Prevent, Kill, and Remove Red Spider Mites
Take a close look at your indoor or outdoor plants. Do you notice any bugs climbing around on the soil or on the leaves? Most likely, not. Do you notice any discoloring like yellow or silver clusters of spots on the top or underneath the leaf? Do you notice any small clusters of white eggs just big enough to make out? If so, you may have a red spider mite problem.
Red spider mites are microscopic and can easily destroy any plants they are feeding on. They usually start out on the underneath of leaves because that is where the mites lay their eggs. Red spider mites wreck havoc on plants especially those in close proximity and left in dry, water-deprived environments.
All about Red Spider Mites
Before you can start killing and preventing red spider mites, you need to know a little more about them and how they survive. Red spider mites develop quickly in dry, hot, and water-deprived environments making greenhouses and indoor plants the perfect breeding ground. The insects are not spiders, but they do have six or eight legs, depending on development, and can spin webs. They are not always red like their name suggests. They cannot be seen with the naked eye. Their color changes throughout their development. The eggs are white, baby mites are off-white, and adults vary from white to different degrees of green. So, where did the name red spider mites come from? The red spider mites are only red after hibernation and during the springtime.
The environment determines how quickly they emerge from the eggs and start laying eggs. They can lay eggs when they are only 36 hours old. If you do not stop them, they can wreck havoc on the plant and even destroy it. The hotter the environment the more pleasant it is to the breeding cycle of red spider mites. They will have more mites when it is hot than when it cold. The heat also helps increase the hatching time.
Preventing Red Spider Mites
Now that you know, what red spider mites are and what environment they thrive in, you need to work to prevent them. The best way to do this is to inspect your plants thoroughly every couple of days. Look for the signs of white eggs, webs, and dead-looking leaves. Buy magnifying glasses and inspect the underneath of the leaves to look for red spider mites. Remember they are not just red, but mostly white in color. Ventilation is important to help prevent red spider mites. In your greenhouse or home, add bug screens to your windows and let the wind move throughout the room. This will help keep the heat at bay. Another way to change the environment is lightly spray the plant with water to drown the mites. You can install misters in your greenhouse or spray your outdoor plants with water from your hose. Just be careful not to have the pressure too hard or it will damage your plants.
If you do find infested plants, keep them away from other plants and trees. Red spider mites will spin webs and move from leave to leave, plant to plant. Contain the plant and work to kill the mites. You should also have a lot space between plants so that red spider mites and other insects cannot move from plant to plant. This will slow down their movement and breeding habits infecting other plants. Another prevention measure is to put sticky paper on the outside of the pots and between the plant pots to keep insects from walking from one plant to another. This will also help you see which plants are infected.
How to Kill & Remove Red Spider Mites
Do not be afraid to smash any red spider mites with your fingers that you see. They will not hurt you. They are other ways to kill red spider mites such as with sprays and with other bugs. One way to kill red spider mites is with hot pepper wax. You can purchase it at a store. The hot pepper wax is extremely effective with the red spider mites, but it does not kill the eggs. You will need to spray your plants every four to five days to kill the newly hatched mites. Another way to kill the red spider mites is to purchase cigarettes. You do not have to smoke them or even light them. Instead, cut open a cigarette for each plant and in a couple of days you will have dead spider mites.
You can make your own red spider mite spray from products around your house. For the first spray, you will need a half a cup of starch or flour, a half a cup of milk, and a gallon of milk. Blend and mix the ingredients together. You should put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the mites. When the mixture dries, the mites are trapped in a thin film and killed. You should repeat this every four or five days because it does not kill the eggs. For the second spray, you will need a half of a one-ounce garlic, two to three ounces of an onion, half of one-ounce of clovers, and half of one-ounce Cayenne pepper. Add one cup of water and blend the ingredients. Add the mixture to a gallon of room temperature water and spray the infested plants. You will want to spray three times a day for five days. You will have to spray if the mixture is washed off the plant. Make sure you water the plant before you apply the sprays.
There are also remedies that contain water. The first remedy is to combine 1:1 rubbing alcohol and water. There should be an equal amount of alcohol and water in the mixture. Spray on the infected plant every couple of days to kill the red spider mites. The second remedy combines a half a liter of vegetable oil and a half a cup of dish soap. It should be dilute and ready to spray. It is important to note that soap can damage some plants. Spray on a leaf to determine how the plant will react to the soap.
The final way you can kill and remove red spider mites is to purchase predatory mites. They are a great way to control red spider mites because the predatory mites feed on other mites. You can find them online or check with your local garden shop to see if they sell any. If you use predatory mites, you cannot use any of the sprays because the both the red spider mites and predatory mites will be killed. You will have to let the predatory mites do their job. After you have put the mites into a plant, check back after several days to see how the plant is doing.