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What Causes Spider Mites and How to Combat Them? - Varnish + Vine

What Causes Spider Mites and How to Combat Them?

Most gardeners will have experienced spider mites at some point. These pests feed on plants by puncturing cells to consume chlorophyll energy stores. What leads to spider mites? How do you effectively address them?

This article covers all you need to know about plant-killing pests like spider mites, including their characteristics, causes, and solutions. The connection between spider mites and cacti is also explored.

What is a Spider mite?

Spider mites are minute organisms in the Acari family “Tetranychidae,” with approximately 1200 recognized species. Typically residing on leaves, they can cause substantial harm by puncturing plant cells for nourishment.

What causes Spider mites?

Spider mites typically thrive in hot, dry environments. As such, spider mite infestations frequently occur during times of drought or when indoor plants don't receive much water. Applying too many nutrients can also increase the likelihood of indoor plants attracting spider mites, especially if the plants are given too much nitrogen. This is because large quantities of nitrogen can lead to the formation of small compounds known as “funny proteins,” which tend to make plant sap sweeter, attracting spider mites.

How to treat a Spider mite infestation?

If you grow indoor plants and spot spider mites, consider pruning affected leaves. Yet, for many plants or outdoor growth, this might not work. Opting to prune affected leaves when encountering spider mites in indoor plants is a recommended course of action. However, it may not yield the same results for outdoor plants or various other plant species.

Neem Oil, derived from the seeds of the Neem Tree, is a highly effective treatment for spider mite infestations. It suffocates spider mites and acts as a potent pesticide against aphids and mealybugs. Neem Oil is a natural and eco-friendly solution for controlling spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs on your plants.

How to prevent a Spider mite infestation?

Spider mite infestation can be a significant challenge. Prevention is key, such as regularly cleaning plant leaves and maintaining proper water supply and humidity levels. Consider using natural predators, such as ladybugs or predatory mites, to control spider mite populations.

Do Spider mites usually attack cacti?

Spider mites frequently feed on cacti such as the Monstrose Cactus and Peruvian Apple Cactus, as well as tropical plants including the Fiddle Leaf Fig, various species of Monstera, and others.


Spider mites are nasty pests that feed on the cells of plants, damaging their leaves and sapping them of their chlorophyll. Most species of spider mites are attracted to the sweet sap of plants, especially in hot, dry environments. To treat a spider mite infestation, you can apply Neem Oil to your plants. In most cases, you can also prevent spider mites by keeping your plants clean and well-watered.

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