Insects and Houseplants
 - Spider Mites

Spider Mites on Bamboo Palm

Look closely and if you find little webs on your plantsunder the leaves or where the leaves meet the stem, or if the underside of the leaves look dusty, your plant has Spider Mites.  Leaves may also take on a silvery sheen.


Spider mites on Parlour Palm
Spider Mites on English Ivy


Cousins to the ordinary spider, Spider Mites live for about a month. They love hot, dry air and are more common during winter months when the furnace is pumping hot air into the room.

At 60 degrees, one female will produce about 20 eggs. Increase the temperature to 80 degrees and her production can reach 13 million eggs! This explains why a plant that looked clean and healthy a week ago is suddenly covered with mites. 

Spider Mites are highly contagious and adult mites are always looking for other plants. They travel on pets, hands, clothes, and even air currents.

Spider Mites on Gardenia


Controls for Spider Mites

Spider mites don't have protective shields which makes controling them somewhat easier than other insects.

Neem Oil is an effective control for spider mites.  Mix 1 TBLS of Neem Oil in 1 quart of water in sprayer. Add a drop of dish soap to help the Neem Oil mix with water. Shake thoroughly.

Neem is effective for 12 hours after mixing.

  1. Spray plant leaves throughly.
  2. Take care to spray every leaf top and bottom. Be sure to get into crevice where the leaf meets the stem.
  3. Spray pebbles.
  4. Spray grow pot.
  5. Rinse with clear water.
  6. Repeat once a week for 3 weeks.