How To Treat Spider Mites (Plus Tips for Mite Prevention)

Date March 08, 2023

Author TreeNewal Staff

Mites may be tiny, but the damage they cause can be significant. Spider mites often infest gardens and wooded areas and, if left unchecked, they can damage even the largest Texas trees. The key to managing mites is identifying them, treating the affected plants, and using prevention methods to preserve plant health. In this blog article, we’ll explain what spider mites are, the signs of their presence, and how to treat them, as well as provide tips for preventing infestations.

What Are Mites?

Image via Flickr by Plant pests and diseases

The Wichita County Public Health District defines mites as tiny arthropods similar to ticks. They go through four developmental stages, which include egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Mites have eight legs and feed on plants, people, or animals, depending on their type. 

The type that can cause damage to trees is called the spider mite, and an infestation occurs when hundreds or even thousands congregate in groups called colonies. These colonies use the tree as a food source, which results in leaf discoloration and death. Large infestations can cause these areas of the tree to weaken, which has a negative impact on its health.

Signs of Mites

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the herbivorous spider mite damages plants by sucking the contents out of individual plant cells. This leads to a noticeable yellow or brown area on the plant. Other signs include webbing and visible mite activity. Female spider mites can lay eggs several times a year, and each generation takes as little as one week to mature. Without treatment, these colonies continue to multiply and damage their plant host.

How To Treat Mites

There are many ways to remove spider mites from trees, including natural and chemical methods. Natural methods are often effective and safe for the environment, but certain infestations call for a chemical treatment. A certified arborist can talk to you about your spider mite treatment options, such as:

  • Spraying spider mites with water or the natural insecticide neem oil.
  • Making and using an insecticidal soap with dish detergent and water.
  • Applying a chemical  miticideto control severe infestations.

Tips for Preventing Spider Mite Infestations

The best way to control spider mites is by preventing an infestation. Here are some tips for protecting your plants and trees from these microscopic pests:

  • Prune regularly, especially areas that look damaged or dead.
  • Spray with water often to remove mites before they colonize.
  • Plant flowers that attract ladybugs and other natural spider mite predators.
  • Apply horticultural oil in the spring and fall to destroy eggs.
  • Keep your plants and trees watered and healthy.
  • Contact a tree care expert to schedule a nutrition or maintenance service.

We’re Mightier Than Your Mites

The team of certified arborists at TreeNewal has the tools and experience to help you mitigate your mite problem. Our insect and disease management services are sustainable and reliable, and we serve homeowners throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Call us today at 977-388-3359 to learn more.