These mites are tiny less than 1mm in size spherical red, brown or green colored insects. They are generally found underneath the leaves of the plants where they lay their eggs. There are about 1200 species of spider mites known till date and all of them are harmful for the plants. They breed by puncturing the food supply to the leaves of the plant. These mites are very dangerous to the plants. Dry and arid conditions fuel the growth of these mites under the leaves. They can reproduce millions of eggs in a short span of 5 days. The average life span of a spider mite is from 2 to 4 weeks. They can cause considerable damage to the plants like pepper, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, corn and strawberries. They form a web-like silk covering around the eggs to protect them from the predators. This web-spinning ability of theirs gives them their spider name. Since they have a short span of lifetime and reproduce in millions, the prolonged usage of the same pesticides against them may bring immunity for those chemicals in them. This makes the pesticides sprayed to protect the plants ineffective against spider mites. There are many natural methods to prevent the growth of these mites too but their effectiveness depends on the concentration of these mites in plants. If the plants are heavily infected by spider mites then these natural methods may prove ineffective and the chemicals are needed to be used.
Spider Mites: Protection
There are various methods to check the growth of spider mites. The primary method is to keep normal moist conditions around the plants which naturally avoid their growth as the mites prefer dry and arid conditions for their survival. Spraying the leaves and underneath with fresh water where these mites generally breed can also prove to be very helpful. The natural predators of spider mites like ladyfinger; lacebugs etc. can also be introduced in the plantation which naturally kills these mites. Besides the natural measures a number of chemicals are also used to prevent the growth of spider mites. The most basic chemical formula used is soap in water. Cleaning the leaves and spraying underneath the leaves with this solution can prove to be very useful to check the growth of these mites. There are many specialised chemicals available in the market to control the growth of spider mites. But the person needs to be very careful while using them as these chemicals can also harm the leaves of the plants. Moreover, the long term usage of the same chemicals develops immunity in the spider mites which make these substances useless against the mites.
Some other chemical compositions which can be produced at home to prevent from spider mites are:
- ¼ cup of baking powder, ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 spoon lemon juice, 2 drops of washing detergent and ¼ teaspoon Epsom salt. First spraying the leaves with this solution and then after few hours with fresh water is very effective against the mites.
- A combination of soap, water with garlic, cinnamon, clove oil and lemon juice can be sprayed on the plants to protect the leaves and kill the spider mites.
- Rubbing alcohol is another strong chemical used but it can harm the plants also so its usage is done very carefully.
Following all these measures and regularly checking the plants can help a lot to protect against spider mites effectively.