When you’re cultivating a garden, you must be on the lookout for the various pests which can cause trouble. While there is a seemingly endless supply of hazardous pests to look out for, some are much more prevalent than others.
One of the most common pests are spider mites. These tiny arachnids can infest most types of plants, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Among the vegetable plants they can ruin are corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more. They’re a major threat to any gardener who is planning on growing food in their garden.
They can be found on the underside of the leaves, eating the plant sap. The affected plant will lose energy, and brown spots and mottling will appear on the leaves. Fruits will display russeting. As the infestation grows, leaves become discolored, appearing bronze or yellow. Eventually, leaves can be scorched and major damage will be done, as the spider mites rapidly reproduce.
A significant population of mites will weave webs. These are nothing like normal spiderwebs, rather, they appear as gauze-like, thin blankets. This is one of the surest signs that an infestation is in full swing. These webs are used for various functions. Most species of spider mites prefer dry conditions, and their webbing wicks away water. Spider mites also lay numerous eggs, and the webs help secure them. The fact that their population can increase so quickly is another reason why they are so hazardous to plants. Without predators, spider mites will reproduce until the host plant is eventually killed off. Another purpose of the webs they weave is for transportation – they can move to new leaves and new host plants.
The fact that spider mites can travel is important to consider. If one plant is affected, then any plants within the vicinity are at risk. The damage can quickly spread in a garden setting. That’s why it’s best to remove any infested plants and treat them separately. If you remove all the plants that are infested, you can save a lot of trouble in maintaining the rest of your garden. Also, make sure to handle the infested plants separately, with different gloves, tools, and even different clothes. Anything you can do to prevent spreading spider mites is useful. If you have an indoor garden, make sure that it has no indirect contact with outside plants.
You must be thorough and consistent in treating spider mites. Even if you wipe out one generation, the small, round, sticky eggs are very difficult to get to. You must do follow-up treatments every few weeks or so to completely get rid of them. Otherwise, the resilient eggs will hatch and their numbers will rebound.
There are many different options for treating spider mite infestations without harming your plants. There are special sprays called miticides which are great tools to kill spider mites and keep a healthy garden. You can release natural predators that will consume mites and eggs. There are other methods, but whichever you choose, it’s important to treat thoroughly.