What Are Spider Mites?
The ubiquitous Spider Mite is a common pest in the landscape, but they are not insects, they actually have eight legs and are in the Spider family. The actual Spider Mite is so tiny that it is almost impossible to see without a magnifying glass. The most common way of identifying that you have Spider Mites is by the hard-to-see webs that they leave on your plants, in conjunction with the decline of the health of the plant.
Will Spider Mites Damage My Plants?
Yes. Spider Mites feed on the cell content in your plants by piercing the leaf and feeding on the green fluids that ooze out of the leaf. Heavy infestations can kill a plant within a month or two, depending upon the size of the plant. One an infestation begins, the plant will start to dull in color as the Spider Mite feeds, eventually turning a yellow or brown color. If the infestation continues, the branch or leaf takes on a gray or bronze color as the branch dies. This feeding will continue throughout the entire summer season, and will be most prolific during periods of drought.
How Can I Control Spider Mites Myself?
Yes, there are several things that property owners can do to reduce the damage that a Spider Mite infestation can cause. Chemical control is by far the best method of controlling Spider Mites. Many hardware/big box stores sell homeowner-accessible chemicals that will kill Spider Mites. Because come of these chemicals can also harm the plant that is hosting the infestation, you should read the label carefully to prevent doing any additional damage to the plant. Apply according to the instructions, and since the breeding season is all summer long, you will have to apply a few times during the summer season.
The more organic way of controlling Spider Mites is a very time intensive method. By using your garden hose with a jet nozzle attached, spray the webs from underneath to blast the webs, and therefore the Spider Mites, up into the air. This will kill the current batch of Spiders and eggs. This method will have to be do repeatedly during the summer, maybe even weekly.
To help minimize the damage to the plant that an infestation can cause, be sure to water the plant often during a drought period. See our page on watering plants during a drought for more information on shrub watering.
Can Suburban Landscaping Help Control Spider Mites?
Yes. Our State licensed technicians have access to restricted chemicals that homeowners are not able to purchase. The tools available in our arsenal include Miticides, dormant oils, and insecticidal soaps among others. Two applications approximately 10-14 days apart are required for best control. Choosing the correct landscape company to control Spider Mites is very important, primarily because using the incorrect insecticide not only will not kill the Spider Mites, but will kill their natural predators instead, causing the infestation to actually get worse. Please call our office, or fill out the online form, to request a quote for combating an infestation of Spider Mites in your landscape.
How Can I Identify A Spider Mite Infestation Myself?
The easy way of diagnosing a Spider Mite infestation is to get a white sheet of paper and hold it under a branch of the plant. Then gently slap the branch onto the paper so debris falls onto the paper. Clear away the large debris and large bugs leaving only very mall debris. Next, swipe your hand over the debris on the paper, a red smear will appear if you have Spider Mites.