How to Get Rid of Spider Mites in Australia

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
May 3, 2023
Spider mite web

Spider mites are a common insect problem for gardeners in Australia. These microscopic pests can quickly increase and spread throughout your yard, causing damage to your plants and flowers. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of spider mites, how to recognise them, and how to get rid of them organically and chemically.

What are spider mites?

Spider mites are tiny arachnids in the Tetranychidae family. Spider mites are found all over the world, and there are over 1,200 species documented to date. It’s still being determined where these mites come from or how they get into gardens, but they can easily spread via wind or by hitching a ride on clothing or equipment. Spider mites are often less than 1mm in size, making them difficult to detect with the human eye. They come in various colours, such as green, yellow, brown, and red.

The Two-Spotted Mite (Tetranychus urticae), Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus evansi), and Banks Grass Mite (Oligonychus pratensis) are the most prevalent spider mites in Australia. The most prevalent spider mites in Australia are two-spotted mites, which are known to cause harm to a wide range of plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers, roses, and fruit trees.

Signs of spider mite infestation

Infestations of spider mites can be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. However, there are some signs that your plants are being attacked. 

Some common signs can include:

  • Stippling on the leaves: Small white or yellow patches on the leaves caused by spider mites.
  • Discolouration: If the infestation is severe, the leaves may turn yellow, brown, or even bronze.
  • Webbing: Fine webs are spun by spider mites on the undersides of leaves and between branches.
  • Leaf drop: If the disease is severe enough, plants may begin to lose their leaves.
  • Visible mites: Tiny moving spots on the leaves or webs may indicate the presence of mites.

If you suspect a spider mite infestation, use a magnifying lens to identify the mites on the undersides of leaves. When determining the best time to intervene, monitor the spider mite population and look for signs of infestation. 

Spider mite signs on leaves

Prevention of spider mite infestation

Prevention is always preferable to cure, and this is also true with spider mites. Here are some prevention tips for spider mites:

  • Keep your plants healthy: Spider mites tend to attack plants that are weak or stressed. Make sure that your plants get enough water, fertiliser, and sunshine. Proper yard care, like watering, fertilising, and pruning, can help plants grow well and stop spider mites from taking over.
  • Keep your garden clean: Remove any fallen leaves, debris, or weeds since they might serve as breeding grounds for spider mites. Regular garden cleaning might assist to reduce potential breeding places for spider mites.
  • Introduce beneficial insects: Natural enemies of spider mites, such as ladybirds, lacewings, and predatory mites, can help decrease their populations.

Natural ways to get rid of spider mites

There are several natural methods that you can employ to eliminate spider mites from your garden. Below, we’ve outlined our preferred methods and how you can best utilise them to effectively control your spider mite infestation. 

Spraying plants with water 

Water spraying plants is a simple and effective way to eliminate spider mites. However, it is crucial to remember that this approach may not be successful for severe infestations, and it is best used in conjunction with other remedies. Water sprays are good because they enhance humidity around the plants, making spider mites uncomfortable. To employ this method, sprinkle the plants with a hose or spray bottle and target the undersides of the leaves where the spider mites are most likely to be located. To avoid harm to the foliage, spray early in the morning when the temperature is cooler.

This procedure is safe and natural, making it ideal for organic growers. Although, it has limitations and may not be effective for severe infestations. For the best outcomes, this procedure must be used with other remedies. You may build an efficient spider mite control plan that uses water sprays and other approaches to keep your plants healthy and pest-free. 

Using predatory insects

Ladybirds and lacewings are predator insects that are a natural and safe way to control spider mites. Reintroducing these insects into your garden at the first indication of a spider mite infestation can be an effective spider mite control method. These insects can be purchased at your local garden centre or online. However, while using predatory insects is a natural method, it may only be practical for some gardeners, and the insects may take some time to establish themselves.

One advantage of using predatory insects is that they provide natural pest management, which can aid in the health of your garden. To avoid further spread, releasing these insects at the first sign of a spider mite infestation is critical. Another benefit of using predatory insects is that they are a natural and harmless way of controlling spider mites, as opposed to chemical approaches, which can damage beneficial insects.

It is crucial to remember that utilising predatory insects may not be successful for severe infestations, and the insects may take some time to establish themselves. As a result, it is critical to utilise this procedure in conjunction with other natural or chemical spider mite removal methods.

Using neem oil or garlic oil 

Due to their ability to repel and destroy spider mites, neem oil and garlic oil are natural spider mite repellents. However, it is crucial to note that the oils should be diluted with water before application to avoid harming plants. 

To use, combine the oil and water in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the damaged plants, covering the leaves’ undersides. This approach can be used anytime; however, it is most effective in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. It is also crucial to remember that numerous applications may be required for the best results and that using too much oil will harm your plants. Regardless, using neem or garlic oil has the benefit of being natural and safe for your plants and the environment.

Pruning infested leaves

Pruning afflicted leaves is an effective way to get rid of spider mites that have already taken over your plants. This method removes the damaged leaves and can help keep the mites at bay. To avoid disease transfer to the plant, it is critical to use clean and sterile pruning shears. Spider mites can be prevented from infecting other plants by cutting the leaves at the stem and disposing of them in the garbage or burning them. Although this method can be used at any time, it is best to use it first thing in the morning when the temperature is cooler to avoid damaging the plant.

Pruning has the added benefit of effectively removing spider mites that have already invaded your plants. It should be noted, however, that this treatment may be ineffective for severe infestations and may affect the plant’s aesthetics. Gardeners should be cautious when using this strategy and regularly check their plants for spider mites. Pruning is a natural and effective strategy to reduce spider mites, although it works best when paired with other methods.

Chemical methods to get rid of spider mites

Chemical solutions may be required when natural treatments fail to manage spider mites. Here are three chemical methods for spider mite control that can be effective:

Insecticidal soap

Insecticidal soap is a chemical treatment that is safe and effective for removing spider mites from plants. This low-toxicity spray disrupts the mites’ cell membranes, causing dehydration and death. Cover both the tops and undersides of the damaged plant’s leaves with insecticidal soap. Apply the solution every three to seven days until the spider mites are gone. 

It’s crucial to note that while insecticidal soap is deemed low-toxicity, it can still harm beneficial insects, so use it with caution. Before applying, read the label to ensure it’s safe for your plant. You may effectively get rid of spider mites without harming your plants by using insecticidal soap.


Miticides are chemical compounds designed to kill mites, notably spider mites. They can be applied in various ways, such as sprays, dusts, or dips, and function by interrupting the neurological system of the mite, causing paralysis and, eventually, death. 

Miticides, while efficient in treating spider mite infestations, should only be used as a last resort. This is because they can harm beneficial insects, which is important in maintaining the environment’s ecological balance. Furthermore, it should be noted that using miticides poses potential health risks, and adequate precautions should be taken when handling these chemicals.

. As needed, protective clothing, gloves, and respirators should be worn. Furthermore, keep children and pets away from treated areas until the miticide has dried and the area has been thoroughly ventilated. Spider mites can be effectively controlled without endangering humans or other beneficial organisms by using miticides sparingly and carefully.


Acaricides are chemical substances designed specifically to kill mites. These products, which can be applied as sprays, dusts, or dips, interfere with the mites’ neurological system, causing paralysis and death. Not all acaricides, however, are equally efficient against spider mites. Select a product particularly marked for spider mites to ensure a successful treatment. Acaricides can efficiently manage spider mites, but they should only be used as a last resort because they can kill beneficial insects. When handling and applying these chemicals, we also recommend using protective measures such as gloves and a mask.

Before using any chemical treatment to control spider mites, read and carefully follow the label directions. On windy days, use protective clothes and prevent spraying. Consider the potential harm to beneficial insects and the environment when using chemical methods.

Best time to treat spider mite infestation

If you notice an infestation during the growing season, take action quickly to prevent the mites from spreading. Regularly inspect your plants for spider mites and take action if an infestation is detected. One approach for monitoring spider mite populations is tapping a leaf on a white paper. If spider mites fall onto the paper, they appear as small moving dots.

If the infestation is severe, harsher treatment methods may be necessary, such as miticides or acaricides. However, before using these chemicals, it is critical to carefully weigh the risks and benefits, and they should only be used as a last resort.

Final thoughts

Spider mites can be an aggravating and harmful pest for Australian gardeners. However, following this article’s advice, you can effectively prevent and control infestations. Keep your plants healthy and your garden clean, and use natural spider mite control methods wherever possible. To avoid damaging your plants, yourself, or the environment, only use chemical techniques when absolutely required, and always carefully follow the directions.