Revenge of the Predatory Mites
A few months ago I was away on vacation and came home to a major spider mite infestation on my houseplants. The normal sprays and fastidious wiping wasn’t working, so I decided to try predatory mites. At first, I wasn’t sure it worked. But now that it’s been a few months with no sign of a relapse, I’m ready to say it: predatory mites work!
I purchased a small amount of Neoseiulus californicus from Amazon, but they’re widely available online and in some garden shops. They arrive in a small shaker. The mites are too small to see, so they’re interspersed in a fine sand.
Application was easy. I did it at night, as per the instructions. I just walked around the house with the shaker and a mister bottle filled with water. Every plant got a mist of water and then a tap of the shaker on to the leaves. That’s it. You can clean up the sand after a day or two, when the mites have moved on to the plant.
The predatory mites only eat other mites, not plants, so they’re no danger to you or your plants. And they don’t spin webs, so they don’t leave a trace like the spider mites. They’ll eat the spider mites, and when there are no more of them, they’ll eat each other. Eventually, there are no more mites.
My only caveat is that it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, when I first wrote about them, I hadn’t given them enough time and was still unconvinced. But it’s now been months since the application and I can honestly say that there’s no evidence of a single spider mite in the house. I’m a believer.