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.
Damage Caused by Spider Mites
To appreciate the use of neem oil for spider mite control, it’s necessary to understand the problems caused by these tiny sucking pests. These pests are so tiny that they’re almost unnoticeable. Yet, they cause significant damage to plants which results in dying leaves.
These mites are mostly found along stems and beneath plant leaves. Their feeding activity will cause a considerable negative impact on yield, results in sun burning, and may end up killing plants in severe cases of infestation.
You’ll need to act fast to save your plants from these pests. Thankfully, neem oil is one natural and efficient method to fight back spider mite infestations.
Reason For Neem Oil Spider Mite Control
Are you an eco-conscious homeowner seeking to environmentally-friendly insecticides for your spider mite problem?
You might want to try out neem oil. This powerful organic solution has been successfully used to resolve a variety of pest issues and will effectively serve your needs.
Neem oil kills over a hundred species of insects ranging from spider mites, aphids, thrips, scale, mealybugs, leafhoppers, caterpillars, lawn grubs, whiteflies, and many more. Apart from being used for pest control, this natural byproduct of the neem tree is also used in a variety of household products.
These range from soaps, cosmetics, dog shampoo, and toothpaste. What more?
The medicinal properties of neem oil have been utilized in developing therapies that improve liver function, boost the immune system, maintaining the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. It is also used for blood detoxification.
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.
When to Apply Neem Oil
Timing is very important when it comes to neem oil application.
This has to do with certain times of day when the temperature is favorable. Sub-90 degrees F are ideal for applying neem oil treatments. Any temperature exceeding this limit isn’t a great time to apply this spider mite control treatment.
Also, your plants shouldn’t be water-stressed when applying the treatment.
In drought situations, neem oil treatment for spider mites won’t achieve much. Plants should have an adequate supply of water before being considered for treatment.
Ideal for Dormant Season Application
During harsh weather conditions such as winter, spider mites are known to overwinter on plant leaves. This continues until when the conditions are favorable. Spider mites can be targeted at this stage by applying or spraying plants with neem oil at such times.
Neem oil won’t just kill these pests, but also destroy their eggs. This impact on spider mites ensures you won’t be stressed about pest problems when the winter season is over.
Neem Oil Can be Sprayed on Indoor Plants Too!
Spider mites will always cause damage to plants wherever they are. Indoor plants are also easy targets. All you have to do is to adopt the same measure; spraying affected plants with neem oil. The process is repeated until there’s a marked improvement in plant conditions.
The more frequent the application, the better the results. An interval of a few days before reapplying neem oil should suffice.
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 are 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 color change 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.
Additional Treatment Benefits
Apart from being used for effective spider mite control, neem oil is also an excellent fungicide. Common fungal diseases you can control include tip blight, black spot, powdery mildew, and scab. Others include Anthracnose, rust, and leaf spot.
You don’t have to adopt a different strategy for the application. While treating your plants for spider mite infestations, these fungal diseases are also resolved in the process.
When buying neem oil, you’ll notice that it comes in multiple formulas and concentrations. Asides from its oil formula, neem oil can be found in different forms ranging from emulsifiable concentrates, wettable powders, dust, as well as granules.
The benefits of using neem oil for spider mite control are numerous. One of the most prominent is its non-toxic nature. This means neem oil can be used without experiencing any adverse effects. The same applies to your kids and pets.
It’s a totally safe spider mite control remedy to consider when dealing with an infestation.
What more? The application process isn’t complex at all! You can be done with the application within a limited time while taking back control of your garden.
The best part of using neem oil for spider mite control is that beneficial insects are unaffected. As a result, you get to easily target spider mites that suck up your plant juices and cause diseases. Examples of some beneficial insects which aren’t applied by it include lady beetles and bees.
Using neem oil to control spider ants is a widely used strategy with a proven track record to contain the problem. We’ve also seen the many benefits of this natural insecticide and its ease of use.
Consider using this product for your spider mite problems. The points discussed above will go a long way in helping you beat back spider mite invasion in your garden.