According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, spider mites look like tiny moving dots to the naked eye. They are very hard to spot, but they are nasty pests that can be a real problem for some households. Some people prefer to use homemade natural remedies to kill spider mites because of environmental safety, especially if there are children and pets present in the household.
Spider mites can be difficult to get rid of. Some choose to use harsh chemicals on their plants to get rid of spider mites and the plant doesn’t survive the chemical solution. This is a common problem, so preventing spider mites to begin with is especially important. Spider mites are particularly attracted to plants, such as mums and other green foliage. They also like African violets, which are extremely delicate plants. Sometimes spider mites will jump from one plant to another, so keeping these plants separated can be a form of prevention.
If you think you have spider mites, it’s important to know for sure before treatment. Hold a white piece of paper underneath the suspected infested plant leaf, gently shaking the plant. If you see small black dots on the white piece of paper and they appear to be moving, there are spider mites on the plant. Spider mite-infested plants may turn milky or have bleached colors. Fruit trees, tomatoes, strawberry plants, roses and various houseplants may become infected with spider mites.
The Early Stages
In the early stages of spider mite infestation, try taking indoor plants outside or spraying outdoor plants down with high-pressure water, making sure not to break the leaves or flowers off of the plant. Spray the underside of the leaves with water well. If you see ladybugs out and about, you can move them to your spider mite-infested plants or you can purchase ladybugs in some gardening centers. Ladybugs will help to naturally get rid of spider mites. Water is still the best natural defense against spider mites and can help with prevention if the plants are liberally sprayed down two to three times per day.
Add peat moss in between plants that are planted outside. This can help tremendously with spider mite control. Also be sure to properly tend to your garden, generously watering daily. Spider mites like dry conditions.
Keep plants out of the sun, which means moving plants out of the afternoon sun if they are indoors or moving potted plants out of the direct sun in the afternoon.
The rubbing alcohol treatment is the best and cheapest non-pesticide home remedy for spider mites. Rubbing alcohol is fairly inexpensive (usually you can buy two large bottles of rubbing alcohol for about $3). Mix a 50/50 solution of part rubbing alcohol and part water in a spray bottle and spray your infested plants (including the underside of the leaves) two to three times a day. This treatment may be too harsh for some plants, such as African violets.
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