How To Spot And Defeat Spider Mites On Plants

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.
Spider Mites On Plants
Photo by courtesy of Egor Kamelev from Pexels

If you’re a plant parent, you know the feeling of responsibility that comes with keeping your plants happy. Unfortunately, pesky pest problems can sometimes arise, and one of the most common is an infestation of spider mites on plants. Spider mites are small and hard to spot, but they can cause severe damage to plants in a short amount of time. This article will show you how to spot and defeat spider mites on plants. We’ll also provide helpful tips on how to keep your plants safe from future infestations. Keep reading to learn more about spider mites and how to protect your plants.

What Are Spider Mites?

Spider mites are tiny arachnids – related to spiders, ticks, and other mites – that can be found in many different climates and habitats. They are ubiquitous in plants, where they can feed off of the nutrients in the leaves and stems. These mites are tiny, usually between 0.2 and 0.5 millimeters in size, and maybe tan or greenish. They can be found in large colonies and rapidly spread if left unchecked.

These mites are difficult to spot, as they usually only reveal themselves when their population has grown too large. Signs of their presence include yellow spots on leaves and webbing covering the leaves’ underside. If you see these signs, it’s best to take immediate action to prevent further damage to your plants.

Spider mites are often called pests, as they can damage plants if left unchecked. They feed on the leaves and stems, which can cause the leaves to wilt, yellow, and die. They can also create an environment where diseases can spread.

Signs Of Spider Mite Infestation

One of the quickest ways to identify a spider mite infestation on your plants is by looking for signs of their activity. Spider mites are tiny insects, so spotting them with the naked eye can be difficult. However, if you look closely, you’ll likely see tiny webbing around the plant’s leaves, stems, and buds. These webs can be difficult to spot, especially if the infestation is still small, but they will become more pronounced as more mites join the party. Additionally, the plant leaves will be covered with yellow, brown, or white spots. These are caused by the mites’ saliva, which is toxic to the plant. The mites also might leave a light coating of dust on the plant’s leaves, stems, and flowers.

Another sign of spider mite infestation is if the plant leaves are curling or wilting. When mites infest plants, they suck out their nutrients and sap, which causes the leaves to curl and become discolored. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to act quickly. The longer the infestation is allowed to continue, the more damage the mites will cause, and the harder it will be to get rid of them.

Yellow Or White Spots On Leaves

Yellow and white spots on leaves can be a sign of spider mites on plants. Spider mites are tiny eight-legged creatures that are often pale in color and feed on plants. They are challenging to detect because of their small size and can go unnoticed until significant signs of damage.

The most common sign of spider mites on plants is yellow or white spots on leaves. These spots may be visible to the naked eye and can be seen as tiny yellow or white dots or specks on the leaves. Some spots may appear as patches or smears. In extreme cases, the spots may be spread across the entire plant. Other signs of spider mites include discolored or wilting leaves, webbing on the underside of the leaves, and reduced leaf growth.

Silken Webs

Spider mites are arachnids that are known for producing silken webs. These webs are produced by the mites and used as a protective covering for the mites, their eggs, and their food.

In addition to being a protective covering, the webs also act as a trap for their prey, as the webs are sticky and provide an easy way for the mites to capture their food. The webs are made of a proteinbased substance that is produced by the mites glands.

The webs are very strong, and can be stretched to many times their original size. The webs are also very light, which helps them to move and be transported through the air. The webs can be found in many places, including trees, shrubs, and even in our homes.

Brown Leaves

One of the telltale signs of spider mites on plants is when the leaves start to turn brown. Spider mites’ feeding habits can cause entire plants to turn yellowish-brown and become discolored. It’s best to look for the problem on the undersides of leaves, as it is much easier to spot the small, reddish-brown mites there. Noticing brown leaves on your plants is an early warning sign that spider mites may be present and need to be treated.

Ways To Get Rid Of Spider Mites

Once you have identified the presence of spider mites, take immediate action to get rid of them. One method is to use a pressurized water spray or a stream of water from a hose to remove them from the plant. This will not only get rid of the mites but also dislodge the webbing and debris they leave behind.

Spray Water On Plants

The best time to spray water on your plants is in the early morning. This is when spider mites are most active, and you want to spray when they are on the surface of the leaves. Water the plants for about 15 minutes, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops. This will help to knock the spider mites off of the plants.

You can also use plain tap water or a mixture of water and mild insecticidal soap to eliminate spider mites. Insecticidal soap is a natural pesticide that helps break down the spider mite’s exoskeleton, killing it on contact. Make sure to follow the directions on the insecticidal soap packaging carefully.

After you’ve sprayed the plants with water or a mixture of water and insecticidal soap, monitor the plants for a few days. If the spider mites are still present, you can apply a miticide or an insecticide specifically formulated to get rid of spider mites. These products can be purchased at your local garden center or online.

Finally, if the spider mites are still present, you may need to remove the infested leaves from the plants. This should be a last resort since it may damage the plants and will also disrupt their growth cycle.

Use Insecticidal Soaps

Insecticidal soaps will kill the mites on contact, but they must be applied regularly, especially if the infestation is severe. It’s important to apply the soap in the early morning or late evening, when the plants are not in direct sunlight. Direct sun can cause insecticidal soaps to burn and damage the plant.

When using insecticidal soaps, it’s also important to combine them with other control methods, such as keeping the plants clean by removing dead leaves and other debris. This will help reduce the number of mites and may even prevent them from returning. Additionally, make sure to quarantine any new plants you bring into your house or garden, as this will help avoid any potential spider mite infestations.

Introduce Natural Predators

The ladybug is the most common natural predator against spider mites on plants. Ladybugs feed on the eggs and young of spider mites and can keep the population from increasing. Another option is to release predatory mites. This mite feeds on spider mites and can help reduce the population.

Before introducing any predators to your garden, you should observe the area and research the best type of predator for your situation. Some predators, like lacewings, are more effective against certain types of spider mites. You also need to ensure that the predator you choose will not compete for resources with other beneficial insects.

Once you’ve chosen the type of predator best for your situation, you should introduce them to your garden during high spider mite activity. You can buy the predators from your local nursery or order them online. Ensure the instructions carefully when releasing the predators to ensure their survival.

Apply Neem Oil

One of the best ways to defeat spider mites on your plants is to apply neem oil. This is an organic product made from the seeds of the neem tree and is a natural insecticide which can quickly and effectively eliminate spider mites. To apply neem oil, mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil to dilute it. For every one cup of oil, add 2-4 tablespoons of neem oil. You can also use a garden sprayer to apply the mixture if you are doing a large area. Make sure to cover the affected area, paying extra attention to the underside of the leaves. You will need to repeat the application every 7-10 days until the spider mites are gone. Once they have been eliminated, you can stop applying the neem oil.

When using neem oil, it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging and use the product in a well-ventilated area. Additionally, it is a good idea to spot test the neem oil on one leaf before applying it to the entire plant. As with any pest control product, it is important to use the right amount; too much can damage the plant, while too little will not effectively control the spider mites.


Now that you’re aware of the signs and ways to combat spider mites on your plants, you can take the necessary steps to ensure the health and vibrancy of your home greenery. Spider mites can be a real challenge to deal with, but with a keen eye and the tools to help, you can protect your plants from their damaging effects. So take some time to inspect your plants regularly to catch spider mites early on and apply the appropriate treatments to defeat them. With a little diligence and understanding, you’ll know how to spot and defeat spider mites so your plants can stay in tip-top shape for years to come.


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