We gardeners all know the constant struggle pests pose in the garden. It can seem like an unwinnable battle, especially if we are constantly on the defensive.

The best thing to do is to get on the offensive. We should stop those pests in their tracks before they can get a foothold and destroy the — literal — fruits of our labor. Preventative pest management methods can take away a lot of stress for gardeners. Different types of plants will bring different pests into your vegetable garden.

One common pest that can take over our gardens is the mite. Mites have very rapid lifecycles, meaning populations quickly accumulate. This leads to an infestation spreading to nearby plants, as well. Because of this, it is very important to get on top of mite infestations before they happen.

Essential oils are a great, non-toxic, and all-natural way to prevent pest infestations. Trifecta Natural Solutions uses a unique blend of essential oils that gets on top of pests before they take over the garden.

What Types of Plant Mites Should We Worry About?

There are many different types of mites but three, in particular, will be discussed below — spider mite, russet mite, and broad mite.

1. Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids, only about 1/50th of an inch long, related to insects. Every arachnid has eight legs and two main body parts, and spider mites are no exception. Spider mite eggs are small, spherical, and translucent, turning a cream color before they hatch. Immature spider mites and adults look the same, only the immature ones are smaller. They have eight legs and an oval body.

There are a few different species including two spotted spider mites, strawberry spider mites, and pacific spider mites. It is difficult to distinguish which specific species of spider mite is on the plant. That being said, it is not important to identify which spider mite is present as the damage they cause is the same, as is the management strategy required.

These mites live in colonies of hundreds on the underside of leaves. With a magnifying glass, they are easy to spot. The largest spider mite is the female, coming in at 1/20th of an inch long. Most spider mite species spin silk webbing on heavily infested leaves. This webbing is the biggest sign that spider mites are present.

Spider mites cause damage by sucking the contents of cells from leaves. If only a small number of mites are present, this isn’t that big a deal. However, as these mites usually live in colonies of hundreds, the damage can be extensive. The first warning sign of damage is light dots stippling the leaves. Sometimes leaves change color, turning reddish before falling off. Large amounts of webbing will also be visible, covering the leaves, twigs, and fruit of whatever plant they are infesting.

Losing leaves can cause permanent damage to plants, such as impacting yield and leading to sunburn. If infestation levels are too high, the plant can die. That’s why we need to learn how to get rid of spider mites.

Spider mites could be a year-round concern as they feed on evergreen plants. In areas with deciduous trees, however, mated females overwinter in ground litter. They are usually found at garden margins and as conditions become favorable they move in towards the plants. Female mites will catch wind currents to move to other plants. There are great products on the market if you ever find yourself asking how to get rid of spider mites.

2. Russet Mites

Russet mites primarily affect hemp plants. These mites are very small, unable to be seen with the human eye. Russet mites are a pale color and have two pairs of legs. They do not spin webs which can make them easy to distinguish from spider mites.

Hemp is the only known host of russet mites. In fact, this mite has only been found on Cannabis sativa and not yet on any other plant in the Cannabaceae family. Russet mites cannot move off a host plant by themselves. Instead, they move to the edge of a leaf and are carried to other plants by the wind. They can survive in greenhouses year-round, but research on these mites is limited so it is not yet clear whether they survive in the field between plantings.

A large infestation of russet mites will cause a plant's growth to be stunted, with smaller leaf sizes and bud growth being suppressed — both in terms of size and quantity. Russet mite damage can also cause leaves to turn a bronze color or a dull grayish color.

3. Broad Mites

Broad mites are also very small, almost invisible to the naked eye. These mites are oval-shaped and light green or light yellow in color. The eggs of broad mites are easy to distinguish if looking under a microscope. They are little clear spheres dotted with white opaque spots.

The adult male broad mite carries a female in the larval stage to a new plant. When the female matures, they mate and start a new generation on this new plant. These mites can also be moved to other plants by other, larger insects such as whiteflies and aphids. They can also move from plant to plant through direct contact.

Broad mites usually go for new growth. Feeding on new growth causes deformities and stunted growth in the plants. Heavy infestation can also lead to a change in leaf color. The saliva of broad mites is toxic to plants, so even if the mites are no longer present, broad mite damage can still occur. This is yet another reason preventative pest management is the way to go.

How Can Natural Pesticides Help Mite Damage on Plants?

How can we get rid of spider, broad, and russet mites on plants and stop mite damage before it occurs? A product made by Trifecta Natural Solutions offers a unique product called Crop Control which uses a synergistic combination of essential oils in a highly effective natural pesticide:

Garlic. Garlic oil treats fungal infections while also repelling pests.

Rosemary. Moths, aphids, and mites are deterred by rosemary.

Thyme. Thyme oil disrupts the endocrine system of soft-bodied pests.

Peppermint. Peppermint oil inhibits reproductive function for some pests and also deters ants and mites.

Clove. Clove oil has antifungal properties to protect and control fungal diseases. It also contains eugenol, a pesticide that is effective against pests such as aphids, whiteflies, mites, and more.

To stop mite damage in your garden now, you can try Trifecta Crop Control as a preventative to ensure spider mites never become an issue!

Author's Bio: 

Author, Freelance writer