Understanding Spider Mites
Whoever said “good things come in small packages” certainly never had spider mites! Today, we’ll dive into what spider mites are, what spider mite damage looks like, and exactly what you can do to stop spider mite damage in its tracks.
What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) are one of the most common predatory Arachnida to inhabit your garden. Smaller than a pinhead, these eight-legged Arachnida rear their tiny heads in the warm weather months to wreak havoc on your plants. Since spider mites reproduce quickly, time is of the essence to stop an infestation, which could weaken your plants and make them susceptible to disease and other problems.
Are There Different Kinds of Spider Mites?
Spider mites are known to vary in color, from green and yellow to brown, red, and most commonly, two-spotted variations. Some have even been given names, like the Spruce spider mites, who fancy themselves conifers, canaans, and balsam firs, or Maple gall mites, who like to leave bumpy growths on the leaves of maple trees. There are over 1,200 varieties of spider mites worldwide, creating a potential problem in warm and dry habitats like forests, greenhouses, and gardens.
Where Do Spider Mites Come From?
The small and lightweight build of spider mites allows them to easily migrate by wind or movement of plant material. Spider mites can also spread by attaching themselves to clothing, shoes, and pets, giving them even more opportunities to travel from your local nursery to your home, or vice versa. Once they’ve reached their destination, they like to cozy up on the underside of your indoor and outdoor plants and begin their destruction.
How Fast Do Spider Mites Reproduce?
After mating, spider mites can lay about 300 eggs within a few weeks. Since these little wind surfers develop from eggs to adults in as little as five days, it’s crucial to stop them in the early stages before they can multiply and do a lot of damage. You can improve your spider mite prevention efforts by regularly checking your garden and the underside of plants for spider mites.
Early Signs of Spider Mite Damage
At this point, you might be wondering what the early signs of spider mite damage is, or even “what does spider mite damage look like?” Luckily, once you know exactly what to look for, it’ll be even easier to stop spider mites in their tiny little tracks before they can cause too much damage (or reach infestation status).
1. Visible Webbing
In order to protect themselves from insects or creatures while they such suck the nutrients out of your plants, spider mites will spin a silk web around themselves. Silk webbing is one of the early signs of spider mites and should be handled with the utmost urgency if you want to save your plants.
2. Leaf Stippling
Leaf stippling is another early sign of spider mite damage, causing tiny white or yellow spots on plant leaves. This early sign of spider mite damage may not seriously harm a healthy plant but can interfere with photosynthesis and hydration, which can be damaging in dry or drought-prone climates.
If mites are not stopped at the point of leaf stippling, leaves can begin the defoliation stage. In this stage, your leaves change color, curl, and fall off, which could mean the end for your plant!
How to Stop Spider Mites
Once you’ve confirmed your plants are, in fact, being attacked by spider mites, it’s time to take action. Aside from giving your plants a good spray with the water hose, there are a few natural routes you can take to get rid of them without jeopardizing the health of your plants or other helpful bugs residing in your garden.
1. Organic Garden Insecticide
Using a garden-safe insecticide is an environmentally friendly way to keep your garden protected from damage-causing insects and arachnids without jeopardizing your plants or food supply. In fact, our ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE Insect Killer is safe to use around larger insects like bees, beetles, ladybugs, and adult butterflies while effectively killing the eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adult stages of more than 25 soft-bodied insects, including spider mites! You’ll love the fact that there are no petroleum solvents or harmful neonicotinoids almost as much as the fact that you’ve successfully saved your plants from a fateful demise.
2. Attract Good Bugs
Attracting Good Bugs For Organic Pest Control is one of the most natural ways to stop spider mite damage. There are dozens of helpful insects out there that will prey on tiny pests like spider mites, including ladybugs, lacewings, spiders, and praying mantis.
To attract these good bugs to your garden or plants, be sure to create an environment they like. You can do this by using soil covered with organic matter and avoid using synthetic pesticides. Instead, use like our ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE 3-in-1 Organic Garden Spray, the only garden spray proven safe for bees!
When it comes to protecting and beautifying the environment, Organic Labs Bee Safe garden pest control products put the environment first, with safe products free from synthetic chemicals or toxins. Shop our bee-safe garden products today and discover the difference our OMRI Listed® products will make in the health and longevity of your plants! Find a local dealer here.
Want to see more from us? Be sure to check out our helpful videos, or visit us on Facebook and Instagram to see where our products are being used in the wild!