two spotted spider mites and webbing

Two spotted spider mite
David Cappaert, Bugwood.org

Updated: March 26, 2021

Signs and symptoms of spider mites on indoor plants

  • 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.

     

    tiny yellow spots on leaves from spider mite feeding
    Example of spider mite feeding called stippling
    Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Management strategies

  • 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 spider mites and houseplants. Read and follow label directions.  

  • Spider mite webbing

    spider mite webbing on a indoor plant
  • Closeup of spider mites

    closeup of spider mites on a leaf