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Spider Mites Control Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know
Spider mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures that feed on plants and can quickly become a problem for gardeners. They’re resilient and reproduce very quickly—so if you’ve spotted them in your garden, it’s important to act fast. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about spider mite infestations—from identifying the signs of an infestation to choosing the best control products and prevention strategies. Let’s dive in!
What Are Spider Mites?
A spider mite is a small arachnid (eight-legged) pest that feeds on plants by sucking out their cellular contents through tiny needles on its mouth. They are particularly attracted to stressed or under-watered plants, but can really cause harm to any type of plant they come across.
A single spider mite may not seem like a big deal, but it’s important to take steps as soon as you notice an infestation. Spider mites reproduce quickly and in large numbers—a female can lay hundreds of eggs over the course of two months! And because they have a hardy exoskeleton that protects them from pesticides, chemical sprays aren’t always effective for control.
How Do You Identify Spider Mites?
One way to identify spider mites is by their tell-tale webbing—which is usually found on the underside of leaves. Spider mites are also visible to the naked eye—you can spot them by looking closely at the foliage or stems of a plant.
Other signs of an infestation include yellow spots/streaks on the leaves, leaf drop, and wilting. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to take action as soon as possible before the infestation spreads further.
What Are Some Common Types Of Spider Mites?
The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is one of the most common types of spider mites found in gardens and greenhouses. Other common species include red spider mites (T. Cinnabarinus) and Southern red mites (Oligonychus ilicis).
What Is the Best Way To Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
The best way to get rid of spider mites is to use mechanical methods such as hand-picking, vacuuming, or using a soap solution spray. It’s also important to introduce beneficial predatory bugs into your garden to help manage the infestation. Ladybugs, for example, feed on spider mite eggs and can help reduce the population significantly.
If these manual methods are not effective enough, you may have to resort to chemical sprays like insecticidal soaps and oil sprays. However, these can also be damaging to beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs, so use them with caution.
What Are The Best Prevention Strategies To Prevent Spider Mites?
The best way to prevent spider mite infestations is to keep plants healthy and well-watered. Since spider mites are attracted to dry environments and weak plants, it’s important to provide your plants with adequate nutrition and moisture levels. Pruning away dead leaves or stems can also help eliminate potential places for the mites to hide.
Introducing beneficial predatory bugs into your garden can also help keep the population under control. Ladybugs, lacewings, and spiders all feed on spider mites and their eggs, so introducing them into your garden can help keep the population down.
Spider mite infestations can be a real problem for gardeners, but with the right knowledge and control products, you can manage the problem effectively. In this guide, we covered everything you need to know about spider mites—from identifying signs of an infestation to choosing the best control products and prevention strategies. Armed with this information, you’re now ready to tackle any spider mite problems that come your way!
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