Soil mites, in small doses, are okay. However, you can’t just leave them alone or they will multiply a lot. Let’s take a look at how to get rid of soil mites.
What Are Soil Mites?
Mites are small arachnids. They are similar to ticks and spiders.
Soil mites are the mites that live in the soil. They are very tiny.
They are only a few millimeters long. They say that when you measure a mite-infested soil, 100 grams would be enough to contain as many as 500 mites.
They are so small you could not see them at a glance. But if you concentrate, then you’ll probably notice really small dots roaming around.
Most mites are white or brown. Some are also red.
Let’s get into specifics
There are four major types of soil mites:
The Oribatei, better known as oribatid, is the most common one you see in the soil. They are also known as turtle mites because they have a large shell that looks like that of a turtle.
This species is really small, just barely a millimeter long. You will need a microscope to actually see the oribatid.
These mites reproduce really slowly. They also live really long, so you can’t expect their population to dwindle.
They can also be found in lichen or moss.
On the other hand
The Astigmata or astigmatid mites are regularly found in nitrogen-rich soils.
Anyway, they are really hard to identify since they are so small.
Benefits of soil mites
It’s hard to fathom that mites actually have some benefits. When it comes to soil mites, they are not actually that bad.
In fact, they have a role in the whole process of decomposition. They help break down organic matter during its decaying process.
Organic matter like fallen leaves, algae, fungus, and other natural substances will decompose eventually. It may take some time though.
But with the soil mites, the process could be hastened.
Then there are others
There are also predatory arthropods in the soil. These mites are also beneficial because they eat harmful bacteria and nematodes that live in the soil.
When they die, they just decompose and just become an added benefit to the soil.
Mites are not harmful. You don’t actually need to get rid of them.
However, when they actually become visible, you should be worried already. That means you already have a soil mite infestation.
By this time
You should definitely look at ways to get rid of the soil mites.
How to Get Rid of Soil Mites
Soil mites are technically harmless, both to the soil and to the plants. However, if there is an infestation, they are surely a bother.
They are particularly annoying in an indoor garden. They could be walking into your pot and around it.
They are just really unattractive.
Here are the steps to getting rid of soil mites:
1. Filter the soil
More often, the mites are present in your garden because there is food there. Soil mites feed on decaying leaves, peat moss, and mold.
So, the logical thing to do is to filter the soil.
Now, here’s the thing
This is an easy thing to do when you have potted plants. The soil is easy to filter.
It’s not that easy when you are dealing with an entire garden. But it’s also not as difficult as you think.
It’s like this
The soil mites are really just roaming at the top. This means that you only need to filter the topsoil.
You only need to take a couple of inches of the topsoil and then filter it. You have to slowly remove the soil so that you won’t damage the plants and their roots.
Why do this?
The purpose of the filtration process is to remove the decaying matter that the mites are actually eating.
If you don’t have food in your soil, then the mites will not stay. They will look for other areas where they can have food.
2. Sterilize the soil
This is the process of removing or killing biological agents present in the soil. This is usually done because of the presence of pathogens in the soil that could harm the plants.
You could also do this when soil mites are becoming a problem.
There are three ways to sterilize the soil:
- Baking in the oven
- Heating in the microwave
Know more about sterilizing soil here.
3. Return the soil
If you have an indoor garden, then you can repot using the fertilized and sterilized soil.
For the garden soil, just return it where you got it.
Since you are returning the soil
You should at least try to prevent soil mite infestation again. Check out your garden plants and remove dead leaves that are still attached.
Eventually, these dead leaves will fall off, decompose, and will again become food for the mites.
4. Spray the soil with solution
You want to make sure that the soil will no longer be a place that soil mites want to stay in. There are organic sprays that you can make yourself and there are also chemical ones that you can purchase.
Some of the organic solutions are actually really easy to make. You can also use the spray any time the mites come back.
5. Take care of the plants
Just look after your plants to ensure that the mites will not come back.
Always rake and dispose of fallen leaves in your garden or lawn.
Soil mites are not that terrible. They are not dangerous. In fact, they are actually quite beneficial since they could help in the decomposition of organic matter, which would then become food for the soil and plants.
However, when you experience a mite infestation, these soil mites could be really annoying. So, you need to get rid of them.
How to get rid of soil mites? There are five simple steps that you can do to remove the soil mites and to make sure they don’t return.