Especially during the summer time, you may find that your plants are laced with a fine webbing. You may even start seeing tiny holes appear on the leaves. Unfortunately, these are the signs of a spider mite infestation. When this occurs, it is important that you take steps to get rid of them to prevent all your plants from dying.
What are spider mites?
Most species of the spider mite family reside in North America. They will attach to both indoor and outdoor plants. Spider mites are classified as a type of arachnid, which are relatives of spiders, ticks and scorpions. Adult spider mites are only about 1/50 inch long, which is about the size of a period dot.
Spite mites tend to reside in colonies, usually under leaves. They feed by biting the leaf tissue and sucking up the plant’s fluids. If the feeding continues, the leaves will eventually turn yellow and can even dry up and fall off. Spider mites are most commonly found in hot, dry conditions, like Las Vegas. They especially love areas where their natural enemies have been killed off.
Spider mites can be hard to detect initially, which is why there are usually heavy infestations by the time someone notices the damage. Spider mites enjoy strawberries, melons, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, ornamental flowers, trees and most houseplants.
How long do spider mites live?
If spider mites have taken residence in a plant, they will begin laying their eggs on the leaves during winter. As the temperature warms in spring, the eggs will begin hatching and the larvae will feed for a few days before seeking shelter. Once they find shelter, they will molt into the first nymphal stage. They still have to pass through two more molts before becoming full-grown adults.
Female spider mites will produce as many as 300 eggs in just a few weeks. Hot weather conditions will speed up the process. In the middle of summer, it may only take 5 days for the spider mite to go from egg to adult.
How do you get rid of spider mites?
Certain chemical pesticides will only make the infestation worse, because it kills insects that prey on them. Spider mites are even able to develop a resistance to many pesticides. Because of this, you can only use natural, organic methods to get rid of spider mites.
First, discard any plants that are infested. This will prevent them from further spreading. Insects such as ladybugs, lacewings and predatory mites are the spider mite’s natural enemies. These types of insects won’t badly affect your plants and they can easily be purchased in many stores.
Spider mites are attracted to dust, so it is important that you wash away any dust with water. Spider mites are also attracted to plants in need of watering, so you need to properly maintain your plants.
When all else fails and you can’t seem to control the spider mite infestation, an exterminator will have to do the job for you. The experts at R and C Pest Control are dedicated to keeping your home pest free. No matter what type of infestation or how large, they can handle any job effectively. For more information about Las Vegas pest control, contact 702.257.2847.