Red Spider Mites: Controlling Them with the Best Solutions

Red spider mites are a type of garden pests that would damage various plants. The most common ones would be Azaleas and Camellias.

Once they get an infestation of these insects, they would be all over the plants.

You have to get rid of the red spider mites before the plant gets permanently damages. On this page, you will understand more about these pests and how to deal with them.


What is a Red Spider Mite?

Red spiders are a common pest on houseplants and agriculturally important plants, including the foliage and fruit of orchard trees.
Red Spider on Peanuts

It is a species is also known as two-spotted spider mites. The size is around a millimeter in length.

This pest is a quite common sap-feeding insect that you can find on various plants both indoor and outdoor.

The color is yellowish-green with 2 dark-green spots on the backs. These mites become active during the warmer seasons of the year.

So, why the mites are called red spiders because they look like a tiny spider. In fact, these pests will eventually turn reddish in the cooler months.

During this time, they will become dormant. You might find it in your garden around the protected locations such as in the middle of bamboo cans, and the spot under the dry leaf.

In the spring season, the mites will emerge from the resting stage.

In this season, the adult females will start to lay the eggs across the undersides of leaves. They would choose the newly developing ones.

This condition would go on through the summer seasons. At that time, the population of red mites will be larger.

You will also see the infested plants have fine webbing cover them. Then, the leaves would begin to die. The red spider mite can be found throughout the UK and Europe.

Both in the garden and on crops, red spider mites would be a problem for your houseplants, garden, and a wide range of glasshouses.

Common Spider Mite Species

Spider mites are not true insects, but are classed as a type of arachnid, relatives of spiders, ticks and scorpions.
Spider Mite

The spider mite is a very tiny insect. It looks like a dot that is made by a quickly-tapped pencil or pen on a piece of paper. They may be so small but they are a big problem for the garden.

Some people may not notice the existence of red spider mites on their plants that is because of the tiny size.

However, they will see it clearly when the plants are in contrast color with the pests. Besides red, there are also some other species with green, yellow, or translucent that are harder to spot.

Here are some common spider mite species that may exist on your farm:

  • European red spider mite. When you see them in red color, they are probably the females because the males would be in yellow or tan.
  • Southern red spider mite. The reddish-brown color with translucent legs separates this species from others. You will see the legs go toward the body’s front.
  • Carmine spider mite. This one has a red or purple color but the legs are white.
  • Pacific spider mite. The color of this insect is green or amber.
  • Willamette spider mite. A pale-yellow and translucent mite.
  • Two-spotted spider mite. This pest could be in a yellow or clear appearance. It is one of the common ones that feature a spot on the sides.

Since they are spiders, those mites will spin a webbing cloak all over the plantations they live on. Slowly, it would cover the whole structure of the plants.

Then, they will go back and forth along with the plant inside the webbings.

The Conditions for Red Spider Mite to Appear

Red spider mites feed on sap of plants, sucking it out of leaves to absorb leaf cells.
Red Spider

These mites are the type of pests that will attack the plants and multiply during the hot and dry weather.

That is the reason why you will find them in the garden during the summer season. They stay indoors throughout the year.

When the weather temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and no rain, they will be there to attack your plants.

Apparently, these mites are not considered insects. So, the use of pesticides to control the spreading is not really helping.

That is because a lot of insects consider the red spider as their food. Of course, if you kill the pests, you will give the mites another chance to live and spread even more.

In addition, you cannot use chemical treatments to deal with red spider mites. Why? Because they will quickly adapt to that type of threat.

These pests have the ability to build up immunity to many kinds of pesticides and killer products.

The Development Cycle of Spider Mite

Red spider mite can overwinter without feeding and re-emerge in the spring and summer to re-infest plants.
Red Spider Life Cycle

These pests feed on the sap of plants. Red spider mites would absorb the cells of the leaf by sucking them out of them.

They quickly reproduce. So, you have to treat it immediately in order to stop the spreading because the invasion could be very devastating.

Furthermore, red spider mites can migrate from one plant to another. They are capable of doing that perfectly and effectively.

So, there is a high chance for them to spread to other plants once a leaf is infected.

The simple solution would be relocating the infected plant to another place where there are no other plants.

Thereupon, the mites can migrate to other locations. For the potted plants, it would be very easy to move them.

Signs of Red Mites on Plants

Plant that is infested by mites will start to look unhealthy and will have a dusty appearance to the undersides of their leaves.
Signs of Red Mites

Due to the size of tiny red spider mites, the identification of these mites would be very hard. It is probably difficult to search them with your naked eyes.

A magnifying glass might be necessary. The small one is enough to help lift any doubt.

The first sign would be the small white or yellow dots. You will see them on the plants’ leaves. After that, they will gradually turn completely yellow.

These pests are nothing like thrips that can produce larger patches in white color. Red spider mites would spread the dots around the area of the leaves.

With the webbings that cover some parts of the plants, it will be easy to find them on the plants. By spraying water on the plants, you could see the small webs clearly if it is there.

How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites

The rubbing alcohol you have around the house also can kill spider mites.
Get Rid Spider Mites

Probably, the best solution to control the red spider mites is to detect them as early as possible. This way would help to take immediate measures before the spreading.

In addition, you could control them before they get into their breeding stage.

In order to do that, you have to inspect them by examining the leaves for the appearance of spots when they feed.

As said, do not forget the magnifying glass for clear vision. Besides, try using a white sheet of paper under the plant.

Then, you can shake the plants a little bit. If the plants are infected, you will probably see the little red dots on them. Those are spider mites.

The Solutions to Try

Once you found out that you have the infected plants. You should try to get rid of them in the following ways:

  • Spot Treatments

Insecticidal soap is strictly for use on soft-bodied insects. It works well on common pests like aphids, lacebugs, mealybugs, mites, leaf hoppers, scale insects, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies.
Insect Killing Soap

This method is required a specific product called OMRI Listed Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap. You should keep this at home while maintaining plant health.

Start spraying the plants a little bit in order to protect them for up to 10 days. When you see them or their signs, do it again.

  • Rinsing

Pressure-sprayed water is a surprisingly effective against spider mites, whether using a power spray from your hose outside or just a strong stream from a spray bottle on houseplants.
Rinsing Mites

Besides spot treatments, you can always do the rinsing. This method is considered one of the easiest ways to destroy the invasion of spider mites.

Just rinse the plants thoroughly. The water force will kill them. Just use the sprayer to apply the water. Apparently, it is such a time-consuming task.

  • Drowning

Water drowns the spider mites, but if any survive, hort oil will smother them to death.
Drowing Potted Plants

If your small potted plants are infected, this solution would be the best one. Basically, it is just literally drowning the whole body of the plants attached to the pot or container in a tub.

Leave the plant underwater for about an hour. After that, let the water drain from the tub.

They will dirt all over the tub. Just scoop them up right back in the pot. Beware, this not for all types of plants.

Some of them cannot handle an extended dunking like that. One essential thing, it should not be the bathtub.

  • Mite Predators

Predatory Mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis) are an effective biological control for use against the two spotted spider mite.
Phytoseiulus Persimilis

This one possibly the greenest method to try to control the spider mite. There are some predators in your garden.

One of them is Phytoseiulu persimili. This predaceous mite only eats spider mites to live. Otherwise, they will starve to death.

The Repellents of Red Spider Mites

You may also want to put in companion planting, interspersing Chinese parsley, chives, dill, chrysanthemums, garlic, and onion throughout your garden to repel mites.
Spider Mites Repellent

This is a method for preventing the spreading of red spider mites. You have to consider having these plants in your garden nearby other plantations to keep these pests away.

Consider having these herbs as some of the components in your garden. You should have rosemary, cinnamon, lemongrass, chamomile, cinnamon, and some others.

The vegetable plants like lettuce, wild tomato, and chili pepper would repel the red spider mites too.

If you like trees and shrubs, take a look at neem, eucalyptus, pongam, vitex, and Malabar nut. For ornamental plants, add Santolina or some croton varieties.


For those of you who face a red spider problem in your garden, you do not have to be really worried about it. Apply several treatments to deal with this pest. Detect early and take immediate action.

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