Spider mites are not truly spiders, but they are arachnids – the class of organisms that contains spiders, ticks, and mites – all have eight legs and two body segments. Insects, on the other hand, have six legs and three body parts. A big difference between spiders and spider mites is in what they eat. Spiders suck the juices out of insects or other prey. Spider mites, for the most part, are plant eaters – phytophagous. Spider mites are a huge pest problem when their populations explode. They are very harmful to agriculture crops, home gardens, and landscaping.
Signs Of Spider Mite Infestations
At the very worst stages of a spider mite infestation you will see orangish looking webs that cover parts of the plant. Sometimes the webbing is just a whitish color. The orange color comes from the mites themselves which are often a dull orange in color.
In the beginning of an infestation the plants become stippled. Stippling is a dotting on the plants leaves and stems. Each dot is the sight were a might has plunged its needle-like mouth part into the plant to extract the plant sap and fluid. These are micro-wounds and as they grow in number, the plant begins to fail. It cannot thrive – bring water or nutrients to its leaves, flowers, and fruit – because the mites are stealing all of the plant sap and fluid.
As the infestation increases you will notice small webs around the plant, on leaves, and between leaves. The plant may begin to wilt or discolor. This is a situation that can spread to plants throughout a garden or farm and can cause significant loss of plants which greatly affects crop yield.
What Can You Do About Spider Mites?
There are a few natural remedies that can work. Organic gardeners use products such as Neems oil to help repel pests, including spider mites. Another trick is to order predatory spider mites which are another species of mites that prey upon the plant eaters. This process can be effective, but it does not happen overnight. In fact, it can take an entire growing season for the results to become observable.
Removing infected plants is the best option. However, you will need to remove them carefully. We recommend that you use a large trash can and a garbage bag. Carefully cover the plant in the garbage bag so that the opening of the bag is at the base of the plant. You want to do this in a way that disturbs the leaves and plant the least amount possible. This is because you do not want to dislodge the spider mites so that they fall onto the ground. Once the bag is over the plant, seal it shut at the roots and dig the plant up and discard the entire thing into a green waste container. Do not put diseased plants into your compost pile. You will want to treat the soil with dematiaceous earth to help control any mites that might have fallen onto the ground.
The more practical approach is to use our pest control professionals to spray certain plants with specialized pesticides that kill plant sucking insects. For a complete solution to all of your pest control issues, reach out to our team. We provide complete pest control to the entire greater Austin Community.
Do you need pest control? Don't wait. Call Robert's Pest Control now at (512) 444-0132.