Spider mites are very small in size and belong to the Tetranychidae family of insects. Spider mites are harmful to plants. They thrive under warm weather and can be found roaming around different areas of plants.
Today, we are going to discuss whether spider mites live in soil and how to get rid of them.
Do spider mites live in soil?
Spider mites live in the soil during the winter. It is part of the life cycle of spider mites. During the summer, the spider mites feed on the nutrients of the leaves of the plants. But when the winter starts, they return back to the soil and live there throughout the winter.
Spider mites are little insects that resemble spiders because they have eight legs. But the life cycle and food habits of spider mites are different from spiders. The summer is the feeding season of the spider mites.
During the summer, the spider mites feed on the leaves of the plants in your garden.
Spider mites use the sharp parts of their mouth to feed on the nutrients of the leaves. The plants infected with the spider mites will have brown and yellow spots on their leaves. Spider mites are responsible for the slow growth of plants in your garden.
After feeding on the leaves, the spider mites go back to living in the soil when the winter arrives. But they do not sit idle in the soil. The female spider mites start laying eggs and thus the reproducing cycle continues.
Let’s talk about some types of spider mites and see if they live in soil or not. They are:
Red spider mites:
There are actually two varieties of red spider mites. One of them is European red spider mite and the other one is Southern red spider mite. Red spider mites can cause great damage to the plants of your garden. The red spider mites live inside the soil the plants are planted in.
But when their feeding time comes, they come out and feed on the plant leaves.
White spider mites:
Another name of white spider mites is the two-spotted spider mite. The white spider mites are sometimes also called wood mites because they feed on old furniture. But these white spider mites also feed on the plants of your garden and can be found living inside the soil of the plants.
What are the signs of spider mites in the soil?
There are several signs that can give you an indication of the soil of your garden becoming infested with spider mites. To be sure about the existence of spider mites in the soil of your garden, you will have to take a closer look at the plants of your garden. They are:
- The plant leaves will lose their natural color
- Brown and yellow spots will be visible on the leaves
- Lot of holes will appear on the leaves
- Webs will emerge on different parts of the plants
What causes spider mites in soil?
There are several reasons that cause spider mites to live in the soil. They are –
The eating cycle of spider mites:
The spider mites come out in the summer to feed on the plants of your garden. They like coming out in hot and dry conditions. During the summer, the spider mites leave on the underside of the leaves.
But in the winter, they go back to living inside the soil of the garden. They rest there until the summer once again arrives.
The nutrients of the plants:
It is believed that under-watered plants are more likely to get infested with spider mites. On the other hand, over-watered plants can also become infested with spider mites. You have to be careful about how many times you water your plants in a week.
Spider mites come out of the soil to feed on the excessive nutrients of the plants. After feeding on the plants, the spider mites go back into the soil to rest.
Spider mites are very small in size. You can not see them with a bare eye. You have to use a magnifying glass to see them properly. Spider mites take advantage of their small size and infest with the help of carriers.
They can travel with the help of human skin and clothes. Spider mites can also travel with the help of your pet dogs and cats. You and your pets can unknowingly help spider mites by carrying them into the garden of your house.
After reaching the garden, they infest by laying eggs and living in the soil throughout the winter.
How to get rid of spider mites in soil?
There are several methods that can be introduced to get rid of spider mites from the soil of your garden. They are:
Prune off the affected leaves:
The spider mites feed on the leaves of your plants in the summer. They usually live in the soil of the garden throughout the winter. But in the summer, they come out in numbers to feed on the plants.
The spider mites affected leaves tend to have brown and yellow spots and holes on them. You can prune off the affected leaves off to get rid of spider mites before they go back to start living in the soil.
Use the predators:
You can use predators in your garden to get rid of spider mites. The predators that feed on spider mites will be suitable for this purpose. You can manually release the spider mites into the garden and they will help you by keeping the numbers of spider mites in your garden in check.
These predatory mites do not feed on the leaves of your plants. So you will not have to worry about having another infestation while trying to prevent one. The predatory mites will be out of your garden after getting rid of all the spider mites.
The predatory mites will make sure that each and every spider mite living in the soil and on the plants of your garden is gone.
Use the pesticides:
You can use pesticides to get rid of spider mites living inside the soil of your garden. But the spider mites need to come in direct contact with pesticides in order to lose life. There are special kinds of pesticides that can be used to only terminate the spider mites of your garden.
You can use rubbing alcohol, diatomaceous earth, and neem oil as pesticides in your garden to get rid of the spider mites living in the soil.
Water the plants:
Spider mites prefer hot conditions more than cool conditions. That is why watering the plants regularly is important to keep the spider mites away from your plants and from your garden.
Do spider mites lay eggs in soil?
A female spider mite possesses the ability to lay ninety to one hundred and twenty eggs in its whole life. Two-spotted spider mites or white spider mites are the ones that lay eggs in the soil.
The egg-laying process of winter mites occurs during the winter. The female white spider mites lay eggs in the soil when the winter comes. But the female red spider mites lay eggs on leaves on the plants.
In fact, the female spider mites start laying eggs when they are as little as five days old.
Can spider mites live in retail potting soil?
Spider mites can easily live in retail potting soil. Especially, the two-spotted or the white spider mites are most famous for living in retail potting soil. They are undetectable to the bare eye and can infest within the retail potting soil.
The spider mites eggs can not even be seen with a magnifying glass. This is how good spider mites are at living in retail potting soil.
How long do spider mites live in the soil? Do spider mites overwinter in the soil?
Spider mites do not have a long life cycle. They live for about twenty-one to twenty-eight days. Even after having such a short life cycle, they are great at reproducing. Spider mites overwinter in the soil. At this time, they continue the reproducing cycle by laying eggs.
The eggs turn into fully grown spider mites before the next summer arrives and come out to feed on the leaves of the plants.
During the winter, spider mites start living in the soil. At that time, the female spider mites start laying eggs to keep the reproducing cycle running. But when the winter ends, the spider mites come out of the soil and start feeding on the plants of the garden.