Should I Be Worried About a Red Spider Mite Infestation
Red spider mites are tiny arachnids (hence their name) and they feed on plants. Most of the year, they’re outdoors, but when temperatures drop, they take shelter and lay their eggs in homes and greenhouses.
Just like spiders, they don’t harm humans or cause any damage to property, but it’s still not pleasant to have them in your home. So what should you do about a red spider mite infestation?
Identifying Red Spider Mites
The ‘red’ part of their name can be slightly misleading. For much of the year, the mites are yellow or green with dark spots. It’s only in the autumn and winter that they turn orange-red. At only 0.5mm, they are hard to spot with the naked eye. Chances are you’ll only notice them if there’s an infestation.
Do Red Spider Mites Cause Any Harm?
No, they are harmless to humans and pets. They also won’t damage property or contaminate foodstuffs like other pests. However, it’s still not pleasant to see them in numbers, scurrying over your furniture, walls, or windowsills. The only way they cause harm is they will kill your indoor plants by infesting them and sucking their sap.
How Do They Get In To Homes and Greenhouses?
Red spider mites love hot, dry conditions so greenhouses are like heaven for them, as is your home when the heating is blaring. They get into homes and greenhouses via cracks in window frames and windowsills or through air vents. They can also hitch a ride in on infested plants or even on pets.
Signs You Have Red Spider Mites in Your Home
If you have a red spider mite infestation, it will be most noticeable on plants. Look for webbing on the leaves and stems and discolouration on the upper surface of leaves. You might even be able to see the mites themselves and their eggs underneath leaves.
How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites
Cut back outdoor vegetation
Cut back any shrubs, plants, or trees near potential access points like windows.
Take action with your indoor plants
· Prune and discard any discoloured leaves or parts of the plant that are covered in webbing.
· Rinse your plants and treat them with a soap spray. Mix one tsp of washing up liquid with warm water in a spray bottle and spray the plant until the mites are gone. You can also use a sponge soaked in the mixture to wipe the plant down gently.
· Neem oil is also a good solution to get rid of red spider mites. It contains a chemical compound called Azadirachtin. This chemical interferes with the insects’ ability to grow and reproduce. Mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil and a teaspoon of castile soap with some warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the leaves, stems, and flowers of the infested plant to get rid of red spider mites and other plant pests.
What About a Serious Infestation?
For serious red spider mite infestations, you’ll need to do more than spray your plants. We would always recommend that you call in professional pest control. Firstly, you need to know that it’s actually red spider mites that you’re dealing with. If you don’t know the pest causing the issue, it’s impossible to treat it successfully. Secondly, professional pest technicians will have the knowhow and access to products that aren’t available to the public.
For a fast, effective solution to a red spider mite infestation in your home or greenhouse, call Contego.
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