What Are Soil Mites?
Have you looked at the soil in your garden closely? Every time you work in the garden, do you find many insects and organisms running everywhere?
Some of these may include earthworms, maggots, beetles, etc., which you can see easily. However, other smaller insects like soil mites are very tiny, and you can easily miss them. In small numbers, they can be beneficial and are welcome in the garden.
They become a problem when they start appearing everywhere, in all the potted plants and flower beds. Though they may not bite us, humans, they can be a health hazard as they may carry parasites like tapeworms.
Knowing how to get rid of soil mites is necessary if you don’t want them to take over your garden.
- What Are Soil Mites?
- What Do Soil Mites Do?
- How Do You Know Which Soil Mites Do You Have?
- Do Soil Mites Cause Damage? Do You Need To Get Rid Of Them?
- Why Do You Need To Get Rid Of The Soil Mites?
- How to Get Rid of Soil Mites
What Do Soil Mites Do?
Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 80 thousand different types of soil mites exist? Almost 20 thousand types have been identified. So, what do they do?
Simply put, the soil mites carry out the critical task of breaking down organic matter and help in composting. Some of them even eat other harmful soil-pests like nematodes and bacteria and keep the soil healthy.
Some of these mites can even live up to 7 years, while on average, they live between 2 and 4 years.
How Do You Know Which Soil Mites Do You Have?
The most common soil mites are
However, identifying soil mites with naked eyes is almost impossible. These mites are so tiny that there could be as many as 500 of them in about 2-3 ounces of soil! You will only be able to notice tiny dots moving around the soil.
Watch this video to learn more.
Do Soil Mites Cause Damage? Do You Need To Get Rid Of Them?
The thing to remember with soil mites is that soil mites do not cause any significant damage. You can let them remain and don’t need to get rid of them.
They can be beneficial to the soil in the way they can break down the organic matter. Moreover, the soil mites can also consume bacteria and fungi in the soil, otherwise harming the soil.
Why Do You Need To Get Rid Of The Soil Mites?
Some soil mites can be considered pests, and a need to be rid of them may arise. If you notice that their numbers have become so great that you can see them all over the soil, you have to take some action.
If you can notice the soil mites in your indoor plants, then quick action is recommended. They can travel from indoor plants to outdoor plants quite quickly. You may even find them crawling around your house.
How to Get Rid of Soil Mites
The soil mites love to feast on decaying leaves, mold, moss, and other organic matter. Wherever there are old leaves or moss, you can find them.
One way to keep them away is by keeping the surroundings clean and not letting leaves or mold develop in gutters, roofs, or anywhere in the garden. You can follow the steps given here to get rid of the soil mites.
1. Remove the Soil With The Soil Mites
Check the soil and take out any decaying matter which is on top. Soil mites love this type of material, and by taking this out, you can deny them access to their food.
Buy or get good quality topsoil for the plants. Make sure that you are careful while carrying out this process. Do not damage the roots. After removing the soil from the plant, sift thoroughly to ensure the soil does not contain any food for the mites.
2. Re-pot The Plants with Fresh Soil
Once you have removed the old, infested soil, sift through it and remove the parts which seem to contain more soil mites.
After you have checked the soil, throw out the parts which cannot be salvaged and use fresh soil for the plants. Sometimes you may have to use new soil only, depending on the infestation levels.
3. Spray the Plants and Soil
Now that you have replaced the soil, you don’t want the soil mites coming back. You will need to ensure that the soil and plant are no longer attractive to the mites.
There are some chemical sprays or insecticides available in the market which can be useful. However, if you want to use an organic solution, then you can try one of the following
- Cinnamon Solution: mix 1 tsp of cinnamon powder with 4 cups of water and leave it aside for some time. Then, pour this solution on the soil, and it will get rid of the mites.
- Garlic Solution: take about 4-5 cloves of garlic and soak them in one gallon of water for 3 to 4 days. Take some pure water, dilute this solution, and then spray it on the soil and the plant’s base.
- Starch and Dish Soap: take 3-4 drops of dish soap and 4 tablespoons of starch and mix with 5 cups of water. Spray this solution on the soil and only on the base of the plant. Wash off any solution if it is sprayed on the plant.
4. Maintain the Garden
Once you have gone through steps one to three, you are already rid of the soil mites. Now comes the part where you need to maintain your garden, pots, and plants in such a way that the mites don’t reappear.
You cannot completely be rid of them, but you can prevent mass infestation with some regular maintenance.
- Rake the leaves regularly
- Keep the compost pile away from the main garden
- Don’t let old branches, leaves, etc., decay on the soil
Keeping your garden looking good is one thing but getting rid of microscopic soil mites is something else. It is like fighting an invisible enemy. If they are less in numbers, you can leave them as they are.
However, when they become too many, it is time for you to take some steps. Getting rid of them is not very difficult, and we are sure that the steps mentioned here will help you.
Feel free to share this information with others facing a similar problem. Contact us if you have any queries or suggestions for us.
Remember that if you want to get rid of soil mites, it is better to do it when they are few. Get to it now and have a mite-free garden.