One of the most effective natural solutions to spider mite problems is the use of neem oil. Such oil is obtained or extracted from neem tree seeds.
Among its many beneficial uses are its insecticidal (or miticidal as the case may be) properties. A lot of people have successfully used it and continue to use it against a myriad of pest issues including controlling spider mite infestations.
It’s no secret that spider mites are among the most destructive greenhouse and garden pests. Dealing with an infestation can be quite challenging especially when little is known about appropriate remedies.
If you’re reading this, you have a better chance of tackling a spider mite problem using natural solutions.
How Does Neem Oil Work?
To fully maximize the insecticidal properties of neem oil, it will be necessary to first understand how it works. Within this oil is an important chemical compound known as azadirachtin. This is the active ingredient that does the magic.
So, what does this chemical compound accomplish? When applied onto spider mite-infested areas, it acts by helping to reduce feeding. In other words, it disrupts the pest’s hormonal balance. As a result, spider mites die off before they ever have the chance of molting to the next stage of their lifecycle.
Apart from disrupting the hormonal balance of spider mites and other insects, neem oil makes it difficult for these pests to feed, grow, and also lay eggs. In effect, it stagnates the development of spider mites, thus ensuring your plants are safe.
Using Neem Oil for Both Active Infestations and Prevention
In the case of an active spider mite infestation, they are easily controlled using neem oil. This oil is mostly applied using a sprayer that creates a fine mist that settles on all infested areas. By disrupting the feeding behavior of spider mites, your plants are free of such damage and allowed to grow.
Apart from being used on active spider mite infestations, neem oil can also be used as a preventive measure. Here, such treatment is applied to prevent or forestall the likelihood of an infestation ever happening. The best part is, neem oil will also help in controlling other insect pests.
How to Use
For this organic insecticide to have any real impact on spider mites and other pests, it must be properly used. Proper usage of neem oil has to do with knowing how to prepare it as well as the mixing ratio among other things.
Before you proceed, it’s necessary to find out the neem oil content. Some products have different percentages. It’s important to strictly abide by the use of instructions accompanying the product. Generally, we recommend mixing neem oil at a ratio of 2 tablespoons or one ounce to a gallon of water.
Having added the oil to the water, ensure you mix thoroughly before emptying the contents into a spray bottle or sprayer. When spraying neem oil on affected plants, ensure you do not rush the process.
In other words, every part of the plant must be wet including underneath the leaves.
What Other Ways Can I Use Neem Oil for Spider Mite Control?
Making a treatment solution of neem oil and water is only one of several. Additional methods of spider mite control using neem oil include mixing it with Coco-wet. Now, coco-wet is an organic wetting agent which greatly helps with absorption.
This solution is applied every 3 to 5 days to help with spider mite extermination. All parts of your plants must be covered. This includes the undersides for the best results.
Using Neem Oil for Preventive Treatment
If your garden is prone to spider mite infestation, you shouldn’t always wait for such infestations to happen before responding. It’s best to take proactive measures to forestall the possibility of a spider mite infestation. Having said that, how do you go about it?
Spider control or prevention using neem oil isn’t difficult at all. Such treatment has to be scheduled. Neem oil can be sprayed or applied for a duration of 7 to 14 days for spider mite prevention.
What Happens to Beneficial Insects?
There’s always a legitimate concern when treating a pest problem. This has to do with the fear of possible harm to beneficial insects such as bees and lady beetles. So, will neem oil affect beneficial insects while killing pests? It won’t.
This fact makes neem oil one of the most effective organic pest control remedies you can use with no harm to your beneficial plants. However, harm may be possible when such beneficial insects ingest sprayed plant foliage.
Thankfully, most do not eat plant foliage.
Detecting A Spider Mite Problem
Before you ever decide on what control measures to use for mite control, you’ll need to first identify the problem. Spider mites live in colonies and cause rapid havoc to plants. They are mostly found underneath the leaves. Therefore, some level of inspection will be necessary.
As spider mites feed (this is done by piercing leaf tissue and sucking whatever fluids they find), the effect is quite visible in the form of light dots found on the leaf surface. When this feeding activity persists, the plant leaves turn yellow which eventually causes it (the leaf) to dry and fall off.
You can start by inspecting your plant leaves including its undersides. Any change in color which cannot be explained should be checked and urgent treatment measures carried out immediately.
Neem Oil Treatment Should Begin as Soon as Possible
One of the secrets of using neem oil for spider mite control is the time taken to respond to an active infestation. The longer it takes to apply this treatment, the less likely you are to achieve the desired results.
In other words, spider mite infestations that take too long to get treated will only worsen the situation. This negatively impacts your plants with chances of salvaging them considerably reduced.
Begin inspection the moment you notice discolorations on plant foliage. This should help determine what the problem is.
Using neem oil to control spider ants is a widely used strategy with a proven track record to contain the problem. The points discussed above will go a long way in helping you beat back spider mite invasion in your garden.