How Do You Kill Spider Mites On Indoor Plants?

How Do You Kill Spider Mites On Indoor Plants

Gardeners often ask, “How do you kill spider mites on indoor plants?” If you find tiny webs around the leaves of your houseplant, accompanied by brown spots on leaves, you’re dealing with spider mites.

To kill spider mites on indoor plants, chemical pesticides are effective, but they are not organic. Alternatively, pruning and destroying the infested areas of the plant, spraying with organic, plant-based miticides, spraying alcohol solution or dish soap solution can help control spider mites. 

Spider mites may look like harmless little spiders, but can have destructive consequences on the plant. Find a suitable technique to get rid of them on your indoor plants before they render irreversible damage on the plants. 

How Do You Kill Spider Mites On Indoor Plants

How Do You Kill Spider Mites On Indoor Plants

Spider mites are tiny bugs that attack a wide range of plant varieties, but are especially problematic on indoor plants. 

They typically look like tiny white spiders, but you may also spot tan, black or red spider mites. 

If you notice delicate, white webbing around your indoor plants, it’s a clear indication that you’re dealing against spider mites!

Once you identify spider mites on your indoor plant, the first thing to do is to isolate the infested plants from the other plants to prevent the spread.

Chemical pesticides can be used to kill the spider mites on the infested plants. 

These pesticides are called miticides and are specifically designed for controlling spider mites.

Since chemicals can be toxic to humans and pets, and spider mites can quickly develop resistance against them, natural pest control is a better option.

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Palms

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Palms

Spider mites can cause serious damage to many houseplants, including indoor palm trees. 

While a few mites can’t do much harm, if an entire colony attacks the palm tree, it can effectively kill it. 

To get rid of spider mites on an indoor palm, spray the leaves with a solution of dish soap and water. 

Prepare the solution using 1 liter warm water and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and add it to a sprayer bottle. 

Spray the plants with the solution to get rid of the mites. 

You may have to repeat applications several times a week for 3 to 4 weeks until the spider mites are gone for good. 

Check out the complete guide to get rid of spider mites on palm trees.

How To Keep Spider Mites Off Indoor Plants

How To Keep Spider Mites Off Indoor Plants

Spider mites love warm and dry environments and will quickly multiply if they receive favorable conditions.

They can be a bigger problem for your indoor plants in winters when the heating system inside the room keeps the environment warm and dries out the air. 

Keeping the indoor air humid is an excellent way to keep spider mites off your indoor plants. 

Use a humidifier in the room or mist the plants regularly to increase humidity and ward off spider mites.

Wipe the leaves regularly to prevent dust because spider mites like feeding on dusty leaves. 

If you get any new plant for keeping indoors, keep it isolated for the first couple of days in your house. 

Once you’re sure that the new nursery plant is not infested, you can bring it to the rest of your plants. 

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Plants Naturally

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Indoor Plants Naturally

Spider mites are so tiny that they are hard to spot with the naked eye. 

However, those delicate webs on the underside of the leaves and brown spots on the leaves shouldn’t go amiss. 

If you inspect closely, you’ll find tiny white dots spread across the leaves – those are spider mites!

Controlling spider mites doesn’t need to involve a bunch of commercial products. 

In fact, there are several natural ways of controlling the pest which are just as effective. 

One effective approach that indoor gardeners practice is to place the infested plant under the bathroom shower and hose it down. 

Use a handheld shower nozzle for the job, paying close attention to the underside of the leaves which is where most of the pest population resides. 

Give your indoor plant a shower every few days to make sure spider mites, or other pests, don’t return. 

You can also prune out the sections of the plants with visible damage to prevent the infestation from spreading to the entire plant. 

Dispose off the pruned parts carefully so they don’t spread the infestation and disinfect your gardening tools and hands once you’re done. 

See the full guide on how to get rid of spider mites naturally.

How Do You Get Rid Of Spider Mites Organically

How Do You Get Rid Of Spider Mites Organically

Chemical pesticides aren’t good for the environment.

Since they’re toxic to humans and animals, using them on houseplants is especially dangerous if you have children or pets in the house. 

Also, you don’t need to rely on pesticides at all when there are so many organic techniques to get rid of spider mites.

There are several plant-based miticides available commercially that use natural ingredients to kill spider mites. 

Though organic miticides are effective in getting rid of spider mites on indoor plants, they won’t harm humans, pets or the plant itself. 

Plant extracts used as miticides include cinnamon oil, garlic extract, clove oil, rosemary oil, mint oil, pyrethrum and others. 

You can also create your own herbal miticide tea by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ground cloves in one quart water and bringing it to boil. 

Take it off the heat and add some crushed garlic. 

Let the mixture cool down and then strain it in a spyer bottle. 

Add a little dish soap to the bottle. 

Mix well and spray your plants with it. 

Make sure you get the underside of the leaves because that’s where all the eggs are!

Repeat application every few days until all the spider mites are gone. 

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites In Your Garden

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites In Your Garden

Spider mites don’t just attack indoor plants. 

They may even be present in the garden.

These pests feed on plant cells, resulting in tiny white speckles on the leaves. 

Once there are too many specks on the leaves, they take a brown cast and will fall off prematurely

There are several ways to get rid of spider mites from your garden, introducing predators being an effective one of them. 

Effective Predators

Lacewings and ladybugs are effective predators but most stores sell other types of mites to control spider mites. 

You can purchase and release them on the infested plants, but make sure which species work best in your climate. 

Alternatively, insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are also effective in treating spider mite infestations on garden plants. 

Insecticidal soaps are most effective in the warm season and will need thorough coverage since they are only effective when they come in contact with the pest. 

Does Dish Soap Kill Spider Mites

Does Dish Soap Kill Spider Mites

Dish soap is effective against several varieties of pests. 

Gardeners often use dish soap as a control technique against spider mites since it’s readily available at home and there’s no need to purchase anything. 

Dish soap kills soft-bodied insects such as spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs by disrupting their cell membranes. 

It can also remove the protective wax on their body, killing them through excessive water loss.

Though hand soaps and dishwashing detergents used at home make an effective control against spider mites and are inexpensive, they might risk plant injury.

Remember that though dish soap can kill spider mites, it’s not specifically designed for use on plants. 

Dry dish soap can sometimes be too harsh on the plants, depending on what product you are using. 

To stay on the safe side, always dilute dish soap in water at a concentration of about 2 to 3 percent before using it on the plants.   

Does Peroxide Kill Spider Mites

Does Peroxide Kill Spider Mites

Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is a registered chemical for use as a plant-safe pesticide against disease-causing fungi and bacteria by the US Environmental Protection Agency. 

Although it’s not registered for use against spider mites and other insects, gardeners have been using it successfully for years. 

When diluted in water to prepare a 5 % solution of hydrogen peroxide, it can kill spider mites and their eggs. 

At 5% or less concentration, the mixture is environmentally friendly and harmless to animals and humans. 

However, the 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide formula that you purchase from the store is corrosive and must be handled with care. 

Wear chemical-proof gloves, safety goggles and a respiratory mask before you handle the concentrated solution.  

Hydrogen peroxide is also effective in removing mold from greenhouses

Conclusion

How Do You Kill Spider Mites On Indoor Plants?

Follow the tips that suit your home, plants and your lifestyle best and hopefully your plants will be rid of spider mites once and for all!

About the author

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.