Are you worried because your plants are turning yellow in patches? Have you noticed webs all over your plants without any trace of spiders? Well, it may be a spider mites infestation causing all the trouble.
To avoid such a situation, you should reach out for an effective natural remedy. Although it is quite challenging to find a non-toxic, eco-friendly solution for spider mites, it is the only way to protect the plants and the environment from harmful toxins.
Neem oil is the safest possible solution for getting rid of spider mites.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about neem oil spider mites. Read on to find out more about the identification and treatment of a spider mites infestation.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are common plant pests that can prove fatal for your plants if their growth is left unchecked. Not just that, these tiny sap-sucking creatures are also resistant to insecticides. Unfortunately, by the time you notice damage symptoms, they would have infested the whole garden.
Unlike other common plant pests, spider mites can be destructive for the whole crop. As their name suggests, they are not insects; instead, they belong to the class Arachnida. Moreover, they react differently to most insect pesticides.
How Do Spider Mites Affect Plants?
Given the right conditions, spider mites can grow and spread rapidly. They can harm both indoor and outdoor plants such as ornamentals, berries, cannabis, and fruit trees.
Spider mites can damage the whole plant without being noticed at all. They look like tiny black dots moving on the surface of plant leaves. However, most of the species form colonies on the underside of plant leaves.
Furthermore, they feed by sucking plant fluids through the leaves and give them a dusty appearance. As a result, the leaves turn yellow and fall off from the plants. They are present mainly in the warmer regions of North America.
Identifying Spider Mites in Your Garden
At an initial stage of growth, spider mites form yellow spots on the surface of leaves. Small holes in leaves are also an indication of an infestation. The leaves may wilt or deform and drop off eventually.
Fine webbing on the plant is another prominent sign of a spider mites attack. It keeps the eggs safe and is usually present around the feeding areas.
To confirm the presence of spider mites, place a paper under the leaves and shake the stem lightly. Small yellow or brown colored bugs will fall on to the paper and start moving quickly. You can see them easily through a magnifying glass.
For the healthy growth of your plants, it would help if you kept checking for possible pest attacks. Otherwise, pests such as mites would spread throughout the garden without you knowing it.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is obtained mostly from the seeds of the neem tree. It has been used in soaps and waxes for a long time. For centuries, people have used it as an insecticide. It contains high concentrations of the compound azadirachtin that is effective in killing pests.
The neem tree, also called Azadirachta indica, is indigenous to South Asia. In addition to its insecticidal traits, this oil has medicinal uses too. Also, it is being used in many cosmetic products worldwide.
Let’s see how you can use this oil to prevent mites from attacking your plants.
Using Neem Oil to Treat Spider Mites
Neem oil works by disrupting the hormonal balance of the insects. The active compound in the oil interferes with the insect’s life cycle and prevents it from laying eggs. Moreover, it acts as a repellent and inhibits the growth of mites.
As described previously, conventional pesticides don’t affect spider mites. In fact, they make the infestation worse by killing bugs that feed on mites. Thus, treating spider mites by applying general pest control measures isn’t a good idea.
Using a sprayer to sprinkle neem oil onto the plant leaves is an effective method of treating mites. Many companies have made easy-to-use home garden sprayers. It makes the whole process more convenient and practical.
How to Apply Neem Oil to Plants?
The standard procedure for using neem oil as an insecticide involves two steps. Neem oil has a half-life of about 22 days in the soil, whereas it lasts for a maximum of four days in water.
Gardeners and horticulturists use it in water as it is easy to spray. Here are the steps you have to follow:
- Add two tablespoons of neem oil to one gallon of water and mix thoroughly.
- Spray the solution on the whole plant, particularly on the lower surface of leaves, and allow it to rest.
A two weeks procedure is recommended to prevent mites from attacking. But if the plants are already infested, you should keep spraying the leaves for seven days. If the bugs keep growing, you may not be applying enough solution.
As the oil stays over the leaves, it gets absorbed into the plant’s vascular system. From there, it moves into the digestive system of insects and kills them.
Neem Oil Spider Mites Spray
One of the most efficient methods of pest control is using the neem oil spider mites spray. It saves the beneficial insects and kills those who feed on the foliage. Moreover, you can introduce natural predators into the area to reinforce the effect of the oil.
In the case of indoor gardening, you can combine other biological control methods with neem oil spray. Mites in small numbers don’t affect most plants. All you have to do is be careful about applying the oil at the right time.
Warning: Don’t use oil if the plants are exposed to high temperatures for more extended periods. Also, make sure that the plants are not water-stressed.
Four Surprising Benefits of Using Neem Oil
As a natural by-product of the neem tree, this oil has many incredible benefits that make it a better remedy than others.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the top benefits of neem oil.
Safe and Non-Toxic
Most synthetic pesticides leave toxic residues on the plant surface. Also, they may release toxins into the plant sap. As a result, the fruit of such plants can cause severe diseases.
On the other hand, neem oil doesn’t affect its surroundings. It is safe for both indoor and outdoor use. You can use it to remove aphids from your indoor plants without worrying about its effects on children or pets.
Biodegradable and Organic
Neem oil doesn’t cast any adverse effects on the environment. It degrades quickly and doesn’t poison the fruit of the plants. In short, there’s no better option for treating insects than using neem oil.
Works at All Stages
Azadirachtin, the major chemical constituent in neem oil, can affect the mites at any stage of development. Moreover, it has several different mechanisms of interfering with the life cycle of bugs. It depends on you how you decide to use it.
Doesn’t Harm Beneficial Bugs
Unlike most pesticides, neem oil promotes the growth of beneficial insects such as earthworms. Why is it important? Insects improve soil aeration as they tunnel through the dirt.
Besides, their decaying dead bodies increase the fertility of the soil.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, neem oil is the best solution for keeping insects away in an eco-friendly manner. It helps stop the spread of harmful pests such as spider mites. And what’s more, it is available in the market at a reasonable price, which is a huge bonus.