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How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites

What is the best way to get rid of spider mites?

No bigger than the period at the end of this sentence, Spider Mites are a formidable foe. An infestation can cause damage that is not visibly perceptible until the following year and by that time it could be too late. They can take down the smallest herb and damage full grown spruce tree! Luckily there is proven action to be taken to get rid of them but don’t waste your time using methods for other insects (surprise – mites are not insects!). Join thousands of other homeowners in the battle against this specialized pest. So, what is the best way to get rid of spider mites.

There are three time-proven solutions: products containing natural plant extracts, insecticidal soap, and powerful miticides based on chemicals providing an intense knockdown effect. Keep in mind that spider mites cannot be killed with regular insecticides, therefore, you should opt only for products labeled as miticides. This is one of many misconceptions that we hope to clear up today. Keep reading to find out more unexpected tips and tricks to get rid of these mighty mites.

While being highly potent and pretty toxic, miticides can often be applied directly to plant leaves. Insecticidal oils have a milder action but have the advantage of being comparatively nontoxic. Scientists at Michigan State University note that insecticidal soaps are very effective on spider mites but a generally safe for pollinators. They do not leave residue on plants and, therefore, are not toxic to beneficial insects after drying. As for plant-based solutions, we recommend using products with neem oil extract. This is a highly effective natural miticide that can be safely used on ornamentals, vegetables, and fruits. Each of these options are covered below.

1. Garden Safe Brand Insecticidal Soap
Safe for organic gardening and in greenhouses. The product is made with specially selected soaps that have proven their efficiency against mites.

Garden Safe Brand Insecticidal Soap min: photo

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2. BioAdvanced 701290B Insecticide Miticide
Designed for spider mite control, it combines an insecticide, a fungicide, and a miticide. It is safe for flowers, rainproof and has a 30-day residue.

BioAdvanced 701290B Insecticide Miticide min: photo

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3. Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
This 16-ounce concentrate makes up to 6 gallons of ready-to-use spider mite sprays. OMRI-listed, it is based on potassium salts of fatty acids (49%).

Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap min: photo

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4. Garden Safe HG-93179 Neem Oil Extract Concentrate
A 3-in-1 miticide/insecticide/fungicide solution is safe for flowers, vegetable and fruit crops. The concentrate is based on neem oil extract.

Garden Safe HG-93179 Neem Oil Extract Concentrate min: photo

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Biology and Behavior of Spider Mites:

The first thing you should know is that these tiny creatures are not actually insects, they are rather related to a group of arachnids, and were named spider mites due to their ability to produce fine silk. They are parasites damaging crops, trees, and plants by sucking on the underside of leaves and thus killing the vegetation. For this reason, taking timely measures related to spider mite control is essential for farmers and gardeners facing this kind of infestation.

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In this article, we will tell you how to get rid of spider mites by the most effective way, including a botanical control, and will look at the 8 most popular pest control products which are commercially available. To make our research as reliable as possible, we have based our conclusions only on scientifically proven facts and referred to academic studies. Also, we have examined the consumers’ feedback on particular products.

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites: Comparison Chart with Effectiveness Ratings 1-10

Method Advantage Disadvantage
Removing dust. Grade (1-10): 10 environmentally friendly solution; creates unfavorable conditions for spider mites; does not involve spending money time-consuming; should be done regularly to produce a result
Killing mites with a strong stream of water. Grade (1-10): 9 produce an immediate result; kills lots of mites at once; environmentally friendly solution time-consuming; does not work in case of heavy infestation; may harm leaves of the plants;
Miticides Grade (1-10): 8 produce an immediate result; kills lots of mites at once; most true miticides are available for professionals only; may damage or discolor some species of plants; encourages the spread of mites by killing the beneficial insects preying on them; mites can become resistant to various pesticides; no impact on mite eggs;
Horticultural / dormant oils. Grade (1-10): 10 have minimal impact on beneficial insects; unlike miticides, available for homeowners; effectively destroy eggs and larvae; can be used on a year-round basis the effect lasts for a short period of time; requires repeated applications
Use of natural predators. Grade (1-10): 10 environmentally friendly solution; can be attracted naturally by means of creating favorable conditions can leave the area when running out of food; some species of predatory mites can damage plants; repeated releases of predators may be needed
Diatomaceous earth. Grade (1-10): 9 environmentally friendly solution; does not contain poisons can cause skin human irritation; does not work when wet
Pepper spray. Grade (1-10): 8 can be homemade; easy solution; natural has a short-term effect; can burn and irritate human skin; required repeated application
Nicotine spray. Grade (1-10): 6 can be homemade; natural has a short-term effect; required repeated application
Essential oils. Grade (1-10): 8 kill spider mites without damaging the infested plants; can be homemade; natural; does not have a strong impact on beneficial predators have a short-term effect; required repeated application

TOP-8 Spider Mite Killers

Below you will find a review of commercially available products designed to kill spider mites and their eggs. We will consider natural predators, such as ladybugs and predatory mites, insecticides based on chemicals and natural ingredients, as well as insecticidal soap and dormant oil recommended by scientists for eggs destruction.

1. Garden Safe Brand Insecticidal Soap Insect Killer

This solution is made from plant-derived fatty acids and is compatible with organic gardening. It kills mites on contact by penetrating the body and disrupting cellular function. The product can be applied on vegetables, fruit trees, ornamental plants, including edibles. However, to obtain desirable results, you should spray on spider mites directly, namely, all over the leaves and stems as well as under the leaves, otherwise, the effect is not guaranteed.

Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose Garden Insect Killer 24 Ounces, With Botanical Insecticides, (Pack of 6)

Garden Safe is useless in the elimination of spider mite eggs. It must not be applied on sweet peas and delicate ferns, as well as should be used with care on blooms and transplants. Also, do not treat plants with the spray during the full sun or on hot days. In case of rain, it should be reapplied.

The StopPestInfo Editorial Staff would like to remind users to be thorough, spraying even under the leaves. We also recommend this spray as a seasonal preventative.

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2. Safer Brand 5118-6 Insect Killing Soap Concentrate

Safer Brand costs twice as much as the previous product, but it still seems to be a cost-effective. This concentrate, half of which are salts of fatty acids, makes up to six gallons of ready-to-use liquid. You must mix one-part soap concentrate with 50 parts water. It is certified for use in organic gardening by OMRI and the NOP and can be used on edibles and ornamentals as well. The product’s key distinguishing feature is that the bottle contains fifty times more of the acids than the spray we reviewed before. But still, you will have to make a number of applications for a satisfactory spider mite control.

Safer 5118-6 Insect Killing Soap Concentrate - Insecticidal Soap for Plants - Kills Aphids, Whiteflies, Thrips, Spider Mites, and More - OMRI Listed for Organic Use

To avoid common negative experiences with this product, the SPI Team would like to remind potential users to 1) properly identify that mites are actually your pest and 2) dilute and spray thoroughly and repeatedly. Remembering these tips will save you from the trouble of other, less informed, users.

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3. BioAdvanced 701290B Insecticide Fungicide Miticide 3-in-1

This product containing Imidacloprid is more expensive than the soap concentrates. BioAdvanced is labeled for  application on plants, trees, and shrubs attacking a number of pests, including spider mites. The solution has one-month protection against rain, moreover, its residual lasts two times longer compared with other products. The SPI Research Team observes that the effective time of this product allows it to span over the life cycle from egg to adult in some mite species. This is important because most products work only on adult spider mites.

BIOADVANCED 701290B Insecticide Fungicide Miticide 3-in-1 Insect, Disease & Mite Control, 24 oz, Ready-to-Use (Pack of 2)

This product is touted as the one that finally worked after trying many other sprays. To avoid any negative experiences, try our recommendation of applying it daily to the leaves of the most heavily affected plants. Don’t forget to include spraying the soils as well, according to the instructions.

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4. Supreme Growers Smite Spider Mite Killer

This insecticide will cost you more money, but this is the price to pay for a solution based on natural ingredients. It is designed specifically to control spider mites and, according to the manufacturer, the product kills them at all stages, including eggs. Apply the product both indoors and outdoors, it is safe for pets, people and the environment.

Supreme Growers Smite Spider Mite Killer 32oz Concentrate Makes 32 Gallons All Natural Pesticide Concentrate, Non-Toxic, Biodegradable, Organic Eco Friendly Pest Control

Supreme Growers Smite Spider Mite Killer includes active ingredients sodium lauryl sulfate which creates a foam, as well as geranium, castor and rosemary oils. Regarding the latter, as we stated above, rosemary oil causes a total elimination of the affected mites, with plants remaining unharmed if the product is used at reasonable concentrations.

The manufacturer claims that this product is as effective as chemical pesticides which are not as environmentally friendly. There are some mixed feelings expressed on the internet based on user experience. The SPI Research Team suggests that this is still an excellent product to try first if you value environmentally responsible ingredients. There is sound science behind this product are we are proud to recommend it for use indoors and in tandem with other initial  treatments like spraying or wiping the mites off.

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5. 1500 Live Ladybugs

Ladybugs are natural enemies of spider mites and a very efficient solution to the pest infestation problem. This package contains 1500 ladybugs which are guaranteed to be delivered alive. Also, you will get a guide on how and when to release these insects, as well as some tips related to the treatment.

NaturesGoodGuys 1500 Live Ladybugs - Good Bugs- Ladybugs - Guaranteed Live Delivery!

Taking into account the recommendations of the scientists mentioned above, this looks like an attractive offer as not only adults ladybugs, but their larvae as well prey on spider mites. When buying 1500 these beneficial insects you actually get much more of them since ladybugs will reproduce increasing their population.

It is preferable to release them at dusk close to the infested plants and trees. Prior to releasing the ladybugs, irrigate the plants to provide these insects with a source of water. Do not let them out at once, rather introduce in small portions regularly. However, if you have just applied any pesticide in the garden, wait for several weeks before releasing the ladybugs. Time your purchase accordingly. As a reference, this number of ladybugs covers about 1000 square feet of the area.

We are pleasantly surprised with how many individuals have experienced receiving healthy lady bugs in the mail. What an amazing time we live in to have so many natural options for dealing with pests. Pay attention to our suggestions above to give these little beauties the best chance to do what they do best.

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6. 2,000 Live Adult Predatory Mites

If you do not trust these tiny ladies, but still want to use natural predators, consider predatory mites. This offer is twice as expensive as the previous one (also, user comments from around the internet can be a little negative…). The package contains 2,000 predatory mites of different species, so you do not have to guess which one you need in a particular case.

2,000 Live Adult Predatory Mites - A Mix of Predatory Mite Speciesl - Ships Next Business Day!l

Despite divided opinions about these little warriors, the method is proven and often recommended by scientists. The SPI Team would like to point out that the predatory mites will probably not set up a colony on your house plants as there is no guarantee they will reproduce.

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7. Voluntary Purchasing Group 32034 EMW7309834

Dormant Spray contains 97% paraffinic oil as an active ingredient. Present-day dormant oils can be applied to plant leaves on a year-round basis without damaging the foliage, however, in earlier years, dormant oils used to be less refined and unsafe for some plants. This solution should be applied only in the dormant season (winter).

Voluntary Purchasing Group 32034 EMW7309834, 32 oz

Since the product is a concentrate, mix it with water at a rate of approximately 2 oz per gallon. Actually, the dilution rate depends on the plant you treat. For ornamental ones mix 1.5 oz. per gallon of water, for fruit trees — 3 oz. per gallon. The liquid should be sprayed three times while the plant is dormant.

Many gardeners enjoy the chance to get ahead of pests instead of waiting to battle them all summer. The benefit is being able to get out and enjoy your time being productive in the garden in winter.

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8. Mite Massacre 8 oz. Spider Mite Killer and Powdery Mildew Fighter

This solution is designed to kill both adults and their eggs by first suffocating spider mites and then drying their bodies and eggs which lead to the total elimination of several generations. Mite Massacre is a concentrate making up to 8 gallons of spray. To that end, dilute one oz. per gallon of water.

Mite Massacre 8 oz. Spider Mite Killer and Powdery Mildew Fighter - Makes 8 GALLONS of Spray

The product is based on a blend of saponified oils killing pests. While being a combination of pesticidal and fungicidal properties, it is based on natural ingredients and can be applied to edibles, however, it is not certified organic. According to the manufacturer, spider mites do not get immune to this product.

Mite Massacre is moderately well liked. The SPI Team thinks it is a good method for plants that regularly suffer from powdery mildew as a combination treatment. To avoid the negative experience of damaging your plants, we suggest trying it out on one plant per species at a time to assess the risk. There is no reason to spray every single plant you own all at once!

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Summary of how to get Rid of Spider Mites:

It might be a long journey ahead but the good news is there are many products and methods out there to choose from. Hopefully the efforts and observations of the SPI Team to distill only the very best information will help you win the battle. The best advice is to get started with the one you feel the most comfortable applying regularly and stick to the plan being willing to pivot to a different technique to save your plant babies!

Comparative Chart Of Spider Mite Control Products

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2 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites”

  1. Imidacloprid is specifically NOT recommended for spider mites. 1. It doesn’t kill them, 2. It removes any existing natural predators and 3. It’s use is known to actually result in outbreaks of spider mites where they previously did not exist. We had problems with mealy bugs and hard scale and ended up treated the whole garden with Imidacloprid (after trying everything else that’s recommended, such as soap and neem oil). Four months later, we are inundated with spider mites on everything. Including me, which is how I tracked them down; I was being bitten, resulting in severe, persistent itchy bumps. After excluding everything else I looked at some plants I was constantly brushing past and lo and behold, infestations of spider mites.

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