How to Get Rid of House Plant Spider Mites

Overview

Spider mites are tiny; at less than 1/32 of an inch long, the insects can be very hard to see on the leaves of your house plants. The pests range in color from green to yellow, and red to brown, and may appear in the midst of a fine webbing when the infestation is widespread. Spider mites use needle-like tubes to feed on the leaves of plants; the plant's coloring becomes inconsistent as a result, which is called stippling. Biologic control agents and chemicals can help you get rid of spider mites on your house plants.

Step 1

Use a magnifying glass to inspect the underside of your house plant's leaves. Pick any spider mites off by hand.

Step 2

Deliver a forceful stream of water to your house plant to get rid of spider mites and its eggs. Use a syringe, spray bottle or spray attachment from your kitchen sink. Spray your plant with water whenever you see the mites on the leaves.

Step 3

Water your house plant regularly to prevent the soil from becoming bone dry. Spider mites tend to gravitate toward dry, hot surroundings. If your plant sits in a very sunny window, relocate it to a cooler spot in the house.

Step 4

Introduce biological controls that feed on spider mites, like green lacewings and predator mites. Introduce predator pests to your house plants outside to avoid an infestation of insects in your home. The number of predators released per plant will depend on the plant type and the level of infestation (see Resources).

Step 5

Kill spider mites with insecticide, horticultural oil or insecticidal soaps and pesticides that contain bifenthrin. Spray insecticide (also called miticide) once, then again five days later. Apply enough spray so that the fluid runs off the leaves, and be sure to spray the underside of the leaves. Chemical sprays can last up to six weeks in some cases.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Syringe or spray bottle
  • Biologic control species
  • Insecticide

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Houseplant Arthropod Pest Management
  • Colorado State University Extension: Managing Houseplant Pests
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Mites

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Biological Control of Spider Mites
Keywords: webbing, pest control, remove

About this Author

Erica Roth was a college reference librarian for 8 years, and has been a freelance writer since 2007. Roth graduated with honors from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature, and earned an Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Roth is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.