Spider mites are a terrible pest. They can live undetected on the bottoms of your plant leaves, invisible to the naked eye. Even though you may not be able to see them, they are still there, hurting your plants. You will know if you have spider mites by mysterious yellow, red, white, and brown spots forming on your plants' leaves, and tiny, nearly invisible webs. If these symptoms occur, you are in trouble unless you take the proper steps in response. So what should you do if you have a spider mite infestation in your home? The following instructions will give you a good idea of how to proceed.
Step 1 - Setup
When you realize that you have a spider mite problem in your home, you should do your best to make sure it does not spread. Figure out which plants have spider mites. If you are unsure, check for spots, webs, or tap on the leaves while holding a piece of paper underneath them to check for red spots. If your plant has these symptoms, it has spider mites.
Now that you know which plants have spider mites, separate those plants from the rest of your garden creating as much distance as possible.
Step 2 - Spray
There are a wide variety of products that can be used to kill spider mites. However, since you will be spraying them inside your own home, your options are limited to things that are relatively non-toxic. Additionally, though it is often done in gardens, introducing predatory mites into your own home to control spider mites is not a very good solution.
The best way to kill spider mites in your home is by spraying with a mixture of equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and water. Rubbing alcohol will kill any living animal, but will cause minimal damage to your plants due to the speed at which it evaporates. Once you have filled your spray bottle with the mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, spray your affected plants thoroughly, focusing on the undersides of the leaves, as this is where the spider mites are trying to make their homes.
You may have to continue spraying for several weeks before all of the mites are dead.
Step 3 - Increase Humidity
Spider mites love hot, dry weather. Therefore, you should make sure that they encounter the opposite conditions. Misting affected plants with a spray bottle will inhibit the reproduction of new mites and the activity of existing ones. Using your spray bottle full of water on plants that have no mites yet will help keep them mite free.
A humidifier is also a great way to keep down spider mites. Whatever you do, you should take care to avoid your plants drying out.
Spider mites also like the heat, so keeping temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is a good way to prevent them from living and reproducing.
Step 4 - Prevent Future Problems
Aside from controlling the temperature and humidity, there is relatively little you can do to prevent indoor spider mite outbreaks. However, as you should be controlling temperature and humidity for indoor plants anyway, this should not present a problem now that you are armed with information and a battle plan.