How To Deal With Spider Mites

All too frequently, your plant will experience scale, fungus, and an infestation of bugs. Unfortunately, they are all included in the package of growing bonsai.

In this article, we’ll be tackling one of the most destructive insects in bonsai horticulture: spider mites.

Read on to learn more!

Bonsai and Spiders

Your bonsai leaves may get distressed or afflicted with pests and illnesses if they stop growing like they once did. But because there are more than a hundred different kinds of pests, it might be difficult to pinpoint which one is attacking your tree.

Do bonsai trees really attract spiders? 

In order to safeguard your plant from pest infestation, we will make a concerted effort to minimize your work. 

Let’s check out how.

Are Spiders Attracted to Bonsai Trees?

Yes, the bonsai trees with the most leaves will commonly have spiders and have small yellow spots. These leaf patches and holes are primarily caused by spider mites.

You may completely get rid of spider mites with the use of detailed knowledge about their entire lifecycle, identification symptoms, attractive factors, possible treatments, and prevention tips. All of these are listed below.

What Are Spider Mites?

Among the mite species, spider mites are despised as pests. Often causing irreparable damage to the plants, they feed on a number of different species of plants, usually on the leaves.

As a precautionary measure, spider mites, which are reddish brown in appearance, frequently construct silky webs, often encasing the plants they live on.

Female spider mites can lay up to 20 eggs every day, and their lifespan is usually between two and four weeks. Spider mites typically hatch in three days and reach sexual maturity in five.

Life Cycle of Spider Mites

The spider mites five-stage life cycle begins with ovulation and ends with the adult stage. The two nymphal stages of this pest, protonymph and deutonymph, occur between the larval stage and the pupal stage. It just needs 5–20 days to reach its adult stage if it can grow from its first stage at a temperature that is appropriate (about 80°F).

How Can I Tell If My Bonsai Has Spider Mites?

The body of the spider mites is oval in shape, with a circular outer rear. It has an almost-black appearance and might appear pale yellow, orange, brown, green, or sober.

Because spider mites are so small, you’ll need to have a microscope or magnifying lens to spot them in the plant. But what if you have neither a microscope nor a magnifying glass at hand?

Nothing! We’ll be sharing a fascinating method for identifying spider mites without the use of any special tools.


Simply place a long piece of white paper beneath the branch of your tree with the yellow-spotted leaves. Take a leaf and lightly flick it with your finger. The mites will fall to the paper as soon as you flick the leaf, and because of their striking color, you will notice them right away.

Why Do Spiders Attract Bonsai Trees?

Every time you attempt to solve a problem, you must first understand what caused it. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of being misled and using the incorrect method of solving it. In that case, the condition would be like a backfire and would be detrimental to your plant.

According to a study, this insect grows 2.5 times more quickly at a temperature of 40°C (104°F). It will also grow slowly if the temperature is below 15°C (59°F) or cold. This indicates that one of the main factors attracting spider mites is temperature.

Another important factor is the condition of your plant’s soil. Spider mites are attracted to the soil in bonsai that is wet from over watering.

And lastly, the spider is also thriving because of the warmer and drier weather.

Treatment for Spider Mites

If the bonsai attracts spiders, you can use a variety of techniques to keep it alive. Let’s see what we have for you.

Use a DIY Solution

To prepare a DIY spray to kill spider mites, combine 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 13 ounces of warm water. Spray the mixture over the leaves after thoroughly combining the ingredients by shaking the bottle. 

Applying this combination will cause the soap to stick to the leaves, suffocating the spider and killing them.

Apply Neem Oil

One of the greatest treatments to eliminate all spider mites and finally save your tree is neem, also known by its scientific name Azadirachta indica. Neem oil can be used to get rid of spider mites as well as moth larvae, whiteflies, ticks, and Japanese beetles. It is safe to use and you have nothing to worry about because the EPA has approved of it as well.

Using Neem Oil

Neem oil comes in gallons and is available online or in your local nursery. To create a solution, mix a few drops of neem oil with a cup of water. After that, dip a cotton ball in the solution and clean the afflicted bonsai leaves with it.

However, it would be best if you read the manufacturer’s directions on the gallon label to know the precise steps to take when using it.

The oil will eliminate the spider mites after application. Once you notice the result, you should either wash the dead mites off the leaves with running water or scrape them with a sponge.

When Should I Use Neem Oil?

Neem oil application must be done after sunset since using it when your tree receives direct sunlight can cause the oil to react with the sunlight, overheating the plant. Your bonsai is at risk if it happens.

Bring in Ladybugs

Thankfully, not all insects are destructive to your tree. Because they consume spider mites, ladybugs are among the most helpful insects. To reduce the number of spider mites, you can release some ladybugs into the bonsai.

Make Use of Insecticides or Pesticides

Finally, we arrive at the nuclear option!

Even though some of you may worry about harming your plants with pesticides or insecticides, the truth is that this is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to deal with bug and pest invasions on your bonsai.

Spider mites breed incredibly quickly, with one female being able to lay about 20 eggs per day, as mentioned earlier, so you might want to stop using this method if you discover that you often encounter them.

This could indicate that the mites can swiftly adapt to their surroundings, making some insecticides ineffective if applied too regularly.

A Few Tips on How to Keep Spiders Away from Bonsai Trees

  • Your bonsai should always be kept in a healthy environment. To take care of it, you can stick to a daily and weekly routine calendar. 
  • Action should be taken as soon as you realize the spider mites are attracted to your tree for you to be able to slow down the growth of their population.  
  • Learn about the different kinds of beneficial and dangerous insects that might affect bonsai so you can immediately identify them and administer the appropriate treatments.

Final Thoughts

For good reason, spider mites are among the most difficult pests that bonsai owners must deal with. The progress you’ve made with your tree will be effectively undone if you let these pests go untouched.

The good news is that you can get rid of spider mites from your bonsai using the variety of methods we have given you! 

Are you new to the fascinating world of bonsai? 

Great! Our website can help you provide all the things you need, from pots to humidity/ drip trays to even the bonsai itself. Start your bonsai journey with us!