Red spider mites are common pests that can infest almost all kinds of plants. But are they harmful to humans? Do they bite? This article will uncover the relation between red spider mites and humans with some related information you may like to know.
Are red spider mites harmful to humans?
Red spider mites are not harmful to humans. They live on plant tissues and sap. On rare occasions, red spider mites can bite humans, but most species will not break through human skin. Their bite can cause a minor rash or allergic reactions to some people.
If you turn over a red spider mite-infested leaf, you will notice a dust-like appearance, a colony of red spider mites. After taking a closer look at the leaf, you will find out the dust is moving, and those are small spider mites.
They are too tiny to see clearly with bear eyes. A magnifying glass can help you to see their actual appearance. Spider mites look like spiders but have only one body part.
They can be red, green, brown, yellow, etc. The color of the spider mites depends on the color of the plant they infest. If you take some spider mites on white paper, It will be easier to see their color.
For a tiny pest like that, it’s very tough to harm humans when they are entirely dependent on plants and does not have any toxic component.
So, if you have a family of spider mites in your garden, there is nothing much to worry about their bites, but they can cause massive damage to your plants.
Spider mites have two needle-like mouths, which they use to eat plants and sap. Some spider mites can bite humans on rare occasions, but you will not feel anything most of the time, although the bite can cause skin irritation and rash to allergic people.
Wearing gardening gloves is enough to avoid bites and skin tingles from spider mites. The spider mites do not feast on humans and any other animal. If they feel danger, they may try to bite you.
If you have allergies and similar skin problems, we recommend not touching spider mite colonies with bear hands.
What is a red spider mite?
Red spider mites are plant-eating pests scientifically known as Tetranychus urticae. It is also known as two-spotted spider mites. It is closely related to spiders but evolved pretty differently from normal spiders. They depend on only plants to live.
They hide under the soil in the cold season and wait for warm weather to come out. When the weather is hot, and humidity is less, the spider mites come out and look for plants to infest and reproduce.
Once they invade a plant, it’s tough to get rid of them if you do not notice them at the first stage. Because of their tiny appearance and rapid reproduction rate, it is nearly impossible to see them at the first stage.
Removing them has already become very hard when you find them on your loving plants. But with proper methods, you can quickly get rid of those tiny insects. In the last part of this article, we will discuss tips to remove spider mites from your garden.
Do red spider mites bite humans? Can spider mites live in human hair?
Usually, they do not bite humans. They cannot bite humans with their small needle mouths. Still, they can try to bite you as a defensive act when they feel danger. Their bite will not hurt, and you will not notice anything most of the time.
Although, bites from some species of spider mites may create skin irritation. If one spider mite bites you, you may notice a small red dot on your skin. Many bites will look like skin rash. Some people may have an allergic reaction to their bites.
Bites of spider mites are pretty infrequent. They can drop on your clothes or hair while working in the garden, but they cannot live in the human body or hair as they need to eat plant cells to live and reproduce. They are parasites to the plants, but they will not survive in the human body.
3 reasons why red spider mites are not harmful to humans
When red spider mites infest a plant, it eats the plant cells and sucks sap. Within a few days, you will notice the plant looks like a diseased plant. You will see yellow-brown spots on the leaves if you look closely. The spider mites will spread to other plants and destroy them.
But red spider mites are not harmful to humans. Well, they can damage you emotionally by destroying your favorite plants. Check out why they are harmless to humans.
They do not produce any toxic component that can cause severe irritation or something like that. Some people may experience minor rash or allergies.
They are tiny and do not have strong jaws to break human skin. But adult spider mites of some species can still bite you, so we recommend wearing gloves to handle spider mites infested plants.
They are harbors, which means they eat only plants. They have no business biting or eating blood from humans and animals.
Where do red spider mites live? What attracts red spider mites?
You can find them in yards, gardens or any place with plants, although they need good weather conditions to come out and infest plants. They reproduce both sexually and asexually, so only one spider mite can make a copy of itself destroy a garden in weeks.
Red spiders mites can quickly infest densely planted gardens. They produce silk and sometimes cover the colony with the silk. They live on the bottom part of the leave, making it hard to notice and remove them.
Overpopulated hot and less humid gardens can attract and create ideal conditions for their living. Tomatoes, beans, strawberries, and melon plants are attractive plants to them.
What do red spider mites do to plants?
When a red spider mite finds a suitable plant, it eats its plant cell and sap. It reproduces fast and makes many generations of red spider mites within weeks. Red spider mite-infested leaves are brown to yellow.
When their population grows, the plant loses its leaves and sap, so it can pass away if you do not take any action to remove the red spider mites.
Removing the spider mites is also challenging, as you will have to destroy the eggs and adults of red spider mites.
Indoor plants also get invaded by the red spider mites. In outdoor, spider mites have predators and other issues to deal with.
But indoors, they don’t have any predators, and they get suitable dryness to live. That’s why greenhouse and indoor plants get more damage from the spider mites.
How to get rid of red spider mites?
Getting rid of spider mites can be tricky sometimes, as the spider mites live in the bottom part of the leaves. So, if you want to apply something to remove them, you must spray at the bottom part of the leaves so that the spray reaches all the spider mites.
Here are the things you can do to eliminate the spider mites effectively.
Predators like lacewings, thrips, and ladybugs are the practical, long-lasting, and biological way to get rid of the red spider mites. Spider mites are almost defenseless, and different predators can easily eat them.
But ordering and buying those predatory bugs can be tough and costly sometimes. It will be best if you can collect them from somewhere.
Neem oil, rosemary, and other essential oils can be a great natural way to get rid of red spider mites. Just add some drops of essential oil and soap to a spray bottle. Then spray over and under the infected plants. The spray must reach the bottom part of the leaves.
You can choose to use commercial pesticides to remove those pastes, but neutral ways are always recommended if possible.
Spraying 70% alcohol destroys the red spider mites and their eggs. Alcohol can also harm some sensitive plants. If you have some sensitive infested plant, dilute the alcohol with the same amount of water before spraying.
After removing the red spider mites, you will need to monitor the plants regularly until the dry season ends.
There is nothing to worry about red spider mites unless you are allergic to them. They are too small to bite humans, although some spider mites can rarely bite and make dot-like red spots. Spraying essential oils and soap is a great way to get rid of red spider mites.