How to Treat Spider Mites

By Heather Rhoades
Published: August 1, 2014 | Last updated: April 30, 2021
Key Takeaways

Like a lot of pests in the garden, treating spider mites takes a two-pronged approach. The first step involves identifying the intruder, followed by delivering the designated treatment. Fortunately, although the effect of a spider mite infestation looks ugly, getting rid of these insects isn't difficult...

Spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants is a common problem. Spider mite damage can not only make a plant look unsightly, it can even kill the plant. It is important to use a spider mite treatment as soon as possible on an affected plant in order to keep the plant looking it best and healthiest. Keep reading to learn more about how to identify and kill spider mites.


Identifying spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants

Initially, spider mite damage will appear as small yellow or brown spots on the leaves of the plant. If the plant is badly infested, the plants health will start to suffer and it may have completely yellow leaves and may stop growing.

Spider mite damage may also include a tell tale spider web type webbing on the plant. Spider mites, while small, are arachnids and are related to spiders. They produce webs in order to protect themselves and their eggs.


It is very difficult to see spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants with the naked eye because they are so small, but if you suspect that your plant has spider mites, you can hold a piece of paper under the leaves of the plant and shake them gently. If it is spider mites, specks will fall on the paper that looks similar to pepper.

Effective treatment to kill spider mites

One natural spider mite remedy is to simply spray down the plant with a nozzled hose. The force of the stream of water is enough to knock most of the spider mites off of the plant. Another natural spider mite remedy is to release natural predators of spider mites around the plants. These can include:

  • Lady bugs
  • Lacewing
  • Minute pirate bugs
  • Spider mite destroyers (actual name of insect)
  • Predatory thrips
  • Predatory mites
  • Big-eyed bugs

Another effective spider mite treatment is to use an insecticidal oil, like neem oil, a horticultural oil or a dormant oil. You can also try using a miticide, as this will kill them. You should not try to use a normal pesticide for spider mite treatment as they are resistant to pesticides. Using a pesticide will only kill off the beneficial bugs that eat spider mites, which will only make the spider mite infestation worse.


Finding spider mites on houseplants and garden plants is annoying and unsightly, but you do not have to let spider mite damage kill your plants. Knowing what spider mite treatment works means that you can kill spider mites quickly and easily.



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Written by Heather Rhoades

Profile Picture of Heather Rhoades

Heather Rhoades is the founder of Gardening Know How, where she continues to write articles and answer questions relating to gardening.

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