Spider mites on tomatoes are more common than you think. The red spider mites feed on plants that are closely related to and in the same family as tomato.
For instance, potatoes, nightshades (manage), eggplants (biringanya) and weeds such as Sodom apple suffer at the hands of spider mites.
Mites infestation increase more during hot and dry conditions. Red spider mites have been known to cause more losses and damage to greenhouse tomatoes because of the drier conditions and higher temperatures.
What are the Early Signs of Spider Mites Infestation?
Check between the stem of the leaf and stalk of your plants. Do you see silken threads there? If so, you may already have a spider mites’ problem on your hands. Another sign is when your tomato leaf turns curly and brown, then drops off.
Do this test, to be double-sure
Flick a leaf using your forefinger over a white piece of paper. If you see red pinhead size mites moving across the paper then you have a mite problem at hand.
To determine if you have spider mites, flick a leaf with your forefinger over a white piece of paper. You should be able to see the red pinhead size mites moving on the paper.
Burning, scorching, poisoning or otherwise sterilizing your garden soil does not solve the issue of mite attacks. In fact, spider mites have an admirable capacity to locate tomatoes even if they’re planted on virgin soil.
They typically do this via wind transport, or some other means we are yet to discover.
Good News! Spider mites have natural predators, including predatory mites, beetles and lacewigs. You can buy them online to rid your garden of the problem.
As for spider mite control, there aren’t that many solutions and the most effective is using an integrated approach:
(1) Avoid composting mite infected plant materials (unless it is hot enough to kill mites).
(2) Carefully inspect your tomato seedlings for mites and select only mite free plants. An hand lens is useful for this, just check the leaves underside of every plant you buy.
(3) Once you recognize the early signs of spider mite attacks (assuming you pay attention to your plants), do one of the following:
- Blasting mites off with a stiff steam of water directed at leaf undersides
- Apply horticultural oil (CHECK ON AMAZON) or Apply Insecticidal soap sprays (CHECK ON AMAZON)
- Pick off and destroy any leaflets you find mites on
(4) You should get your spring tomatoes quite early in, and get rid of tomato plants when they get infested by mites. Rather than fighting off mites, give in and focus on a late summer planting of tomatoes. At times, the fall tomato crop is easier to grow without spider mites.
Effects of Red Spider Mites on Tomatoes
- Reduced production
- Kill the leaves of your tomato plants
- Small fruits
- Kill off the plants
What Kills Spider Mites and Their Eggs?
Essential oils such as Neem Oil CHECK ON AMAZON), Rosemary, spearmint, coriander, and chamomile are some of the most effective means of killing spider mites and their eggs.
To use this DIY method, simply fill a spray bottle with water and then add in a couple of drops of your preferred oil, and apply it to the affected leaves.
Where do Spider Mites Come From?
Live plants is the most common source for spider mites to be introduced into your garden or greenhouse.
Ideally, it’s a smart idea to quarantine plants, even ones you buy from reputable garden centers or are given by friends and family, for a couple of weeks before putting them where you want them to end up.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites On Tomato Plants Organically
First, you can use predatory mites or neem oil. The thick oils will cling to these insects, suffocating them to death while the predator mites will hunt and feed on them.
Neem Oil for Spider Mites on Tomatoes
Mix the neem oil CHECK ON AMAZON) with water and then apply it to the plant using a spray bottle or a microfiber cloth.
After some time, wipe it off.
Note: Ensure you’re applying the neem in 7-days intervals, but you can rinse or physically remove the pests daily.
Predator Mites for Spider Mites
Buy predator mites online (CHECK ON AMAZON) and introduce them using paper. Once in, the predatory mites will head out to the bottom of leaves and other areas where they are most likely to find these pest mites and feed away.
Although identical to spider mites, predator mites are shiny, unspotted, more pear-shaped body, and longer legs that allows the, move much quicker than spider mites – a magnification lens would help you see this.
Where to Buy Predatory Mites
Some of the best predatory mites for spider mites are sold on Amazon.
Other Less Organic ways of getting rid of Spider Mites
Insecticidal Soap for Spider Mites
We recommend mixing 3 tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of water to get rid of spider mites. You can then spray the soap solution on infested plant leaves each week, as needed.
Use of Miticide
You can use miticide too. But, remember, they will kill all insects, not just the spider mites!
How to Treat Spider Mites on Tomato Plants
You can treat spider mites on tomato plants problem by aiming a hard stream of water at infested plants and knocking spider kites off plants. Other options include neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or horticultural oils.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on Tomatoes
You should spray the tomato plants with horticultural oil, which smothers the mites. Apply oil only when there are n0o beneficial insects on the plant but never spray on breezy days when the oil may drift and kill good insects.
Mix the oil at a rate of 2.5-5 tablespoons per 1 gallon of water. You can reapply after 30 days.
We recommend using a premixed commercial product rather than homemade sprays because they are mostly too hard and may damage your tomato plant.
If using concentrate, mix the solution at a rate of 1-4 teaspoons per pint of water. Spray tomato plants every 4-7 days, as insecticidal soap kills only on contact and has no residual effect. Don’t spray when the sun shines directly on the foliage.
Homemade Spider Mite Killer
Mix 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is fine too) with 1 cup of water, 1/2 t of baking soda & a few drops of mild dish soap into a spray bottle.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Spider Mites?
Yes, you can. They have a unique smell, but they’re safe to eat.
ALSO SEE: What Eats Daffodils?
Can You Eat Mint with Spider Mites?
Yes, they are certainly edible.
How do You get spider Mites on Indoor Plants?
Indoor areas with higher levels of phosphorus, nitrogen and carbohydrates are prone to receiving visits from air-borne spider mites.
Do Spider Mites Come from Spiders?
No, but they are related to spiders, scorpions, ticks and other arachnids.
Do Spiders Eat Spider Mites?
Spiders may eat spider mites if there aren’t any other food sources available. If there are, they will avoid the spider mites.
Can Spider Mites Live Without Plants?
Spider mites cannot survive for very long without plants as they’re plant dependent for their nutrient. They’re able to live 11 days without plants but can withstand harsh living conditions.
Can Spider Mites Spread to Other Plants?
Yeah. It only takes one plant to be infected, and then it spreads to surrounding plants soon.
Can Spider Mites Live in Carpet?
No, it is not conducive for them to live in. So, even if they somehow manage to find themselves there, they’d eventually starve to death.
Can Spider Mites Live on Humans?
Spider mites cannot live on humans or within the human skin. However, some people have shown allergic reactions to their bites.
Can Spider Mites Live in Water?
Water drowns the spider mites, but if any survive, horticultural oil will smother them to death.
Will Boiling Water Kill Spider Mites?
Boiling or hot water treatment can be used to kill mites, without causing much damage to the plants but if you are using predatory mites, you should replace them due to the sensitivity to hot water.
Do Spider Mites Like Humidity?
Yeah, but they thrive better in hot, dry conditions.
Spider Mites Alcohol Treatment
I’ve used water and alcohol for spider mites before, with good success. Use a 1:4 ratio of alcohol to water.
How Long Does It Take to Drown Spider Mites?
It takes 45-60 minutes for spider mites to drown.
Does Lysol kill spider mites?
Use Lysol with a 6% bleach solution soak for 15 minutes and then add in a spray bottle to use.
Will Rain Get Rid of Spider Mites?
From experience, it tales 24-48 hours of steady rain to rid your garden of mites.
Does Vinegar Kill Spider Mites?
Vinegar is extremely acidic and will kill spider mites with ease. You can make the spray by mixing 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon baking soda and a few drops of liquid dish soap in 1 quart (1 l) of lukewarm water.
Can Spider Mites Live in Your Hair?
No, they cannot.
How Far Can Spider Mites Travel?
Spider mites don’t enjoy traveling. In fact, they will rarely leave the plant they’re feeding on. They can, however infest nearby plants, particularly if the plants are indoor and touching.
Can Spider Mites Live On Dogs?
No, but it could cause mange on your dog.
Can Spider Mites Live On Surfaces?
Spider mites live on surfaces of leaves. 1 colony can contain over hundred mites.
How do Spider Mites Spread?
Spider mites spread by the wind – once under the sides of leaves, the wind moves the leaves round and these pests just wait until it settles then crawl out to feed on the nearest plant.
Do Spider Mites Live In Soil?
Spider mites live in soil during winter, but will come out and feed all year round.
What Insects Eat Spider Mites?
A lady bug named Stethorus punctum and a predatory mite named T. pyri. Are two insects that will munch on spider mites/
Do Jumping Spiders Eat Spider Mites?
Baby jumping spiders will hunt and eat spider mites if there are less food sources around.
Do Ladybugs Eat Spider Mites?
If there aren’t other alternative food sources around, lady bugs will hunt and eat spider mites. But if there are, they will ignore the spider mites and move on.
Do Flies Eat Spider Mites?
Adult flies may lay their egg around the plants, in Spider-Mite colonies. The eggs soon hatch and the larvae devour the Spider Mites
Do Wasps Eat Spider Mites?
Bald-faced hornet, paper wasps, and yellow jackets will hunt and feed on spider mites if they’re close.
Do Centipedes Eat Spider Mites?
Centipedes are insect eaters and would gladly feed on spider mites if they come across them.
Do Thrips Eat Spider Mites?
The sixspotted Thrips eats spider mites adults and their eggs.