What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are a member of the mite family. They generally live on the bottom sides of leaves of plants. They may spin protective silk webs around your plants, this is how they got the ‘spider’ part of their name. Spider mites are less than 1 millimeter (0.04 in) in size and vary in color. They lay small, spherical, initially transparent eggs. Spider mites are known to feed on several hundred species of plants, causing damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed. This is not good news to those of you out there who were hoping to have a nice garden this season.
Life Cycle And Your Plants
Hot, dry conditions are often associated with population build-up of spider mites. Under ideal conditions (approximately 80 °F), the two-spotted spider mite can hatch in as little as 3 days, and become sexually mature in as little as 5 days. One female can lay up to 20 eggs per day and can live for 2 to 4 weeks, laying hundreds of eggs. A single mature female can spawn a population of a million mites in a month or less. This accelerated reproductive rate allows spider mite populations to adapt quickly. Within 2 weeks of growing plants if you are not careful in taking the proper measures for eliminating spider mites it may be too late. You want to attack them quickly before they reproduce to millions. A problem with mites is that they adapt to their environment quickly, including building immunities to chemical sprays.
Natural Spider Mite Eliminators?
You can try drenching the plants leaves in water, which may or may not work or you can try a homemade spider mite spray.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 drops dish detergent
- 1/2 tsp Epsom salts
Take a cup of very hot water and dissolve the salts, place all other ingredients in a spray bottle , add the salt and fill with 48oz water. Shake well and get your spray on. The best method is to cover soil with plastic, spray all over, especially under the leaves. Wait 20 minutes, then spray with clean water shaking as much water off the plant as you can. The clean water will remove the solution and hopefully the remains of the mites and their eggs. You may need to repeat, but keeping this on hand will be useful for the mites that may reappear or reproduce.