spider mites harm foliage by sucking out the juices from the leaves. Stippling on the leaves indicates this, and more severe damage might cause leaf bronzing, which may cause leaf drop. Leaf drop has a negative impact on both the vegetative and blooming stages and increases the likelihood of sun/light damage. Curled and/or scorched leaf edges, as well as leaves that have a leathery appearance, are additional indicators of spider mites. When mite populations increase in size, webbing will be made and can be seen on leaves, twigs, and fruit/buds.

Manage & Control:

Sanitation – Thoroughly sanitize the area where you’re growing. This include cleaning the growing area’s surfaces, choosing organic soil types, and checking plants for mites before planting. Before continuing, take out any webbing.

Optimize the growing conditions for the crop being grown and the environment being cultivated. This is known as cultural control and prevention. Reduce water and nutritional stress as much as you can to lessen mite damage. To improve nutrient and water absorption, feeding schedules can be supplemented with Therm X-70. Any measure you can take to support your plants during hot weather will aid in reducing the mite population.

Knockdown & Chemical Control – If permitted, organic knockdown sprays should be used to treat spider mite populations that are already present. Neem oil, pyrethrins, azadirachtin, and horticultural oil are examples of naturally produced miticidal sprays that can be used to kill adult mites, larvae, nymphs, and eggs immediately upon contact. Apply until control is attained to active spider mite infestations at 3-day intervals. To lower egg populations, horticultural oils can also be applied to overwintering locations. Applying oil-based sprays to plants at high temperatures (>80) or under bright lights should be done with caution. Using miticides during the growth’s flowering stage should only be a last resort. Instead, use biological means of control (see below).

Biological control is the best method for preventing spider mites during flowering. After eliminating spider mites, beneficial insects should be introduced to maintain control. In conjunction with other integrated pest management strategies, match your growth conditions to the mite predator’s ideal conditions and release times.

What rapidly eradicates mites?

Mites are little, tick-related arthropods. Homes may contain a variety of mite species, some of which may attack people. Most mites are benign insect predators or feed on decomposing plant matter. Some pest mites eat stored goods like grain and cheese. Others are just bothersome bugs that unintentionally make their way inside homes from their natural outdoor environment. The few mite species that parasitize birds or mammals are sporadic biting pests in houses, but they do exist. The first stage in eradicating an indoor mite infestation is determining the type of mite and/or potential host.

Human cases of cutaneous dermatitis are linked to a variety of mite species. One of the most prevalent species that invades homes is the tropical rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti. Both the northern chicken mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum, and the tropical fowl mite, Ornithonyssus bursa, are regularly seen in households. The latter two species are mostly seen on domestic or avian wildlife. In buildings with house mouse infestations, the house mouse mite, Liponyssoides sanguineus, may also be discovered. Rats are parasitized by the tropical rat mite. Despite the fact that none of these species are actually parasitic on people, they all readily bite people, frequently causing dermatitis and irritation.

In buildings with rat or bird nests, rat and bird mite infestations take place. While they cannot fly or hop, mites can move many yards away from a nest to infest it. The majority of the time, only a few rooms of the building—likely near the rodent or bird nests—show bites. Rodent or bird mites do not “hitchhike on humans or on goods to other areas,” in contrast to bed bugs.

Sometimes the presence of an infestation is discovered after the natural hosts have been eliminated, passed away, or left the building. Strong mite infestations that have grown around a rat or bird nest may also cause infestations. On rare occasions, rodents kept as pets may have bird or rodent mites.

The size of a period at the conclusion of this phrase roughly describes how small rat mites are (see video). They can be picked up with a wet finger, brush, or piece of adhesive tape and move vigorously. It is challenging and takes specialized knowledge to distinguish between many Ornithonyssus mite species to establish whether birds or rats are the likely cause. When faced with a suspected biting mite infestation, the first step is to search for any probable bird or rodent sources and, if practical, collect some of the mites.

gathering mites. Without evidence of insect existence, the majority of pest control firms will not treat a home (quite reasonably). Therefore, gathering mites before treatment is crucial. When biting, parasitic mites are frequently initially discovered. With the use of a tissue or artist’s brush coated in rubbing alcohol, mites can be removed from the skin. In a tiny vial or other watertight container, combine the mites you’ve just collected with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. A piece of tape can also be used to remove mites from the skin (although this makes accurate identification of the mite unlikely). Sticky traps are helpful for collecting little arthropods around the house. Set up a number of sticky traps in the areas where bites are happening.


Before rodent or bird mites may be successfully controlled, the main mite host must be removed. The season in which the mite infestation arises can provide information about the sort of host that has invaded the home. Although they can happen at any time of year, rodent infestations tend to happen more commonly in the fall and winter. The spring and summer are the seasons with the highest bird issues.

The most typical rat species seen in Texas houses is the roof rat. Roof rats are adept climbers, as their name suggests, and frequently gain access to houses through cracks in the roof or soffit. Roof rat activity may be indicated by sounds in the attic or ceiling, particularly late at night.

All vents and electric service entry points should be properly sealed with rodent-proof metal hardware cloth, metal flashing, or copper wool to prevent mice from entering dwellings. Entry spots between shingles that are loose and around chimneys should be examined as well. Windows and doors should be well-sealed. House mice will enter buildings close to the ground, particularly under doors with inadequate door seals. The tiniest entry holes must be covered during rodent proofing. Rats and mice can enter a house through a quarter-sized hole and a dime-sized hole, respectively.

Chirping sounds emanating from a chimney or soffit area are sometimes the first sign of a bird infestation. Birds can be successfully prevented from entering a house using the same procedures and tools used for rat proofing. In order to prevent birds from entering chimney areas, special screening may be required. Another sign that chimney maintenance and cleaning are required is the presence of bird nests. Mites can also enter a home through chickens and other poultry kept in sheds or coops that are attached to it.

However, pesticides must be used in conjunction with rodent or bird control to effectively reduce mite populations in homes. To prevent mites from spreading from previously occupied rat nests, mite treatment should be carried out simultaneously with, or even before, rodent extermination. To deal with mite issues indoors, a variety of pesticides can be utilized. Syngergized pyrethrin-containing sprays and aerosols should kill mites instantly upon contact, albeit the remedy will only work for a short period of time. Permethrin or bifenthrin-based insecticide sprays are effective against a variety of mites and should continue to do so for several weeks. Before spraying, check sure the chemicals may be used in living rooms, attics, and crawl spaces by carefully reading the label. Indoor sprays shouldn’t be used on furniture or other surfaces where people will come into direct touch, just the bases of walls and other potential entry points. Electrical outlets or other wall void access points in living sections of a home may be coated with desiccant dusts, such as diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel.

When a nest can be found, it is advisable to first spray a pesticide in the vicinity of the nest (for example, the soffit or vent from which a bird nest is removed) or to desiccate the region with a desiccant dust. This should lessen the possibility that after the nest is removed, live mites will spread from the region and penetrate the inside of the building. To lessen the possibility of coming into contact with ecto-parasites, such as mites, and other infections, it is advised to remove old bird or rodent nests while wearing long sleeves, gloves, and a tight-fitting dust mask.

Pet gerbils, white mice, or hamsters should be taken to a veterinarian to be checked for mites if they are found in places where bites are happening.

Other Mites

The clover mite and certain mites linked to stored goods are other mites that might be found in homes. Infestations of clover mites are frequent in residences in the late winter and early spring. Clover mites graze on grasses and weeds and can occasionally be seen entering buildings through windows and openings. Under a microscope, the lengthy front pair of legs of adult clover mites, which measure around 1 mm in length, may be seen. When these mites are crushed, a red stain occasionally results. Clover mites are primarily an annoyance pest; they do not attack humans. Cutting grass and weeds short around building foundations as soon as possible and ensuring tight seals around windows and doors can help prevent this pest from entering the house. Potential access points from the outside can be sprayed with pesticides. In most cases, this bug does not require indoor sprays.

Stored-product mites are a rare nuisance in residences. One of the most prevalent pests of stored goods mites is the grain mite, Acarus siro. This mite prefers whole wheat flour as a food source, as do some fungi and molds, and is most usually seen on processed cereal goods (like flour). Additionally, cheese, poultry litter, and even abandoned bee nests have been shown to contain grain mites. However, the location of an infestation within a residence may offer the best indication as to whether the pest is a feeder on stored grains. Parasitic mites may only be separated from stored goods mites with the use of a high-powered microscope. Almost all grain-storage insects don’t bite. In most cases, infestations can be wiped out by removing the infected product and thoroughly cleaning the storage space. Moisture control should also be a priority for a storage mite infestation because high humidity and moisture also encourage mite infections.