Spider Mite on Succulents: Causes, Signs, Treatment, and Prevention

Does your succulent look like it’s seen better days? Well, if it’s shrouded in webs and dotted with dark specks, then you might be dealing with spider mites.

Spider mites on succulents are a common pest problem. These critters love gorging on your succulent’s sap. Luckily, treating them involves a few steps including isolation and water flushes.

That said, stick around to learn more about how to get rid of spider mites and prevent future infestations.

Why Spider Mites are on Your Succulents

Now, you may be wondering, “How did these little spiders find their way to my succulents?” Well, they may not necessarily be visible in the nursery that you bought, since they were tiny larvae back then.

Nevertheless, spider mites can also come from unsterile soil. Plus, they can sneak their way through your window’s screens. Yes, they’re that tiny.

If you’re repotting your succulents around summertime, some spider mites may also crawl in. Overall, the perfect breeding ground for these mites is an area with direct light and dry weather. For this reason, spider mites are fans of underwatered succulents.

Signs of Spider Mites on Succulents

Spider mites are a type of arachnid that enjoy feasting on your succulent’s juicy leaves. These mites have over 1200 identifiable species. About ten of those are considered prime pests.

One of the main culprits is the two-spotted spider mite. Those succulent suckers come in several colors ranging from green, red, yellow, and brown.

That being said, before you try to treat the mites issue, you’ll want to be certain that you have spider mites. Here are some signs to look out for.

Webbing

Spider mite webbing

Since the pest is considered an arachnid, you’ll likely notice the succulent riddled with webbing. You can find the webbing hanging between the stems and leaves. You may even find it near the bottom of the succulent.

On top of the webbing, you may also notice white specks. Hate to break it to you, but those are likely spider mite eggs.

These pests, like many others, breed like there’s no tomorrow. They can produce a whole generation within a week if their surroundings are hot enough.

Yellow and Brown Spotting

The dark spots you see around your succulent could be the spider mites crawling around. More often than not, the spots are found underneath the succulent’s leaves.

The spots you see around the succulent are also points of damage that the creepy crawlers fed off of.

Deteriorating Health

The growing spider mite population on your succulents is likely taking a toll on the plant’s health. After sucking off the succulent’s sap, you may see leaves falling off. Additionally, the plant may experience stunted growth.

Read more: Succulents That Don’t Need Sunlight

Methods to Treat Spider Mites on Succulents

The good news is that you can get rid of spider mites without sacrificing your precious succulents. The first thing you want to do before treating the succulent is to quarantine it from its neighbors.

If a lot of the succulents are infected, then quarantine them together. Once that’s done, you can move on to the next steps listed below.

Step #1: Prune the Succulent

Apart from isolation, controlling the infestation involves pruning any dead and infected leaves. Once cut, make sure to discard the pruned leaves properly to avoid any more infestations.

For instance, you can burn them off. That being said, some succulents may be too far gone. In this case, you’ll want to dispose of the whole plant to prevent infection of other healthy surrounding succulents.

Step #2: Incorporate Moisture

The number one enemy of spider mites is water or any sort of moisture. For this reason, you can start by flushing the whole succulent or giving it a rinse. You can use a high-pressure spray to get in between all the plant’s nooks and crannies.

Be sure to thoroughly wash underneath the leaves where most of the mites congregate. While flushing the mites out, be sure to keep the draining water away from your garden area.

In addition to this, you can crank your humidifier to create a moist-rich environment that’ll drive away the small arachnids.

Step #3: Use Spider Mite Control Solutions

In this step, you can use more than one option to kill off any remaining spider mites. Here are some of the spray options below.

Essential Oils

If you’re not a fan of chemicals and would rather take the natural route, then we suggest giving neem oil a try. This essential oil is nature’s pesticide originally emitted by the neem tree as a protectant.

Neem Herb with Oil in bottle with a pestle and mortar

The oil’s main mite-killing ingredient is called azadirachtin. Now, oil and water don’t mix, so you’ll need an emulsifier to blend the liquids. That’s where liquid soap will come in.

In a spray bottle, add a gallon of warm water and mix in a couple of teaspoons of soap. Then, pour in a couple of tablespoons of the neem oil. Shake the mixture so it’s well incorporated and spray it daily onto the affected regions of your succulent.

Alcohol

Aside from organic oils, alcohol solutions can provide you with faster results. To start, mix a one-to-one ratio of alcohol and water and spray it regularly on the succulents.

The harsh liquid should help dry out the spider mites’ protective skin that allows them to retain moisture. Eventually, the pesky mites should die off. Be sure to flush the plant with water to discard all the dead pests.

If your succulents are particularly sensitive, then we suggest diluting the alcohol solution to a 1:4 ratio instead.

Insecticides

If you don’t want to resort to DIYing a spraying solution, you can always stick to commercial insecticide sprays. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of insecticides specializing in spider mite termination.

You just need to be extra cautious when using the chemical mist and follow the instructions provided. Besides that, we suggest using insecticides as a last attempt since they tend to be harmful to you as well.

Mouthwash

Mouthwash

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand, but happen to have some mouthwash, then you can use it as an alternative spider mite control spray solution.

In a 33 oz spray bottle, mix one tablespoon of liquid soap along with a couple of tablespoons of mouthwash. Spray this liquid solution every day for a week and the spider mites should be a distant memory by then.

Also Check: Why Are My Succulents Dying?

How to Prevent Spider Mite Infestations on Succulents

Preventing spider mites from getting their tiny eight legs on your succulents is difficult. The wind can blow these pests toward your plants.

The best thing you can do is to thoroughly inspect your houseplants periodically and keep infested succulents far from healthy ones. Plus, you can consistently prune and make sure the succulent is in good health. To do so, use a well-draining potting mix and water only when the topsoil is dry.

Aside from that, when purchasing new plants, make sure to give them a rinse and spray them with insecticides. Additionally, you can regularly spray a 2:3 ratio of lemon water to ward off the mites.

Wrap-Up

Spider mites on succulents are identifiable, treatable, and preventable. To identify them, look for the telltale webbing sign and dark spotting.

Treating them involves a water rinse and a thorough spray of insecticide, neem oil, alcohol, or even mouthwash.

Finally, prevention is all about keeping a close eye on your succulents. The sooner you notice a sign of spider mites, the easier it’ll be to treat the infestation.