Can spider mites infest a house?

May, 2022
Darren Spalding

There are few pesticides for use in home gardens and landscapes that are effective against two-spotted spider mites. They are often brought in from external sources with purchased plant material, but can be blown in with the help of wind currents. Spider mites start their lives as eggs (see photo above) that adults lay on host plants. While beneficial insects can help control spider mites, mite populations large enough to cause visible plant damage need immediate attention.

While they don't bite people or pets, these relatives of spiders and ticks can damage plants indoors and outdoors.

How do you prevent spider mites?

Spray the affected plants with insecticidal soap or use a cotton swab dipped in diluted 70% rubbing alcohol to remove visible pests These tick-like beetles are more likely to be considered arachnids (related to spiders) than insects because of their eight legs. Broad-spectrum insecticide treatments for other pests often result in mite outbreaks. So avoid these pesticides whenever possible. Spider mites have many natural enemies that limit their numbers in many landscapes and gardens, especially when they are not bothered by pesticide sprays.

Can spider mites live on humans?

Fortunately, the mites cannot live on humans, do not survive indoors, and they are not known to transmit disease. Bites usually look like a tiny pimple surrounded by a red circle, but multiple bites within the same area can look like a rash. The prickly rat mite feeds on rats at night and hides in cracks and crevices around rat nests and resting places during the day. It can get worse because many pesticides contain carbaryl, which helps spider mites multiply faster.

However, washing off spider mites is a temporary solution as these plant pests can return after each flush.

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