University of Maryland Extension

Spider Mites - Houseplants

Spider mites
Heavy mite infestation with webbing.

Back to Common Problems - Houseplants

Spider mites are very tiny plant pests that are related to spiders. They feed only on plants. The colors may be reddish or light green with two dark spots. They are about the size of a period on a page. Spider mites can be a problem all year indoors and have a very broad host range. Spider mites suck the chlorophyll from leaves which results in fine white spots or stipples on the leaves. Heavy feeding causes yellowing, browning and eventual death of leaves. Some spider mite species produce webbing that covers the leaves and stems when populations are high. The two-spotted spider mite feeds mainly on the undersides of the leaves.

Management: If mites become a problem, periodically wash down houseplants with a strong spray of water and be sure to get good coverage of the lower leaf surfaces. When control is needed, use insecticidal soap for houseplants or a houseplant insecticide that is labeled for use. Make sure the plant is on the label to prevent any damage from the spray. 

Photo Gallery

spider mite damage cactus
Mite damage on cactus.
mites on houseplant
Spider mites on leaf.
spider mites close-up
Close-up of spider mites.
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