Spider Mites are very tiny arachnids; adult females are about 0.4mm long. They have four pairs of legs and a pair of needlelike stylets (mouth parts) they use to pierce plant tissue and suck juices.
Spider Mites are a common pest of houseplants, roses and other plants, causing leaves to turn yellowish with a silvery sheen, and often drop off. Outdoors, the entire canopy of the plant will have a bronzed, speckled appearance prior to leaf drop. They usually congregate on the undersides of the leaves, and if the infestation is severe enough, you'll see the webbing there. Another way to test for mites is to hold a piece of white paper under a branch and shake it. If you see any tiny specks fall on the paper, and after a few seconds the tiny specks begin moving, those are Spider Mites.
Spider Mites like warm and dry conditions – exactly what it's like in many homes in winter or outdoors in the heat of the summer. They also prefer plants stressed due to a lack of water or ones covered with dust. Spider Mites are nearly invisible to the human eye and are easiest to see with a magnifying glass.
Spider Mites are found throughout the United States.
- Spider Mites like dusty plants, so it helps to frequently wipe down houseplant leaves with a damp cloth.
- Spray outdoor plants with a strong jet of water from a hose.
- Water properly to avoid drought stress.