Spider mites are a common problem for most houseplants, including spider mites. The aggressive arachnid species will cause irreparable damage and even plant death if allowed to run rampant. Spider mites may be lethal to houseplants but don’t harm humans and pets.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to remove spider mites from majesty palms, but it’s essential to notice the infestation at an early stage.
Spider mites resemble tiny white spiders, creating a network of webs on houseplants. They are so small that it can be difficult to spot them with the use of a microscope.
Female spider mites grow to just 0.5mm long and outgrow males. As they crawl on the undersurface of leaves, they will appear like white dots.
They are also referred to as web spinning mites due to their ability to double their population in a few weeks. Worse, it only takes one week for a spider mite to achieve adulthood.
Females can lay hundreds of eggs on the underside of leaves – where they are least likely to be noticed. This means your majesty palm will be at risk of a full-blown infestation in the span of a few weeks.
Because of their small size, spider mites can float on a wind and make their way to another houseplant. This is why it is important to quarantine your majesty palms after they have been affected by spider mites.
Spider mites can also spread by riding on the skin of pets, and clothes, and are often spread indoors through the vent system.
If you suspect spider mites have invaded your majesty palms but want to confirm their presence, hold a sheet of paper under a leaf and gently shake it.
The spider mites will fall off the leaf and look like speckles on the paper. Let’s look at some of the most common symptoms of spider mites.
A small infestation of spider mites will leave yellowish-green spots on your majesty palms. This color is due to the feeding pattern of spider mites.
They feed on a plant’s sap and tissue by penetrating the leaf and sucking its juices. The result is a yellowish-green spot. Over time, this spot will take over the entire plant.
A closer inspection of affected majesty palms reveals a layer of fine webbing on the stem and leaves.
Spider mites use the webs to lay eggs and spin their webs all over the infested majesty plants. If you notice a layer of webbing on your majesty plant, the infestation may already have reached an advanced stage.
You should probably look for signs of mite infestation on nearby houseplants, given how easily they spread.
Spider mites like to infect majesty palms in colder months because the indoor air provides them with a comfortable habitat.
Majesty palms provide spider mites with safety from wet and cold temperatures. This is why it is important to thoroughly inspect your majesty palms before bringing them inside during winter.
Inspect your majesty palms thoroughly every few weeks, significantly when the moisture and temperature suddenly changes.
Chemical pesticides should be used as a last resort measure for controlling spider mite infestations.
Relying on chemical pesticides can be harmful because they may encourage the spread of spider mites by killing beneficial insects that eat them.
Moreover, spider mites are known to develop resistance to various pesticides. This is why controlling spider mite infestations with natural and organic methods is important.
Some of the most effective methods for controlling spider mite infestations will be discussed here.
Use a mixture of alcohol and water to kill visible spider mites. Mix 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol with 4 cups of water and pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Spray both sides of the affected leaf to reach any eggs that may be attached to the underside. Don’t forget to wipe the alcohol solution with a soft paper towel.
Isopropyl alcohol is easily accessible from most medical and general stores near you. They work by dehydrating spider mites.
Caution: Never dump the alcohol solution on the plant because it could cause damage. Spraying is a much better option instead.
The best way to clear off spider mite infestations is to spray your majesty palms with water every week.
Spray off the spider mites with the help of the water bottle. If the majesty palms are larger in size, you can take them to the sink or shower and spray the spider mites off that way.
Just make sure the water spray is gentle, and that the water is at room temperature, so you don’t end up shocking your majesty palms with ice-cold temperatures.
Insecticidal soaps work by coating the bodies of spider mites and disrupting their respiratory systems.
The number of applications of insecticidal soaps depends on the infestation. It is recommended to reapply the solution every few days by mixing soap and water in a spray bottle until all the termites have been cleared out.
Many beneficial predators are known for preying on spider mites. Many of them can be purchased from large garden centers and online retailers for application on your majesty palms that you want to protect or cure.
You can choose from three predatory insects to eliminate the population of spider mites. One of the most effective of these is the Phytoseiulus persimilis.
This predator is exceptionally effective if the ambient temperature is above 20℃. This insect provides a fast way of controlling spider mites by attacking their webs and webbing.
Another famous predator is the Amblyseius californicus. This predator wastes no time going after spider mites, including their webbing.
You can release these insects by applying slow-release sachets. This makes them ideal for use as a preventative treatment for spider mites.
Amblyseius californicus will also eat other mites and pollen, allowing them to live on plants when no spider mites are present. You can also use two predator species successfully together.
Essential oils are an excellent solution if you are looking for an effective and organic way of killing spider mites. Different essential oils have their mechanisms of action against spider mites.
The most popular essential oil that works against spider mites is neem oil. It is made from cold-pressed seeds of neem trees. It has powerful pesticidal qualities and a strong garlic odor.
Azadirachtin is an active ingredient in neem oil that works as an excellent insect repellant and sterilant. This makes it ideal for removing spider mites and halting their breeding cycle.
Neem oil is easy to apply to Majesty Palms. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and spray the foliage until it’s dripping wet.
Neem oil does not produce overnight results. It will take up to a month for neem oil application to work.
If the spider mites return, you can apply another application of neem oil to remove them from the majesty palms.
Eucalyptus oil is a second close to neem oil. It is a powerful non-chemical alternative to pesticides. It works as a spider mite repellent and is very toxic to bacteria and fungi.
Before introducing a new plant into your interior garden, you should take a few precautionary measures against spider mites.
It may seem extreme at first, but you want to eliminate any risk of a mite-infestation spreading from a new plant to your majesty palms.
It would help if you quarantined any new plants from the rest of your houseplants for a few weeks. Carefully observe the plant for signs of spider mites and other pests before you add them next to majesty palms,
Cleaning your majesty palm’s leaves will remove dirt and dust, which allows more of the foliage to access sunlight.
It also clears out existing spider mite colonies. Make sure to use a damp cloth – preferably made out of microfibers – to wipe down the plants.
Plants with an elevated level of stress are more vulnerable to a spider mite infestation. This is why you should promote a healthy environment that mimics the natural habitat of majesty palms.
Ensure your plants receive their recommended dose of sunlight, moisture, and nutrients to reduce exposure to stress.
Pro tip: Increase the area’s humidity to keep spider mites at bay. Spider mites prefer low-humidity conditions. You can do this by grouping the plants together.
So there you have it, a quick low-down on how to identify a spider mite infestation and fighting it. Try to regularly observe your houseplants for signs of spider mites and clean them. As long as you provide your majesty palms with a healthy environment, they should be able to withstand pest infestations and survive the onslaught of spider mite attacks.
You may like the following articles:
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.