Spider mites are tiny arachnids that usually live on plants. Because they are so small, they can infest a plant and cause problems before you even notice them. They spin small webs and suck the chlorophyll out of the plant. They can be found on both indoor and outdoor plants, and while spider mites don’t often bite humans, they could cause a reaction if the person is allergic. So what do you do when you notice spider mites on your household plants?
Step 1: Check Other Plants
If you find spider mites on one plant in your home, check the other plants in your home. You may need a magnifying glass as some spider mites are quite tiny. Isolate the plants that are infested with spider mites and move on to step two.
Step 2: Clean the Plants
Once you have identified the spider mites, you should gently clean the plant. Using a sponge and warm soapy water (dish detergent is fine), wipe down both sides of each leaf on the plant. Repeat this process once a week for a few weeks. Remove any portions of the plant that are damaged.
Step 3: Hose them down
If your plants are still infested with spider mites after a few weeks, it is time to get more aggressive. Take your plants outdoors and rinse them thoroughly with your garden hose. If it’s too cold outside, then use your shower to rinse off the plants. The high pressure from your hose or shower head should blast the mites off of the plants.
Step 4: Add More Bugs
Ladybugs eat mites and can get rid of the mites on your household plants. You can place the plants outside, buy a bag of ladybugs, and disperse them on the plants.
Step 5: Chemicals and Natural Insecticides
If nothing else has worked, or if your infestation is particularly bad, you may need to use chemicals. You can use a variety of solutions including:
- Rubbing Alcohol – Wipe each leaf with rubbing alcohol.
- Neem Oil – Spray both sides of the leaves with neem oil.
- Rosemary Oil – Mix a combination of rosemary oil and water and spray both sides of the leaves.
- Insecticidal Soap – Spray with insecticidal soap and wipe off the leaves.
Some spider mites are incredibly difficult to kill, so many people give up and throw away their houseplants. Such drastic measures are unnecessary; a trained pest control expert can help you get rid of spider mites quickly and easily.