Spider mites can’t live without plants as they are the only source of food a spider mite has. Adult spider mites can only live for 10-12 days without plants before they die assuming the environmental conditions for living are optimal otherwise they may die within just 3-5 days of not having access to to their plant food source.
Spider mite eggs may be able to survive without plants however once they hatch they will quickly die without food.
What Are Spider Mites
Spider mites belong to the Acari (mite) family called Tetranychidae which is a taxon of Arachnids that contains ticks and mites.
Spider mites are tiny (about 1/20 of an inch long and hard to see with the naked eye) and live on the underside of plant leaves. Spider mites are able to spin webs that are used for protection and will cause damage to plant cells when they feed by puncturing the leaves.
Spider mites are able to feed and live on hundreds of different species of plants and it’s very likely that any plants you have could end up getting a spider mite infestation if conditions are optimal.
If you do have a spider mite infestation on your plants then don’t worry, they won’t actually spread to any other part of your home as they can only survive on plants, in the long term anyway.
Lifecycle of a spider mite
Spider mites typically like hotter, more dry conditions (about 27 degrees celcius is optimal). Under these optimal conditions a spider mite can hatch in just 3 days. They will then be sexually mature at around day 5.
A female spider mite can lay 16 – 20 eggs per day and are known to survive for 3-4 weeks. This means they could potentially lay up to 420 eggs per week and 1260 – 1680 eggs in their life cycle.
Due to how fast spider mites are able to reproduce it can be difficult to effectively remove them using pesticides as they can become resistant to them pretty quickly.
How to check for spider mites
Spider mites are able to spin webs, just like a spider which is where they get their name. Because of their ability to produce these protective silk webs, it is often the easiest way to check to see if your plant’s leaves has a spider mite infestation.
Simply take a look at the under side of your plants leaves and check for these silk webs, if you notice any then there is a very good chance your plant has spider mites.
How to get rid of spider mites
If your indoor plants are infested with spider mites, don’t worry it’s not the end of the world. You can actually get rid of these little pests with things such as neem oil, predatory mites, removing dust from leaves, insecticidal soap and more which we go over in our article how to get rid of spider mites where you can learn everything you need to know about spider mite control.
The two-spotted spider mites will typically infest the entire plant within just a few weeks and it’s a good idea to check your plants (the whole plant) every week to make sure they are healthy and spider mite free.