Soil Mites: Types, Identification, and What to Do About Them

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If you’re like most people, the words “soil mites” probably don’t evoke much of a response. In fact, you may not even know what they are. Soil mites are tiny creatures that live in soil and feed on plant matter. While they may seem insignificant, they can actually do a lot of damage to plants if left unchecked. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of soil mites, how to identify them, and what to do about them!

Danger of soil mites

Danger of soil mites
Photo from @mysmallworld_sal

Soil mites are small creatures, but they can do a lot of damage to plants. If left untreated, they can cause plant leaves to turn yellow and fall off. They can also cause plant stems to become weak and break easily. In severe cases, soil mites can even kill plants! But here we should add that not all soil mites are equally harmful, because there are some that are beneficial. Useful soil mites act as recyclers, that is, they break down organic matter such as leaves, fungi, algae, and small berries that have fallen from bushes. Other species of beneficial insects act as predators that prey on nematodes, bacteria and other small and microscopic living things in the soil.

Scientists have only been able to identify 20,000 species of soil mites, but it is thought that there may actually be about 80,000.

Signs of mites in the soil

The first step in controlling soil mites is to determine their presence. There are several different signs that may indicate the presence of mites:

  • -Yellowing or wilting of plant leaves;
  • -Delayed plant growth;
  • -Damaged fruits or vegetables;
  • -White, cobweb-like material on plants.

Remember, you will only see mites if there are a lot of them. This is when mites can cause damage to your plants. Too many will be noticeable if you put soil in a container, then leave it for a while, and then pour the soil back into the vegetable garden. If you see mites on the walls of the container, you have a lot of them. In that case, you need to apply a soil treatment, but on the condition that you have the above mentioned problems If there are no problems, then the mites are harmless for your vegetable garden or garden.

Spider mite

Spider mite
Photo from @plantsdaycare

The spider mite, also often called the red mite, as they have a red colored calf. This can only be viewed under a microscope, which is why it can be so difficult to determine what type of mite is in front of you. The most common area where the mite lives is in the 6 to 12 area. The spider mite affects the plant by sucking the cells out of the plant and the plant itself begins to decay afterwards. First, yellow spots appear, and then the plant withers. On the leaves and fruits of the plant, you will notice the typical spider mite web.

How to get rid of them?

It is important not to create a lot of litter in the area, and always make sure to clean the garden. Keep all garden tools clean and disinfected. After a spider mite infestation, the affected parts of the plant should be removed immediately and the rest should be treated with an insecticidal soap that contains pyrethroids. But this method should be used if the spider mite infestation is severe. In mild cases, vegetable oil will do.

Shell mite Oribatei

Shell mite Oribatei
Photo from @bloom_andgloom

The armored mite is one of the most difficult mites to detect because it is only 0.25 mm in size. They are characterized by their brownish-yellow color and hard shell. The female mite lays up to 100 eggs at a time, which hatch after four days. The mites are often called tortoise mites because of their huge shell. These are beneficial species of mites that do not harm plants. On the contrary, they help recycle dead plants in the soil, deal with harmful fungi, algae, and eat dead insects, midges, and live worms.

Phytoseiulus persimilis

Phytoseiulus persimilis
Photo from @fieldbugs_sa

Phytoseiulus persimilis is a predatory mite that feeds on spider mites. It is red in color with long legs and moves quickly. It is called the spider mite killer, so if your plants have these pests, you can safely buy Phytoseiulus persimilis at a gardening store and plant them in your soil. Predatory mites are 0.5 mm in size and live about 35 days in their mature form. This type of mite will not survive in a cold region, and if there are no spider mites left in your garden, they will simply starve to death.

Hemitarsonemus latus

Hemitarsonemus latus
Photo from @frank.ashwood

Hemitarsonemus latus or cycle mite is a pest. It is especially fond of devouring cyclamen, where its name comes from. It also affects gerbera, chrysanthemum, dahlia, azalea, begonia, narcissus and other flowers. In appearance, the mite is 0.15 to 0.3 mm in size, which is very small to see it in detail. The body of the mite is whitish-yellow in color. They reproduce every three weeks by laying eggs

It therefore spreads rapidly. A mixture of Celtan 0.2/0.3% + Antio 0.3% + Galekron 0.1/0.2% will help to get rid of them. This mixture should be sprayed on your flowers and the soil under them. Horticultural stores also have already mixed insecticides that are effective against such mites.

Effective methods of controlling harmful soil mites

  1. Organic pesticide from cinnamon solution, will not harm the plant itself and the soil, because it is harmless to them. You need to mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in 200 ml of water and treat the entire plant and the soil around it. Repeat after 8 weeks;
  2. Insecticidal soap is a very convenient and not too harmful method of controlling mites. Such soap can contain different elements, where there may be vegetable, wood, nut oil. It is mixed with water in the volume of 200 ml and treated the soil and the plant;
  3. Diatomaceous earth – special small elements of diamites, which are very sharp, are added to the composition of such earth. It is something like a white powder, which cuts the delicate parts of the body of mites and other pests, not allowing to get to the plant

Are soil mites harmful to humans?

For the most part, soil mites are harmless to humans and plants. They are very beneficial to the decomposition process that plants and humans rely on. They can become a nuisance if they begin living in indoor potted containers or crawl around porches and patios.

Are soil mites harmful to humans?
Photo from @dude_the_ganja_cat
Nicolas Wayne

Gardening and lawn care enthusiast

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