Spider mites can destroy your indoor plants and crops.  We consult many people every week about treatment options. 

Here We Grow staff recommends natural and organic products. These can be applied in a variety of ways and the proper method usually depends upon the plant variety being treated.

Below we’ll explore identification of spider mites on your plants, treatment options and their proper application for the given plant or crop.  

IDENTIFICATION

Use a microscope or magnifying glass to look under leaves, on stalks, and at the surface of soil.  We carry a variety of Hydrfarm’s Active Eye products and recomend using them on a regular schedule before symptoms manifest.  

Spider mites often appear translucent so they could appear to be dust.  Under grow lights, you may have a difficult time seeing the mites so check for spots or lifted dots.  You may notice webbing. 

Leaves show symptoms of prolonged infestation with yellowing and dried tips.  They may appear burnt such as due to dehydration or after overexposure to light.  Affected leaves eventually begin to droop.  This is how spider mites can kill your plants.  Without healthy leaves, your plants cannot conduct photosynthesis to provide energy to the plant.  

TREATMENTS

Neem Oil

Neem Oil really should be used as a preventative measure although it can be useful to treat spider mites if identification occurs prior to full blown infestation.  “Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, an evergreen that is native to India. Neem oil has been used for centuries in the garden, around the home, as medicine, and in beauty products.”, according to Monica Mansfield in High Times.

Dyna-Gro Pure Neem Oil is highly sought by experienced gardeners so we consistently keep it on our restock list.  Dyna-Gro’s Pure Neem Oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the Neem tree. This organic leaf polish can be used on any plant to produce clean, shiny leaves. Pure Neem Oil leaves a natural shine on leaves without clogging the stomata.

Sprays

Sprays are the easiest way to treat spider mites since all you really have to do is point and shoot.  Here We Grow carries industrial and household options.

Sprays can immediately interrupt the vital functions of the mites and hasten the other two treatment methods – neem oil and sanitization.  We recomend that all three treatment options be used in conjunction following identification of an infestation.

Liquid Ladybug is a bio miticide using organic botanical oils for controlling spider mite infestations on all indoor and outdoor plants and crops.  Spray it directly onto your plants.  It is designed to interrupt mite respiration and evaporates away after application leaving no odor.  Liquid Ladybug is lights-on safe, flower and fruit safe and can be used daily; from germination to harvest. Designed as a zero environmental impact pesticide; it is safe for people, pets and plants.

Mighty Bomb is 100% organic and has been formulated to be a very powerful and effective natural mite killer.  Due to its extreme potency, it is recommended that you use it only in diluted form.  Since it is made of natural and botanical oils it is non-toxic and suitable for indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse use.

Doktor Doom makes an aerosol spray formulated specifically for treatment of spider mites.  It is aptly named Doktor Doom Spider Mite Knockout.  This spray has a high concentration of the naturally-occurring insecticide pyrethrin, used to control aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, and more. Can be used indoors and out; safe to apply on food crops up to one day before harvest.

Fogging

Fogging may help but could require multiple, regular applications to fully defeat spider mite infestations.  Mighty Bomb and Doktor Doom both make foggers that Here We Grow staff recommends.  Both are made of plant-based substances and are safe for use on all food crops.

Try a backpack sprayer if you are treating a large garden or may have difficulty maneuvering a handheld sprayer to reach all affected areas.  The investment in something like the four-gallon Hudson Commercial Bak-Pak Sprayer could recoup itself quickly.  It is important to consider longterm management of pests, especially if you are a commercial grower.

Sanitization

Sanitization is the most important longterm method for treating and preventing spider mite infestations.  This involves neem, spray, and fogger applications.  More importantly it involves preventative measures such as he following:

Treat clones or cuttings immediately when bringing them from others’ gardens into yours.  You can do this by “mak[ing] a little [treatment] bath at half strength and as long as the cuttings are well rooted I turn them upside down and dunk them in the bath.”, as suggested by Hydrofarm‘s Kelley Ryan.

Apply neem oil early on in the plant’s like to treat leaves and prevent spider mites from ever considering your garden a potential home.  And, keep using right up to harvest!

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Categories: Gardening

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