Spider mites are one of the many pests that can bring havoc to your garden in the blink of an eye. You likely remain unaware of their presence until they start making it known. Why? These insects are not visible to the naked eye. They have yellow patches instead of being shiny and green. They multiply at almost enormous speeds, resulting in a high and, unfortunately, the uncontrollable population in a short time.
When looking after your garden, you need to be extra cautious. Along with other problems, your plants may be under a pest attack, and you wouldn’t even know. And when you do, it might be too late.
Did you know a female mite can lay 14,000 eggs? At this reproductivity rate, spider mite populations increase exponentially. They can devastate your plant field if you do not address the issue proactively.
There are different ways you can control the attack of these little weapons of plant destruction. You can create and follow a growth checklist.
What Causes Spider Mites to Infiltrate Plants?
If you are using small pots and are growing plants indoors, the risk of a spider mite attack is minimal. But spider mites are most common when you are growing in soil and outdoor. These mites are a result of contaminated soil, and it is due to this reason that growers need to buy clones and seeds from reputable sellers.
Now talking about a small indoor garden, spider mites may exist if the environmental conditions are not taken care of. Apart from environmental conditions, external entities such as your pets, grocery supplies, clothes, and even the wind can bring them to your plants.
Let’s discuss in detail how to prevent your garden from becoming a feast for spider mites. But first, let us learn how spider mites harm your plants.
What are Spider Mites Capable of Doing to Plants?
Spider mites are very dangerous, and their attack is very powerful. They attack the leaves first, start biting them and then penetrate the plant cells. As a result, they reduce moisture and cause dehydration in plants.
When spider mites attack, plants transition into their defensive mode by closing the stomata, which causes plants to lose their moisture, the mite’s attack will not allow plants to perform photosynthesis. The plants’ leaves start to collapse, eventually leading to the plant’s death. So, let’s discuss how to prevent destruction from a spider mite attack.
Defending Your Plants from the Spider Mite Attack
Protecting your plants from spider mites is not impossible. A properly sealed ventilation system and controlling environmental conditions are key points in defending your garden. In most cases, you even don't know they are accompanying you to your garden. Here are a few steps that you can take to defend your plants:
Did you recently purchase seeds, clones, and some sweet genetics from your friend?
You may be excited to start growing them. Stop! Be patient. Start by setting the plant in a grow tent or a separate room. To save your precious plants from the mites' attack that the ‘new’ plant may be exposing your garden too, try using a grow tent. Spray the new plant with freshwater and closely observe it. Once you are sure that the floras are clean, you can introduce them to your garden.
Keeping Your Garden Clean
An unclean growing space is a home for pests and diseases. Keep your garden clean. Remove dead plants, water the garden, and remove trash every day or every week. Disinfecting your plants after a short while is also a smart option. Make sure you start again after the growing cycle is complete. If you are planting outdoors, you can do little but still closely observe the environmental conditions and surroundings.
Take all possible steps to prevent a spider mite infestation. Do preventive spraying outdoors and even on surrounding plants. This will maintain a nice and fresh look and prevent an infestation too.
Seal ventilation System Using a HEPA Filter
If your plants are growing indoors, maintain temperature and humidity by installing a proper ventilation system within the room or grow tent. It is very critical to maintaining these conditions for plant health and pest prevention. Spider mites can enter your place through the air or your air ducts. The smart way to stop them from entering is through a HEPA intake filter. This filter doesn’t allow spider mites to enter your grow rooms. If you need to know more about it, check out our guide on “grow room environment and ventilation systems.”
Preventive Spraying for Mites
For the easiest solution, you can eliminate spider mites by spraying clean cold water on them. The underside of a leaf is home to these mites, meaning you know their whereabouts. Make a habit of spraying water on plants' foliage. Lowering the pH to 4 and spraying the plants with clean water early in the morning will knock out all the insects.
Identifying Spider Mites
Spider mites are so tiny and hard to detect, so you need to look for spider net-like white webs. The challenge in identifying spider mites is that there are different species that both look and act differently. Don’t worry; we will explain all three of them and tell you ways to identify them. Don’t waste your time finding these tiny insects, and just look for their signs. The first sign of their existence is they spin webs around the foliage. You can also notice a change in the color of the leaves. You can find tiny white, orange, and yellow dots or specks on them.
Determining Different Types of Spider Mites
The family of mites is very vast. There are three main types of species, including:
1. Two-spotted Spider Mites
The most popular spider mites are “two-spotted spider mites.” They usually infest ornamental and vegetable crops. They make unique webs and lay round-shaped eggs. Further, you can find them in hot and dry conditions. They can double in population overnight due to an almost unprecedented rate of reproduction. Their method of damaging plants is that they bite the leaves off, leaving white spots on them. If you don't remove spider mites before they penetrate the bud, it affects flowering.
2. Broad Mites
Broad mites are garden insects that are much smaller in size than their two-spotted family members. You can identify them by their egg size, which is oval-shaped. Further, you can easily find broad mites in new flowers and leaves, and their presence is very difficult to identify until they severely damage the plants. Their saliva is toxic, and it can stop the growth of the affected plant’s leaves.
3. Hemp Russet Mites
Warm and dry conditions promote the spread of hemp russet mites. They enter grow rooms with the soil. Russet mites lay clear round eggs. They start attacking the bottom part of the plants (roots) and start laying their eggs. Their attack causes leaves to become yellow due to a nutrient deficiency.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites
There are several ways you can fight against mites once you identify their presence. There are many pesticides available that you can use.
You may now be thinking about how to know the best treatment for mighty mites.
For this purpose, miticides are the best choice. We suggest you use contact spray instead of a systematic one. Contact sprays remain on plant foliage and do not enter the plant tissue.
Contact and Systematic Miticides spray
Firstly, you can use Contact spray to target the pest. Sprays that consist of oil, horticultural, and pyrethrum are strong and powerful miticide sprays. Further, you can turn off the lights in your grow room and spray your plants with oil-based miticide sprays to get rid of a mite infestation.
Don’t use systematic spray for consumable plants as they absorb these chemicals. When you consume these, they enter your body, risking various diseases.
Use predatory Insects to fight against mites
A great pest control method is to fight fire with fire. Those who don’t want to spray can use predator bugs to fight the infestation. It may sound crazy to release bugs in your gardens, but it is tried and tested. Predatory mites eat all the spider mites without harming the plant. While spraying your plants, don’t kill the bugs that are supposed to be helping you. Stop spraying once you introduce bugs to your garden.
How to Use a Miticide Spray
You can use miticides at the following rate and quantity:
- General Hydroponic Azamax: high end: 4tbsp/gallon, low end: 2tsp/gallon, and mid-end: 2tbsp/ gallon
- General Hydroponics Exile - 5 Tbsp/gallon, use in three days of spraying/red-hot sulfur. Do not mix sulfur
- General Hydroponics Prevasyn: 1 - 2 tsp / 1 Gallon
- “The Pyganic Gardening” 1-2 oz/gallon 1.4%
- Pyganic Specialty.25-.5 oz/gallon - 5%
- Mighty Wash: DO NOT DILUTE; ready to Use
- Green Cleaner - 0.5 - 2 oz / 1 gallon
- SNS217 - Instant Use, avoid dilution
- Fox Farm Force of Nature - 1.5 oz/gallon
The Bottom Line
Follow these steps and save your plants from spider mite attacks. You can easily identify the mites using our guidelines and prevent them from infesting your garden. Check out our full guide on “common grow room diseases and pests” to learn more and become an expert grower.
If you want our assistance in battling spider mites, our staff will help you. Just give us a call at 866-GRO-INDR.