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How to Get Rid of Mites on Plants

By Lisa Parris ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mites commonly invade garden and household plants. These tiny arachnids have mouths that enable them to pierce the exterior plant surfaces and suck the sap or tissue fluid from the cells. They are not particularly picky diners, infesting a wide variety of plants and quickly reproducing to create massive populations. Typical damage associated with mites includes wilting, dry leaves, undeveloped fruit and decreased plant development.

Inspect your plants for mites before beginning treatment to be certain you are dealing with the correct organism. Mites can be difficult to spot because they are so small. Hold a sheet of white paper beneath an infected plant and gently shake or tap the leaves. Any mites will fall onto the paper.

Control outdoor mite infestation by releasing their biological enemies. Buy ladybugs, lacewings or beetles at a local garden centers. These natural mite predators will work to remove the pests and prevent them from destroying your garden.

Spray plants with a 50-50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. According to researchers at South Dakota State University, isopropyl alcohol is toxic to insects, but evaporates too quickly to do any damage to foliage. Spray the entire plant, particularly the undersides of the leaves where mites tend to hide.

Assault resistant mite populations with a stronger chemical product. Check your local garden center for insecticidal treatments containing the chemical pyrethrin, which is effective for mite treatment.

Create an inhospitable environment for mites by increasing the relative humidity and moisture. Mites prefer dry surroundings and do not do well in damp conditions. Spray the affected foliage with streams of cold water on a daily basis, being sure to wash the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops. You'll improve the situation at once by washing the pests away and discouraging them from coming back.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Plain white paper
  • Ladybugs, lacewings or beetles
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Commercial insecticide

Tip

  • If you choose biological controls, don't spray your garden with insecticide because it will remove the beneficial insects as well as the pests.

Warning

  • Handle all chemical treatments with care, carefully following the package directions for proper application, storage and disposal procedures.

About the Author

 

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.