Spider mite Tetranychus urticae micrograph

Preventive Tips and Home Remedies on How to Kill Spider Mites

A spider mite infestation will leave your garden ruined. It is therefore important to get rid of these mites for good. Just follow these simple tips on how to kill spider mites and be rid of your problem.
Have you ever gone into your garden and looked down tenderly at the lush green foliage? The plants that you've cared for so lovingly, swaying gently in the breeze? You bend down to get rid of a stray dry leaf from the plant and that's when you notice that all does not seem right. The usually healthy plant is looking dull and dry. There are several yellow and brown spots where just about a week ago there weren't any. Reality check―your plant has been infested by spider mites. So, what now? It is essential that you get rid of the mites immediately or else there is a high chance that they will infect the rest of the garden too. Let's tell you how to kill spider mites in some easy steps in the remainder of this article.

Prevention Tips

Separate from Rest
In case of potted plants, identify the plant/plants that have been infested and keep them away from the rest. This will help to eradicate chances of the spider mites traveling over to the other plants and infesting them as well. Check for any other plants that have spider mites on them and isolate them as well.

Check for Dryness
Check the plants that have been infested. More often than not the soil of these plants will be dry and cracked. This kind of soil provides the perfect environment for the spider mites to thrive in. The soil should never be allowed to dry and crack as a form of precaution.

Spray them Down
Spray down the plants that have been infested. Regulate the pressure of the water carefully. Do not let it be too strong. Hosing down the plants will get rid of the dust that has collected over them and clean the underside of the leaves where the mites lay their eggs. Once the spider mites are thrown down, it is impossible for them to climb up again. This might have to be done for a few days so that the entire brood is completely destroyed.

Increase Moisture
It is important to keep your plants sufficiently moisturized so that there is no risk of the mites breeding again. Since spider mites thrive in dry and warm temperatures, providing a conflicting environment (to their needs) will help to eradicate and prevent their infestation. Try keeping the moisture levels high by keeping a water plate under the potted plants. In case they are garden plants then water them 2-3 times a day. So also, one can keep a bed of dry leaves at their roots and water them. The water will collect in the dry leaves and percolate drop by drop over the entire day.

Avoid Afternoon Sunlight
The afternoon sun is extremely harsh and brutal. The plants tend to lose all their moisture in this kind of severe setting. It is therefore advised to keep the plants away from these harsh conditions. Bring all the house plants into a shady area during the time when the sun is at its most severe and mist them with water. As in the case of garden plants which cannot be moved, try and provide some form of temporary shade for them. This will discourage the spider mites from infesting the plants.

Home Remedies

Alcohol and Water
Make a mixture of alcohol and water in a 1:1 ratio. Put this in a spraying can and spray on the infected plants, especially the underside. Alcohol will kill all the spider mites on contact.

Neem Oil
Apply neem oil on the leaves. This will kill the spider mites but not harm any of the beneficial insects, like the ladybirds, for instance. Neem oil is biodegradable and acts as a fertilizer.

Miticides
Apply a miticide on the plant. This is stronger than using a pesticide. These are especially meant for the purpose of killing spider mites. This should be used as the last option as this will kill the other insects as well.

Garlic
Take a garlic and make a smooth paste of it with 1 cup of water. Let this mixture sit for 24 hours, after which strain the contents and dilute it with 12 cups of water and add two drops of soap (insecticidal). Spray this on the infected plants.

Soap
Take a liquid soap (1 tablespoon) and mix it with a liter of water. Then use this liquid to spray on the infected plants. Alternately, castile soap can also be used for the same.

Now that you know what are the different ways of getting rid of spider mites, you will no longer be infested by them. Use any of these techniques and we're sure the adieu won't be a tearful one.
Spraying on infected plants
Woman moving plant