- How To Get Rid Of Soil Mites In 4 Steps
- Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
- How To Identify and Get Rid of Plant Mites (part 1 of 2)
- What Are Plant Mites and Why Are They Such a Big Problem?
- How To Identify The Different Types of Plant Mites
- What Causes Plant Mite Problems?
- How To “Catch” The Plant Mite Problem BEFORE They Ruin Your Plants…
- Some Basic Tips To Prevent & To Fight Plant Mites…
- In Part 2 of This Series We Will Show You How To Control and Eradicate Plant Mites From Your Grow Room!
- What are These Tiny White Bugs in Soil? +Other Things You Need to Know Now
- Soil 101
- Tiny White Bugs in Soil
- Getting Rid
- I live in a condo community. After mulch was put down we started to see a lot…
- How to Get Rid of White Mites
- Key Takeaways
- I have tiny white bugs in my bathroom.
- Our Pest Library
- Ask Your Question
- Types of Soil Mites
- Soil Mites Identification
- Soil Mite Info: What Are Soil Mites And Why Are They In My Compost?
- What are Soil Mites?
- The Oribatid Mite
- Soil Mites in Compost
- Additional Soil Mite Info
- Please help… soil mite
How To Get Rid Of Soil Mites In 4 Steps
Once you take the soil out, you should sift it to ensure that no decaying plant material that can provide food for the mites is present. If it is in the garden, you will need to scoop out a few inches of the top soil but make sure that you do not affect the plant’s support. Also, you do not have to take out a lot of soil because most of the mites only live at the top where they have better access to the food. You should then also sift the soil to remove the decaying leaves.
Step 2: Repot/Return The Soil
After filtering and sterilizing your soil the next step is to repot your plants. If you have some new and sterile soil lying around it will even be better than what you were using before but if this is not the case your old dirt is still perfect. For garden soil, you only need to return it where it was but make sure that your plants have enough soil around them.
As you are putting back the earth, it is also a good idea to get rid of any dead leaves in your plants because they are likely to fall off soon and provide a suitable habitat for the mites. Also, if you are planting in pots and containers, you should soak the plants to remove as much of the old soil as possible because it might still contain some of the mites or their larvae. But, make sure you do this as fast as possible to prevent the roots from drying out because this can kill the plants.
Step 3: Spray the Soil/Plants
After sifting the soil and ensuring that it is no longer conducive for the mites you still need to spray to kill any soil mites that might still be around and to prevent them from coming back. And for this, there are many things that you can use, and it all depends on whether you want to do it with chemicals or organically. But here are some easy ideas that will be very helpful.
#1. Garlic-Based Solution
Use a garlic-based solution to pray the soil and the base of the plants. For the best results, you should leave about four cloves of garlic in a gallon of water for three or four days, and then dilute the “garlic water” with pure water before spraying.
#2. Cinnamon Mixture
A cinnamon mixture will require you to use a teaspoon of cinnamon and at least four cups of water. You should then leave the mixture for some time or until the cinnamon settles on the bottom of the jug/container. The last thing is to pour your mixture to the soil to kill mites and other bugs attracted by rotting plants.
#3. Dish Soap And Starch
Dish soap and starch can provide a simple but effective solution for your soil mite problem. You should mix about three drops of dish wash soap with about three or four tablespoon of starch and five cups of water. Spray the mixture on the soil to kill the mites but also remember to rinse off any part of the plant that might get sprayed.
#4. Insecticides With Pyrethrins
If the other spray solutions do not appear potent enough, you can use pesticides that contain pyrethrins to kill the mites. However, it is important to follow the diluting instructions to avoid harming the plants.
Step 4: Give the Plant Proper And Adequate Care
No matter how efficient the method that you use to get rid of the mites might be, they can still come back if you do not care for your plants well. And for this, the most important thing is to make sure that they do not have anything to feed on by getting rid of any decaying plant material around the plants.
Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Search Smarty Plants
Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Wednesday – June 25, 2008
From: Shepherdstown, WV
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Pests, Watering
Title: Mites in soil of house plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford
Hi there! I recently noticed tiny silver mites in the soil of my plants that I only notice after watering. These plants are indoors in on a window ledge (a dwarf palm, aloe plant and Hawaiian Schefflera). There doesn’t appear to be any damage to the plants from them, but regardless of if they are harmful I would prefer if they weren’t there. Do you know if they can cause any harm and what I can do to get rid of these mites? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Since most house plants are tropical or semi-tropical, and non-natives of North America, they are a little out of the range of our expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Our concentration is on plants native to the area in which they are being grown, because they need less fertilizer, water and maintenance. However, we understand that plants are plants, and if you are having a problem with indoor plants, we can certainly try to help you find a solution. The best website we found on house plant care in general was the Colorado State University Extension site on Managing Household Plants. You are correct in feeling that even a non-damaging insect is not a good thing to have on a plant that is growing inside. They could be larvae of a pest that is going to damage plants, and not just the one they are on, but spreading to others in your home. Please read the website we have linked you to completely; it has pictures and descriptions, plus suggestions for control. One final note: we have noticed that over-watering of indoor plants is very often the source of insect problems. The thing about an indoor plant is it’s right there, in your line of vision all the time. So, every time you pass, you think maybe it could use a little drinky. Not only does it not need such frequent watering, but if the pot is poorly drained, it could be producing root rot, and the ultimate demise of the plant.
More Watering Questions
Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 – My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy “fur” on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I’m worried its some kind of disease. Is it so…
view the full question and answer
What fertlilizer for live oaks under drought conditions?
July 01, 2011 – In your June 7 answer about helping live oaks survive the drought, you state that additional fertilization may help as well. What kind of fertilizer to you recommend and how should it be applied? Th…
view the full question and answer
Dormancy in Pin Oaks without water in Del Rio, TX
August 02, 2011 – Can Pin Oak trees go dormant without enough water? If so how long can they live that way? Can they be brought back to producing leaves? If yes, then what do I need to do besides giving them water. I d…
view the full question and answer
Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 – Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, ‘Tifway 419’ bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana…
view the full question and answer
Watering Houseplants with Soapy Water
August 22, 2011 – I accidentally watered my house plants with a container that had a some dishsoap in it. Will they be okay? One of the plants is a 20yr old cactus, with small roots.
view the full question and answer
Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
How To Identify and Get Rid of Plant Mites (part 1 of 2)
If you’re going to be growing plants then unfortunately you’re going to be dealing with pests like plant mites!
It’s just a fact of life for the dedicated grower.
The good news is that you can fight back and win against plant mites.
This is part one of a two part article series and today we’re going to discuss…
- What are plant mites and why they’re such a big problem
- A complete plant mites identification guide
- How to identify a plant mite problem before it ruins your garden
- Some simple tips to get you started on a “plant mite proof” garden
We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started…
What Are Plant Mites and Why Are They Such a Big Problem?
First off, none of us want little creatures running all over our precious plants…
But unlike beneficial fungi or microbials, which are little living organisms that are beneficial for your plants, mites are NOT a tiny organism you want in your grow room.
The reason why is because these little buggers actually feed on your plants and drain them of valuable nutrients and chlorophyll…
In fact, if you don’t get rid of them they can actually kill your plants!
These tiny creatures are basically like “vampires” that will suck your plants dry and can ruin your entire harvest.
How To Identify The Different Types of Plant Mites
The mite family of creatures are closely related to ticks and even related to arachnids (spiders).
There are many types of mites, some more common than others…
This short guide can help you identify what type of infestation you may be dealing with. Even better, hopefully, you are reading this before you have a problem and it will give you an idea of what mites symptoms to watch out for…
1. Spider Mites – these tiny little buggers (less than 1-mm long) are probably the most common (and most hated) of all indoor garden pests. They are actually little arachnids and because of their small size you may not notice them until they do serious damage to your plants.
There are two reliable ways to spot an infestation: one, look for spider-like webbing. Two, take a tissue and wipe gently on the underside of leaves–if it comes back with streaks of Spider Mite blood–you know you have mites.
2. Broad Mites – are so tiny they’re impossible to see with the naked eye, and still really difficult to see with a microscope. Broad mites reproduce prolifically between 70-80º F. They hatch in two-to-three days and each female can produce 40-50 eggs. Broad mites inject a toxic growth hormone into the plant that slows and distorts growth. Look for leaves with the edges turned up as if your plant is suffering from heat stress–and your plant can even take on a glossy appearance that looks like fake plastic leaves. Eventually, these leaves will turn yellow or bronze then die.
3. Hemp Russet Mites – unlike spider mites, these leave no webbing. Visible damage to your plant, like the Broad Mite, is usually the first signs of an infestation. Unlike most varieties of mites, they only have two pair of legs. They start low on the plant then work their way up, so check slightly above wherever a plant is showing stress with a microscope that’s at least 14x power.
4. Cyclamen Mites – are very similar to broad mites. They’re less than 0.2 mm long and can be colorless to green or brownish. They have 8 legs. Male cyclamen mites have a very strong claw mounted at the end of each fourth leg. They avoid light and prefer high humidity and cool 60º F (15º C) temperatures. Like the spider mite, they feed on the cells of your plants by sucking it out with their mouths. Their feeding causes stunted growth with leaves generally curling upward. Leaves get stiffened and brittle and flowers are deformed or reduced.
Now that you know what mites are, let’s talk about…
What Causes Plant Mite Problems?
Many things can cause plant pest problems like mites, but basically, it’s just a part of growing.
Even if you’re growing in a completely sealed grow room indoors, these pests can still get in.
That said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…
So take some common sense steps to fight plant and pest diseases using the tips in this article.
In short, keeping your grow room clean & tidy can at least help you stay in control of your grow room and will make it easier to identify pests when they invade.
It helps to think of your grow room—if growing indoors—as a medical room that needs to be kept as clean as possible to avoid unwanted contamination.
If you grow outdoors, this is all much harder because mites are usually found in soil…
How To “Catch” The Plant Mite Problem BEFORE They Ruin Your Plants…
One of the keys to saving your plants from plant mites (and other pests for that matter) is to act fast.
In other words, the sooner you identify you have an infestation by actively looking for mite symptoms, the faster you can fight them and the less damage the mites can do.
Here’s a big tip: don’t just assume your plants are suffering from a nutrient deficiency or other common plant growing problem.
For example, spider mites start to damage your plant causing little yellow specks on your leaves. You might mistake this for a nutrient deficiency and not inspect your plants for pests! By the time you see the webbing from these little creatures, it means they’ve been feeding off your plants for some time doing damage.
So rule number one is do not rule out pests when you see something wrong with your plants.
You want to grab a handheld microscope and carefully inspect your plants whenever you see a problem of any type to make sure you’re correctly identifying the problem.
In short, you don’t want to dismiss some plant stress problems as a nutrient deficiency or some other misdiagnosis only to find out you have a serious infestation on your hands when your plants start dying!
Some Basic Tips To Prevent & To Fight Plant Mites…
- Grow Hydroponically Without Soil If Possible – First off, if you’re growing hydroponically, then you can greatly reduce your chances of having to fight these annoying, crop-destroying pests…That’s because they prefer soil and easily multiply in this growing medium. For that reason, if you’re growing indoors, then use a sterile growing medium with no soil like coco coir or coco coir plus perlite mix. This alone dramatically reduces the chances of bug infestations.
- Start Fighting Pests Right Away – If you have identified a pest problem or any of the mites symptoms, then don’t wait! You want to start fighting the little buggers as quickly as possible because the earlier you catch them the less damage they can do to your precious plants.
- Quarantine Your Grow Room – If growing indoors, it’s helpful to have a “quarantine” area before you enter your actual grow room where you can remove shoes that might have soil on them from outdoors, clothing, etc. Or anything else that might allow you to accidentally bring pests into your grow room. The idea here is that you want to keep your actual grow room as “sterile” as possible.
So what happens if you are doing your best to prevent a problem, but you think you might have mites anyway?
In Part 2 of This Series We Will Show You How To Control and Eradicate Plant Mites From Your Grow Room!
Make sure you sign up to the Advanced Nutrients newsletter so you don’t miss it…
Because in part two of this article series, we’re going to show you all the strategies you need to successful fight and eradicate these pests from your grow room.
GET ALL THE LATEST NEWS AND GROWING INFORMATION
What are These Tiny White Bugs in Soil? +Other Things You Need to Know Now
Your garden can surprise you in so many ways. You can see blooms you did not predict, unexpected plant hybrids and even unwarranted visitors. It is somehow understandable for people to ask about the tiny white bugs in soil they saw perhaps in their compost.
Today, we will check if we should get worried with them or not.
To be a successful farmer, one must first know the nature of the soil. – Xenophon
We are aware that the soil does not only contain rock sediments and nutrients but also life forms in different shapes and sizes. We have discussed its layering as well and how possible it is for gardeners to actually imitate nature and build soils.
I understand, nonetheless, that sometimes the presence of new creatures such as tiny white bugs can make us wonder and even anxious.
Tiny White Bugs in Soil
The problem people encounter is that these bugs may belong to different animal kingdoms. So it is very important that you know how to classify them accordingly.
Look at them closely. Make use of a magnifying glass if you need to just to be able to see their characteristics. You should also be able to identify which part of the plant they are really staying. Is it on the leaves? Stems? Or Soil? From there, you would be able to know if they are soil mites, spider mites, root maggots, or fungus gnat larvae.
You can see them lurking at the soil part because they enjoy it when they thrive in the roots of the plants. You can, however, see some of them pooling at the leaves and stems.
They are also called as plant lice and their population can grow very fast. They are often invisible just like your russet mites
Fungus Gnat Larvae
These little bug-like creatures loves staying on soil surfaces that are damp. You should not allow them to stay long with your plants because they consume the roots and get the nutrients of the plants. Eventually, the health of the plant will deteriorate and there is a huge probability that it can die in the long run.
The larvae have black shiny heads and do not have legs. They are yellow-white in color and they become dark as they grow old.
This kind of species love staying at the roots of plants bearing fruits and vegetables. Although minute, these are sometimes considered as pests. They can deform the fruit, make the growth process of the fruit abnormal, and predisposes the plant to diseases.
The larvae of these maggots look like a common housefly. They are color yellowish-white. You can commonly see them in soils where you plant broccoli, cabbage, chayote, onions, and turnips.
They appear as little dots moving around the soil area. They are considered beneficial and a good part of the plant’s ecosystem. They do not bring any danger to the plants. They feed on decaying matters, hence, compost is the best habitat for them.
There are different classifications of soil mites such as worm bin mites and oribatid mites.
The saliency of assessing the bug correctly is irrefutable. If you fail to identify the mites, you will not be able to tell what kind of bug they really are. However, as a rule of the thumb, if you cannot properly describe them, you might want to check out how your plants are doing. If they seem untouched, then these creepy crawlers can stay as long as they want.
On the other hand, if you see some changes in your plant or if you positively identified them as pests, you have to eradicate them as soon as possible. There are different techniques you can make use of:
- You can use pesticide accordingly. This, however, will not be a good idea if you are growing an organic garden. But if not, there are many commercially prepared mixtures available in the market. You can also do your own concoction alternatively.
- For organic gardens, on the other hand, sticking with the traditional homemade barriers, garden fabrics, row covers, plant collars and sticky traps can help you. Neems and beneficial insects can also control some bugs.
- Hot pepper, wood ashes, and diatomaceous soil can keep away flies.
Bugs are not really pleasing to the eyes even if they are actually beneficial. They can cause anxiety that is why you have to know how to properly label them.
I hope this guide made things clearer for you. If you have any techniques on how to identify tiny white bugs in soil please feel free to share your experience or ideas in the comment box below!
I live in a condo community. After mulch was put down we started to see a lot…
A picture of the insect would be helpful. Treatment depends on knowing the type of insect.
During seasons of high rainfall and moisture, insects that are decomposers may be attracted to your mulched area. Sow bugs, millipedes, earwigs and centipedes may appear in higher numbers than normal. Mulch, especially damp or wet mulch can attract a number of insects. Following is a link to a fact sheet from the University of Florida Extension that provides pictures of some of the insects attracted to mulch: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in030
Termites live in the soil. They need high moisture levels and dry out quickly when exposed to fresh air. They feed on wood and wood products if the moisture level in a particular location remains high for an extended period of time.
A two to three-inch layer of coarse organic mulch does not have the capability of sustaining this constant level of moisture. The finer the mulch, the greater the chance of tight compaction that can hold in moisture, thus creating the right environment that is necessary for termite activity.
Bark nuggets, hardwood mulches, and cocoa hulls are coarse and don’t compact easily as, for example, sawdust. Organic mulches should never be more than three inches deep.
Deeper mulch layers have the potential of maintaining high moisture levels, creating the ideal termite environment.
If the area in your landscape is naturally moist, keep the mulch layer shallower at about two inches. Periodically rake the area to aerate the mulch. Never mound organic mulch up against the foundation of a building or against untreated wood.
Allow for six inches of exposed foundation between any woodwork and the soil. If you are concerned, make sure water drains away from your foundation and put a six to 12-inch wide layer of stone mulch against the foundation and use organic mulch throughout the rest of the landscape bed.
Here is an additional link to an Iowa State University Extension fact sheet with more info: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/newsrel/2001/feb01/feb0109.html
How to Get Rid of White Mites
White mites are another one of those nuisances that make our lives difficult when they show up indoors or around our yard plants. If we leave these white mites untreated and unattended, they soon multiply in numbers and then there are even more hard-to-see pests for us to hate.
Despite being difficult to see, white mites are not entirely invisible; it’s just that they are very tiny. If they find their way indoors, you will find them on your furniture, carpets, curtains, bed linen and all other house furnishings. If something like this happens, it’s your cue to get up and start looking for ways to get rid of these mites pronto, or else the next place you’ll find them could most probably be your bed.
Fortunately for you, we know just what you need in the form of products that will help you say goodbye to these mites, but before we get to that, let’s first find out a little more about white mites.
White mites are also called spider mites, probably because they share one very obvious feature with spiders. They too have eight legs, just like spiders. These pests come in different colors but there is a species known as the two-spotted spider mite, which is white.
As we also mentioned, they are also extremely tiny, measuring in at just 0.5 mm in length when adults. What can make them easy to identify as spider mites are their production of a fine silken thread that they leave behind on plants which resemble cobwebs.
If these white mites are lucky enough to find their way to your yard, then your plants may be at risk. White mites love to feed on plants. And when these white mites are indoors, they’ll take over everything: your furniture, carpets, curtains, linens and everything else.
Seemingly, white mites are considered harmless because they don’t bite or cause any structural damage, but in truth, they are harmful because they have long hairs, which they shed frequently, these airborne hairs are notorious for carrying allergens and hence cause allergic reactions in housemates.
Inspecting white mites can be hard to do since they are so tiny but there are prime areas where they can be discovered and treated.
Where To Inspect
White spider mites are typically found in greenhouses, gardens and on house plants. If they have found their way indoors it’s often due to wandering away from a house plant. If you have an infestation, check plants to find out where they are concentrated.
What to Look For
Because they are so tiny, white mites may look like tiny white dot on a plant that are moving. Another thing to watch out for are the silken threads they leave behind which look like little white cobweb-like hairs.
Once you are certain you have white mites and know their prime locations, it is time to begin treatment. Follow the steps below and your white mite problem will be no more.
Step 1: Clean up and moisture control
If white mites have really taken over your house, then you will need to do a detailed clean up of your home. You’ll also need to wash all the beddings, curtains and linens in the house. These are all the things in your house, where the white mites are most likely breeding.
Mites are pulled to our house because of moisture. Or more accurately, they are attracted to the mold growth because of the moisture. The first thing you need to do is find this source of moisture in your house and have it fixed immediately. A house with moisture ends up with more pests than just one. Therefore get all the taps and water lines in the house fixed. Seal the foundation if that is damaged. Once you find these sources of moisture and deal with it, the conditions will become unsuitable or the mites and they’ll begin to look elsewhere for their infestation.
In case you live in a place with naturally moist conditions, then you might want to consider dehumidifying or central heating to dry the air.
Step 2: Apply Reclaim IT
Now that you have cleaned up all the breeding grounds in the house, you need an effective insecticide, that you can keep by your side and spray away every time you find an infestation of white mites in your house. We recommend Reclaim IT. Reclaim IT is a bifenthrin-based insecticide concentrate that can control over 70 different pests including spider mites. You can also safely spray Reclaim IT both indoors and outdoors and it will remain effective for up to 90 days.
Mix the appropriate amount of Reclaim IT in a gallon sprayer with water. The typical amount we recommend is between 0.33 to 1 fl. oz per 1,000 sq. feet. Measure the square footage of your target area to determine how much product you will need.
Spray Reclaim indoors around baseboards, cabinets, windows, doors, and in other crack and crevice areas. Outdoors it can be used as a broadcast spray on the lawn and vegetation or around your structure foundation, windows, doors, eaves, and plumbing/electrical penetrations.
As noted in the treatment section, one of the major perpetrators of white mite infestation in the house is moisture. More than normal water and moisture in the house will definitely invite the white mites to take residence in your home. In order to prevent that from happening, again, make sure all the taps and water lines in the house are fixed and none of them leaks anymore. Also, if the mites are starting to take over your yard, then do not hesitate to pull the whole mite-infested plant and throw it away. This will instantly stop the mites from spreading all over your yard.
For indoors, make sure you keep your carpets, floor, and curtains clean. Wash them once every three to four months. Wash the beddings, one every three weeks. Also, these little buggers love your beds, so you can keep them away by securing your beds with plastic cover or dust-proof covers and then
- White mites are a species of spider mite and are a tiny insect known to infest outdoor garden plants and house plants but can also infest areas of the home.
- Apply Reclaim IT in areas where you have noticed white mite infestations indoors as well as outdoors to protect your plants and create a barrier that will keep them out.
- Prevent future white mite infestations by addressing moisture issues and regularly cleaning up your home.
I have tiny white bugs in my bathroom.
Related Questions: The Orkin Man used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by Orkin.com users:
- Question: The last two days I have noticed microscopic insects in my bathtub. I have no idea where they are coming from, and they are not in the outside areas. Looking at them with a lens, they look like clear ants, but I’m unsure. I don’t know if they are coming from my walls because I am regrouting the tub area. Can you help?
- Question: I have found hundreds of small salt-grain-sized bugs in my house all over, what are they?
- Question: I have recently discovered that there are very small white-colored bugs in my bedroom. They are as small as a dot. I am wondering if you know what they are and how to get rid of them in a safe way without disrupting furniture, electronic equipment.
- Question: My apartment complex provides regular pest control services about every 2-3 weeks. Yet I constantly find these bugs on my walls and counters (mostly in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen). They do not fly, they are about a half inch long with antennae, and when I kill them with a tissue they become almost translucent although when they are all on the wall or whatever they appear to be brown. They seem to show up in areas that have been dark for awhile (e.g., inside cabinets, closets, dark bedroom or bathroom) but no matter how often I have pest control (and it is Orkin) they never seem to go away, yet I never have any other bug issues. I live in northern Florida.
- Question: I periodically see these little brown bugs ( I think they have six legs) in different areas of my home, bathroom sink, shower, living room floor, kitchen sink. They seem to go near food. I saw the first one around a year ago. I do not see them often, although I have seen two in the last three days. Do you have any ideas what they could be?
- Question: We have bugs in our apartment since a hurricane. I do not know if they are ants or termites. The are very small and move VERY fast!! They are dark in color in the front and lighter in the back. They seem to be around water, sweets and our bed. Can you please help us figure out what these are? We have used ant spray to kill them, but they keep coming around. We have reptiles in the apartment and a cat, so we do not want to fog the apartment.
- Question: We have tiny bugs that look like brown dots near the windows and in the tubs and sinks. They invade in the springtime and this year they are worse than ever. What are they, and can we keep them from coming back?
- Question: Can you identify this insect? It is tiny, tiny. It is only noticed when there are a number of them on the counter. Individually, they are specks. When found on the counter or in the kitchen sink they are dead. We have closed all holes under the sink, but the insects still appear.
- Question: Hi! There are hundreds of beige specks by my kitchen sink. I clean them and they reappear.
Our Pest Library
Find out more about your suspects
Our Pest Library is full of up-to-date information on termites, ants, and cockroaches as well as more than 25 common household pests. Find out more information about their behavior, habits, and other cool facts.
Ask Your Question
Still didn’t find an answer to your question? Fill out the form below and we’ll get right back to you with an answer. For service and billing questions please message us here.
Should you eliminate soil mites in your potted plants? Knowing how to get rid of soil mites would be good if you should. But is this common house bug actually harmful or are they, after all, beneficial to your precious greens? Let’s understand what they are first. According to Study.com —
“Simply put, they are mites that live in the soil. They are arthropods having an exoskeleton (no internal bones), a segmented body with legs coming from the segments.
Soil mites are also very tiny; measuring just millimeters long if that. They are so small that only a small 3.5 ounce (100 gram) sample of soil can contain as much as 500 mites from 100 different genera.”
Types of Soil Mites
There are actually very many types of soil mites. “Many” is, however, an understatement since an approximate of about 18,000-20,000 soil mites have been identified in our current century. Also, there are thought to be approximately 80,000 different types that exist in our world. But luckily, we can break them down into huge groups. These four suborders are the most common ones anyone would encounter:
- Feeds on smaller animals
- Likes to hang around in soil rich in nitrogen; like in farms.
- A suborder of mites that have different feeding patterns.
- This is the most common of the four.
- Feeds on the following:
- dead plants
- tiny dead insects
- tiny live worms
- Due to their large shell-like body, they are also known as “turtle mites.”
- Likes wood; therefore, can make their way into your patios and decks
- Drawn to organic matter such as:
Soil Mites Identification
Before we talk about either eliminating them or keeping them, let us first have a visual understanding of these so-called “mites” so that we’ll know one for when we actually see one.
Since they are arthropods, they have six legs. This is not to be confused with their closely related eigh-legged cousins; the arachnids. They, along with their relatives, typically make their home in potting soil. Hence; that will be the first place you should look if you suspect their presence.
They are diminutive. So much so that they probably just the span of a pinpoint and are barely noticeable. These arthropods may show up as meager white spots strolling along the surface of the dirt or along a plant compartment. These soil mites are not thought to be any harm to plants and, actually, they are in many cases regarded to be valuable for decomposition. So, do not panic if you find them in your compost bin.
Benefits and Dangers
Let’s look at a few facts.
- Greatly aids in breaking down decaying organic matter for the decomposition process.
- Helps roots absorb nutrients from decaying organic matter.
- Aids in the survival of plants (and even humans).
- A nuisance to us and our homes.
- Capable of carrying bacteria and transmit diseases to us humans.
- Can and will make homes in your potted plants.
- Capable of carrying parasites; such as the tapeworm.
From the facts we have gathered, we can say that they are in a grey area; not all good but not all bad as well. Whilst they can help our plants, they can harm us directly.
Should you decide to do away with them, it is fairly simple. As we have stated, they are irresistibly drawn to decaying organic matter. So, keep any and all decaying matter away from your home. Don’t forget to include the ones on the roof, like leaves, fruits, and etc., as well. If the mites find them, you can be certain they’ll be tempted to have a party with their friends and families at the banquet you have left for them.
Don’t stress out too much. These arthropods have been known to leave when left alone for long or have run out of anything to eat. So, even if you take the passive (or lazy) route and just leave them be, they will eventually go away. However, for the doers who would prefer not to wait around for things to just happen, there are steps you can execute to get closer to the goal.
1. Check the soil
The mites love feeding on peat moss, decaying leaves, and mold. Thus, it’d be a great first step to filter them out of the soil. Take the dirt out entirely from your many potted plants. Don’t worry, this isn’t as costly as mold removal.
However; do not be reckless when executing this step. Roots can easily be damaged; hence, the beginning of the end for your plant. And that would defeat the purpose of everything we’re trying to do!
Once all of the dirt is out of the pot, sift through them thoroughly. Check and remove any more food for the mites.
A few inches of topsoil may need to be scooped out of your garden to check for mites. Just make sure you do not negatively affect the support of your plants. No need to dig any deeper as mites are known to stay on the topsoil. However, if they are close to your decorative paving slabs, better check there as well just to make sure because some types of mites can travel fast!
2. Re-pot the soil
After thoroughly inspecting the soil, carefully return them to where they were extracted from. Pro tip: if there are leaves that you find are close to the end of their lives, save yourself some future trouble and do away with them now. It’s the best time.
Spraying the soil and plants is the final step. This serves as a final assurance method to get rid of any mites we might have missed and to prevent a revisitation! You will have organic and chemical options as to what kind of spray you would like to use. Here are a few recommendations:
- Insecticides (w/ Pyrethrins )
- Starch and Dish Soap
- A Cinnamon Mixture
- A Garlic-Based Solutions
Soil Mites Are Friend and Foe
Rather than waiting for it to be a problem, preventive matters should be taken to eliminate any potential risk or danger they may bring. But that is if you aren’t looking to use them as “assistants” towards your plant’s growth.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Soil Mite Info: What Are Soil Mites And Why Are They In My Compost?
Could your potted plants be lurking with potting soil mites? Perhaps you have spotted a few soil mites in compost heaps. If you’ve ever come across these frightening looking creatures, you may be wondering what they are and if they’re a threat to the livelihood of your garden plants or soil. Keep reading to find out more about soil mite info and their effects in the garden.
What are Soil Mites?
So what are soil mites and are they dangerous? Potting soil mites make their home, with many family members, in soil. These tiny creatures are about the size of a pinpoint and are very easy to miss. They may appear as little white dots walking along the surface of the soil or along a plant container. There are many species of soil mites and all are close relatives to ticks and spiders. Soil mites are not thought to cause any damage to plants and, in fact, are oftentimes deemed to be beneficial to the decomposition process.
The Oribatid Mite
The Oribatid mite is a type of soil mite that is commonly found in wooded areas
where it often assists in the breakdown of organic matter. These mites occasionally make their way to patios, decks, container plants or even inside homes. They are generally drawn to decaying organic matter such as leaves, moss and mold.
The easiest way to deal with pesky soil mites, should they be a bother to you, is to get rid of the decaying matter. Keep outdoor living spaces and roofs clear of decomposing matter as well.
Soil Mites in Compost
Because of its decomposition properties, soil mites love compost and will find their way into a pile any chance they can. Known as worm bin mites, these little critters find compost bins to be the perfect banquet.
You may find several different species of bin mites in compost, including predatory mites that are flat and light brown. These fast moving soil mites are found in all sorts of compost bins including both indoor bins and outdoor piles of animal manure.
Slower moving soil mites in compost are also found. You may recognize some of these as shiny round mites which move extremely slow and look like tiny eggs. These mites generally feed on fruits and vegetables, including rotting rinds. If you are concerned that these mites are competing with your compost worms, you can place a piece of watermelon rind in your compost pile and remove it in a few days, hopefully with a large number of mites.
Additional Soil Mite Info
Due to the fact that much of the soil mite info available may seem hard to find, it is important to know that they are relatively harmless to humans and plants. So, don’t panic if you see potting soil mites or mites in your compost bin.
If you are set on getting rid of them in your planting containers, you can simply remove your plant from the pot, soak it to remove soil and repot with new, sterilized soil. A small amount of insecticide can be added to the soil to keep your plant mite free as well.
Please help… soil mite
Thank you all for the suggestions!
I’ve been on these guys for a while…
DF~ played w the DE powder for a while. For starters, they crawl right through it & seem to keep on going. Didn’t actually trap & observe over a few days, but w top dressings, they kept coming. Problem w the DE (I think) is that they go everywhere, including deep down into the pots. I’ll catch them in the drain water from the bottoms even. They can even breed in the gunk that builds up on the bottom of drain trays… seen colonies breeding there b4. They seem to eat my bene’s & LK. DE doesn’t work wet, right? That never made too much sense because thought bugs ate it which scared up their guts, but that would be wet DE, no??? Anyway, didn’t seem to work in the end.
Sedate~ h2o2 at a 3% direct spray did nothing to them. They soaked it up, dried out, then crawled away. Didn’t even seem pissed off, nor deterred… nothing. Same thing w Physan 20, pyrethrum, insect soap, neem & other oils. Bugzyme, same thing. Maybe some of them died later on, but not on contact & drying…???
Fink~ the ST’s were a little bit of a pain. They were hopping around in the drain tanks even. Tackled them effectively w diligent spraying of insecticidal soap (any I could see, anywhere) + x3 applications of neem (azatrol) at 60ml per gal (4-5 days apart). This was a full soil/medium drench. pH it though. Just have to be diligent w these… they can travel/hop.
Lost~ I’ve heard of sand for the gnats. Read that these mites can’t dig, but go through cracks in the soil. Problem for me is that they are everywhere, coming out the bottoms even. I could try sand on tops & at bottoms, then my meshing…??? W maybe the Tanglefoot would be able to isolate all new plants…? If the sand keeps them in/out…? Interesting idea.
JK~ that’s kinda where I was at… some sort of systemic that I can treat the early transplants, then isolate like all hell, then hit once again before transfer, then weed them out over a cycle & half. Just didn’t know of a soil drench that is a true miticide (eggs even, if possible) & weed tolerant. Merit. What dosing would you recommend? Can it be applied w nutes, or just alone? Any precautions/care instructions for the girls after app? Can I repeat in a week, or even a third in another week? I’m at this point…
Heard floramite is the bomb, for foliar, but anyone tried it as a drench? Not listed on the instructions I could find…
Thank you all for the suggestions, really! Be well.