Red spider mite is a minuscule mite of the Tetranychidae family that attacks garden and indoor plants, both leaf plants and flower-bearing plants.
The term “spider” is actually improperly used, because in reality this is a mite.
They often only induce little damage, but, if they are numerous, they might lead the plant to perish.
Here is how to red spider mites with organic treatments:
Conditions that lead red spider mite to appear
Red spider mites tend to multiply and attack plants when the weather is hot and dry.
That’s why they are found indoors all year round and in the garden in summer, when it doesn’t rain and that temperatures stay above 70°F (20°C).
Additionally, these spiders aren’t insects, and abusive use of pesticides actually contributes to their spread. Since many other insects are their predators, killing them blindly helps them to prosper.
Red spider mite development cycle
Red spider mites feed on sap of plants, sucking it out of leaves to absorb leaf cells.
- Since they reproduce very quickly, an invasion can be devastating if not caught early.
Moreover, they are perfectly capable of migrating from one plant to the next, which leads them to spread to multiple plants if one is infected.
- If you locate an invasion on one plant, move the other plants out of reach, especially if they’re touching.
Red spider mite invasion symptoms
Their tiny size makes them very difficult to see with the naked eye, but a small magnifying glass helps lift any doubt.
- The first symptom is the appearance of small white or yellow dots and then leaves turn completely yellow.
Also, the fact that they weave small webs around the leaves also helps one notice them more easily.
- For that, spray water on the plant and check if you see any webs appear.
Treatment against red spider mite
- Spray calcium-free water on the leaves to create a moist environment that will make them disappear.
- If that isn’t enough, purchase mite-killer that can be found in any garden shop.
Although red spider mites often only cause limited damage, keep an eye on your plants, especially in case of high temperatures and dry weather, because that is when they reproduce the fastest.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Red spider mite on leaf shared by Lori Erickson under © CC BY-NC 2.0
Two mites eating shared by Angelo Milioto under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0