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Have you discovered teeny-tiny spider webs with little white dots covering your plants? Or even see live mites crawling around?
Have the leaves dried or are there yellow spots? Then you could be dealing with spider mites.
Spider mites destroy your plants en masse in a short time. Luckily, neem oil is a famous natural pesticide that might be able to help!
What Are Spider Mites?
Let’s talk about spider mites for a minute.
Spider mites belong to the Acari family of mites and unfortunately, are found all over the world. They’re tiny arachnids that aren’t particularly picky when it comes to choosing their victim (eh-hem, we mean host plant).
Not only can spider mites wreak havoc on small gardens, but they can also be a big problem for greenhouse growers. That’s because these mites spread like wildfire and quickly infest neighboring plants.
In fact, spider mites can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, and those eggs can hatch in just 15 days!
The good thing about spider mites is that they’re easy to see. You don’t need to break out the binoculars to catch them – just flip your plants’ leaves upside down and you should be able to spot them on your plants.
The downside is that the younger the mites are, the harder they are to see. By the time you spot the mites, you may already have an infestation on your hands.
What to Spider Mites Attack
Spider mites are not picky eaters, as we stated earlier. But, some spider mites are particularly fond of a few plants.
The room ivy (Hedera) is one of them. Spider mites also like:
- Cyprus grass (Cyperus)
- Indoor azaleas (Rhododendron simsii)
- Toe aralia (Schefflera)
- Rubber trees (Ficus elastica)
- Flowering maple (Abutilon)
- Various types of palm trees.
These creepy crawlies are most active in the fall and winter. During those months, you have to be especially vigilant with your plants.
Introducing Neem Oil: a Spider Mite Remedy
One major problem with mites is that they can become resistant to common pesticides. The more you apply those pesticides, the mightier the mite population becomes!
Now, this is where neem oil comes in. Some organic gardeners actually consider this a mite miracle cure.
Neem oil is an organic, plant-based oil that fights against a wide variety of biting and sucking pests such as beetles, caterpillars, lice, or spider mites, as well as fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.
If you spray neem oil directly on the leaves of your plants, you can help kill off a major mite infestation.
Or, if you put neem oil in the water you irrigate with, it strengthens the plant from the inside out through the roots.
Pro tip: spray your indoor plants regularly with water and neem oil. This prevents spider mites because neem oil kills the mites’ eggs. Also, place the plants in wide saucers and leave a little neem oil-infused water there to keep the pests away.
How to Use Neem on Indoor Plants
Once you’ve spotted pests on your plants, it’s time to combat them.
And, you need to do it as fast as possible, before more mini-mites are born. Not all pesticides are suitable for household plants, but luckily, neem is fine.
- To get rid of these mites once and for all, add a few drops of neem oil to a spray bottle and fill it up with water.
- You don’t need to be too exact here – just try not to add too much neem oil. Too much neem can harm your plants as well as the pests.
- Next, spritz a bit of neem oil on your indoor plants. Even though the oil is toxic to pests, it’s fine for humans, so you don’t have to worry about using it inside!
A few pro tips for helping you use neem oil effectively include avoiding applying neem oil to plants in moist environments. Humidity or rain can wash the neem oil off the plants and make them ineffective.
The good news is that if you’re applying neem oil indoors, you shouldn’t have this problem.
The Bottom Line
Spider mites (or any type of mite, for that matter) can become very annoying. And, they can wreak some serious havoc on your plants!
While you always have to check your plants constantly to prevent this type of incident, you can also use neem oil as a preventative measure.
Just make sure that you use it correctly and watch as the magic happens!
Do Spider Mites Become Resistant to Neem Oil?
No. While they can become resistant to other pests, they don’t become resistant to neem oil. In fact, neem oil is an excellent pesticide, used for many years to treat and prevent spider mites.
How Quickly Does Neem Oil Kill Spider Mites?
Neem oil typically takes a couple of days to kill the spider mites. However, if you’ve applied an insect-fighting soap before using neem oil, the neem oil will have a much stronger effect on the plants and will kill spider mites much faster.
What Kills Spider Mites Instantly?
Neem oil is a general pest repellant that will suffocate mites after application. It won’t kill them instantly, like some commercial pesticides, but you don’t run the risk of them building up a tolerance to it.
How Do You Use Neem Oil to Get Rid of Spider Mites?
Spray infested plants thoroughly with diluted neem oil as early as possible in the morning. After that, a little patience is required, because the pests don’t die immediately. However, after a few days, you should notice your plant is pest-free.