How to Get Rid of Soil Mites: A Comprehensive Guide
Growing plants and flowers in the apartment seemed like too much work, and we didn’t have time for that. But then COVID 19 hit us. Like many others worldwide, we couldn’t leave home except to go shopping for groceries, etc. And we began to work remotely. Suddenly, nature was waking up outside, and we were stuck at home without any chance to enjoy it. That is when we decided to start growing plants at home!
Our initial enthusiasm was interrupted shortly after we began, though! By what? By the appearance of tiny white bugs in soil! Okay, now we know that it’s not a catastrophe when they appear and that it is not hard to get rid of them! But being beginner gardeners, it is little to say that we freaked out, convinced that little white bugs in soil will eat all of our flowers and destroy our efforts. So we immediately called a botanist, who, after hearing the explanation, said that our plants had soil mites! However, he also shared with us how to get rid of soil mites, and after consultation both with him, and our own experience and investigation, we now wish to protect your little green corner, from these nasty mites in soil.
What Are Soil Mites?
So what are these bugs? And more importantly, are soil mites harmful to plants? Well, these insects fall under the category of arthropods, the same as spiders and ticks. The most common type of soil mites is called Oribatida, and their usual hosts are rabbits. As you can guess, the natural habitat of these little whilte bugs in soil. However, they particularly love moist soil. Now, why are they in your flower pots? Well, it’s simple – they are drawn by all the decay organic matter that is hiding in there, since they regard it as a delicious treat. It is necessary to say that soil mites identification by the naked eye is super tricky as they are little. But if you watch your plants very closely, you might notice tiny white spots that move around the flower pot or on the leaves.
What Harm Soil Mites Can Do to Outdoor Plants?
Are soil mites considered as a friend or a foe, then? When it comes to outdoor plants, it is essential to know that mites don’t cause harm. They are actually more friend than enemy to both plants and the soil. That is because they contribute to the decomposition of organic matter, which allows plants to absorb nutrients effortlessly. Other than that, they also help aeration of the soil. So, even if you notice soil mites outside, there is no need to destroy them.
Are Soil Mites Harmful to Houseplants?
In short, no, they are not harmful to houseplants either. Okay, so then why are we talking about how to kill soil mites, then? Although they are beneficial for plants, they can actually be harmful to humans. And that is why learning how to get rid of soil mites in houseplants is so important.
Can Soil Mites Be Harmful to People?
Yes, and that is the biggest problem with soil mites. On their own, they shouldn’t pose any problem for your plants. However, they are known carriers of bacteria that can make people sick. That is because these white bugs in soil host and carry the tapeworm eggs. And it’s safe to say that these are very dangerous. So no matter how beneficial these bugs are, they are still a threat, and you need to understand how to get rid of soil mites.
Soil Mites vs. Spider Mites: What Are the Differences?
The reason why we freaked when we saw mites is that we confused them with spider mites. We are not the only ones, though. As our friend, the botanist told us, most people have a similar reaction when they see something moving in their flower pots. That is why we are going to explain the difference.
So, as we mentioned, soil mites are small, and you can barely see them with a naked eye. They are arthropods. Plus, mites in soil like moist environments, and they are beneficial for plants.
Spider mites are another story. They are little eight-legged creatures that fall under the category of arachnids, which makes them relatives of spiders and ticks. Hence the “spider” in the name. Although tiny, they are still bigger than soil mites. Adults are usually green or yellow. And they can cause quite a lot of damage to both indoor and outdoor plants, unless you know how to get rid of them. And that can be an issue. The biggest problem with controlling the infestation is their rate of reproduction. That is because females lay around 12 eggs per day. That means that if you don’t react immediately after spotting them, you will have thousands of spider mites attacking your plants in just a couple of months. So in case you noticed them, you should immediately get informed on how to get rid of spider mites in soil, to protect your green corner.
Soil Mites Overall Benefits and Dangers
|• Feed on fungi, dead organic matter, etc.|
• Help the plants reach the nutrients
• Aerate the soil
|• Carry bacteria that can be harmful to people|
• Carry the tapeworm eggs
Getting Rid of Soil Mites
Remove Old Dirt
If some members of your family or friends have houseplants, you probably saw them taking the soil out of flower pots and then putting it back! And you probably wondered why they are doing it, right? Now you understand that they didn’t do this out of boredom. They were doing it to remove old dirt and possibly even get rid of mites. So whenever you notice some decay in the flower pot, you should filter it. However, if you are taking the plant out, do make sure not to damage the root!
Repot Plants with Fresh Soil
Take time to check the soil and report your plants – that is one of the best ways how to get rid of soil mites in house plants, as well as to prevent them. Thus, make sure to take out everything that has nothing to do with a flower pot, including the dead leaves, as they can provide a cozy home for soil mites. Once done, fill the flower pot with fresh, clean soil.
Spray the Soil and Plants
If you are still not sure that you destroyed all the mites, you can spray the soil and plants with pesticides. There are plenty of natural, homemade pesticides that you can use, such as cinnamon solution or garlic-based spray. If these don’t work, you can also use industrial pesticides. Spraying the plants with herbicide is also necessary when looking for how to get rid of weeds.
Look for Plants That Grow Hydroponically
Since soil mites are harmful to us and not to plants, the most important is to make sure that they don’t enter the house. If there is soil in the house, there is a risk that the soil mites will appear. But if you opt to grow plants that grow in liquid with nutrients, then the problem is solved.
Many people panic because they are unaware these little creatures that crawl in flower pots bring plenty of benefits to plants. However, as you could see, they are harmful to us. That is why it is crucial to know how to get rid of soil mites.
And we sincerely hope that our little investigation will help you get rid of these tiny white bugs in soil too.
So, have you ever seen one of these mites in soil? Or even got rid of them? If so, do you have some tips for how to kill soil mites? Then feel free to share your tips in the comments, to help more people that face the same little bugs in soil problem.