In the thick of summer, pesky pests called spider mites make themselves at home on our plants. Their mission? Pierce and feed on plant leaves.
The best way to protect your plants from spider mite damage is to recognize the signs of an infestation, treat it and take precautionary steps to prevent future problems.
Below, you’ll find all the info you need to identify and get rid of spider mites.
Spider mites are teeny tiny garden pests most closely related to spiders and ticks.
Under a magnifying glass, it’s clear that spider mites come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
But these pests are incredibly small—we're talking one millimeter at most, which is about how thick a credit card is! To the naked eye, spider mites just look like red, yellow, black or brown moving dots.
Because of their size, spider mites can easily sneak their way onto our landscapes. There may be spider mites on outdoor plants you bought from a garden center or nursery. Or they may be blown in by the wind.
Spider mites can also spread pretty quickly because they feed on a range of plants. Whether indoor or outdoor, evergreen or deciduous, spider mites aren't very picky about what they eat.
Even though spider mites cut into and feed on the bottom of tree leaves, their damage appears on top. There are three key signs of a spider mite infestation:
If you suspect spider mites have invaded your tree but want to know for sure, hold a sheet of paper under a branch and lightly shake it. The mites will fall off and look like speckles on the paper.
Here’s how to treat spider mites in the summer or winter season:
Knowing natural predators, i.e. what eats spider mites can also help. Rival insects like predator beetles or lacewings can help cut down on spider mite populations
Spider mites attack during drought season because they love stressed out plants. During hot and dry periods, keep your plant hydrated by providing at least one inch of water per week and adequate mulch.