spider mites

Keeping Your Plants Safe from Spider Mites

Dan This Land of Ours

spider mites
Scale : mite body length ~0.5 mm
By Gilles San Martin – originally posted to Flickr as Tetranychus urticae with silk threads, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Cathy Isom gives you some important tips about how to keep your plants safe from spider mites. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Keeping Your Plants Safe from Spider Mites

Spider mites may be small pests, but they’re insidious. Once they infest your houseplants, they can quickly take over within a week.

These tiny pests can be challenging to spot with the naked eye. The females only grow to 1/50th of an inch long, and they’re larger than their male counterparts! When they’re crawling on a leaf’s undersurface, they can appear like specks. They’re so tiny, in fact, that they can travel from one plant to another by floating on a breeze. They can also hitch a ride on your clothes or pets, and even get indoors through air intake vents.

spider mites
Spider mites on a lemon plant
By Paramecium – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

A small infestation will leave tiny, yellowish-green spots on your houseplants. Spider mites tend to feed on a plant’s tissue and sap by piercing a leaf wall and sucking the juices out. This is what causes the leaves to spot. Over time, the tiny yellow spots will turn into an entire yellow or brown leaf.

If you closely examine a plant infested with mites, you may see a very fine webbing on the leaves and stems of your plant. Mites lay their eggs in the webs, and they spin their webs all over the plants they infest.

Mites flock to houseplants during the winter because the dry, indoor air is a more appealing habitat than the colder, wet or snowy temperatures outside. This is why it’s important to check your plants thoroughly when bringing them inside for the winter. Give them a thorough look every few months, especially when temperatures and moisture conditions shift.

I’m Cathy Isom…