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Tips On Removing Spider Mites

Now that we're into the real heat of summer, and a lot of our garden veggies are really producing, one of the common pests that you tend to see this time of year is spider mites. Mites are relatives of spiders and ticks. There are many types of mites, some will harm humans and livestock, others are important in breaking down organic matter in the soil.

The group called spider mites are common plant-feeding pests in the garden. Spider mites are small about 1/60th of an inch long. Usually, it is their feeding injury to plants that are first noticed called mite burn. This is fine stippling on the leaves of garden plants that turn golden to brown-bronzing in appearance, usually starting on the lower leaves first and then moving up the plant.

Many common garden plants can be affected, as well as many ornamental shrubs, trees, and flowering plants. What do you do if you have plants with spider mites? During the growing season, a great trick is to use a brisk spray of water. Spray as hard as you can without damaging the plant. Do this every two to three days for about one to two weeks. This will wash off mites and kill their eggs keeping them from returning.

Other tactics are horticultural oil, which is a summer weight oil or insecticidal soap. Repeat these applications one to two times and you should see great improvement.

For more information go to the USU extension Utah pest website and check out fact sheets on spider mites under vegetables, small fruits, and tree fruits.