Summer is an active time for bugs, some of which can be pests. One such pest is the spider mite, which thrive when it’s hot and dry. They puncture the plant leaves and suck the juice out leaving little white or yellow speckles. These tiny bugs (but not technically insects or spiders), can be hard to see.
Be on the lookout. Catching an infestation early makes it easier to address the problem. Regularly walk through your yard looking for signs of damage. When there is a severe infestation, webbing is visible. Shake the infected foliage over a white piece of paper and look for the tiny crawling mites.
Spray spider mites with a stream of water to dislodge them off the plant. You'll have to be persistent and do this at a minimum of once a week. Be sure to spray under the leaves.
If that doesn’t work, try using an insecticidal soap. It doesn’t poison the bugs but simply dries them out, so the spray needs to actually contact the insect. Once dried, the remaining soapy residue is not harmful to any other insects.
Article by Denise Delaney, Grow Green Program, Watershed Protection Department