Keeping a compost bin might be the best natural way to fertilise your plants, but they hide a secret that may cause a nuisance to you and your lovely garden. If you notice white spots walking around on your compost, along with the soil, and on the edges of your plant container, there is a high possibility that soil mites have already infested the soil.
In this article, we will briefly talk about soil mites and give you a detailed outline of how you can get rid of these annoying mites fast.
Soil Mites- what are they?
Soil mites can travel from seemingly secure indoor plants to your beautiful outdoor spaces. These mites make their home mostly in compost heaps or potting soil as they are scavengers that eat fungi, tiny dead insects, algae, dead plants, and tiny live worms. These are mostly found on top of potting soil and in compost since they are naturally drawn to organic decaying matter like moss, mould, or leaves.
But, soil mites might pose a nuisance as they are an unattractive sight to see on your potted plants or garden.
If you have indoor plants, some soil mites can make their way inside your home and begin to seek shelter in potted containers and crawl around the house or patio. These critters can pose a health hazard to humans as they have been found out to carry parasites like tapeworms. There is no study found that soil mites bite or attack humans; however, it is better to be safe than sorry.
As they are drawn to decaying organic matter, you can choose to leave them alone as they will find another home once they have run out of anything to eat. If you are concerned about the minimal health threat, take a look at how you can keep them at bay or get rid of them fast and for good!
How to get rid of Soil Mites
The mites love feasting on decaying leaves, moss, and mould. You can even attract these mites when you have leaves stuck in your gutters or the roof. Keep your roof and gutters clean if you want to keep your home soil mite free. Here are the steps to do away with these mites:
Remove old dirt
Check the soil and sift out any decaying material on the top of it. Soil mites love to have access to their food so you can take out the top part and replace it with fresh topsoil. Always use quality topsoil when replacing old or contaminated soil. When you are taking out the plants from the pot make sure to be gentle to avoid damaging the roots. They can easily be damaged and might kill your plant.
Once you have taken all of the soil out from the pot, sift through to check and take out any food for the mites. Do this outdoors as certain types of soil mites can travel fast and hide in cracks and crevases in your home.
Re-pot your plants with fresh soil
After you have inspected the soil, you can now start to re-pot your plants carefully. You can use the old soil, but new, sterile soil is better if you have it readily available.
Get rid of dead leaves on the plants as they may fall off soon and provide a new habitat for soil mites. Remove old soil to make sure that there would be no more soil mites or their larvae attached to the plant.
Spray the soil and plants
Even after sifting through the soil, you need to ensure that the soil is no longer conducive for the mites and prevent them from coming back. You can either use do-it-yourself organic sprays or use chemical insecticides with pyrethrins. Here are some organic sprays you can safely mix at home:
- Cinnamon Solution
Dilute 1 tsp. of cinnamon to 4 cups water and leave the solution for the cinnamon to settle. You can then pour the solution on the soil to kill soil mites and bugs attracted to decaying plants.
- Garlic Spray
Leave 3 to 4 cloves in one gallon of water for at least three to four days. Dilute this solution with pure water then spray it directly on to the soil and the base of your plants.
- Mix dish soap with starch
You will need 3 drops of dish soap and 4 tablespoons of starch mixed together with 5 cups pure water. Like the garlic spray, you spray it directly on to the soil and the base but you will need to rinse off any part of your plant that may get sprayed with the solution.
Maintain your garden
Your outdoor garden may need some tending if soil mites are present. It is important to maintain it to keep soil mites off your potted plants and your garden. Rake the fallen leaves off your garden to avoid them decaying on the grass. You would be surprised how lovely your garden can look when clean. If you are maintaining a compost pile, you can expect soil mites to be present but at least they are secluded in one space of your garden. Before you even think about repotting your plants, a simple spray might be able to do the trick in keeping soil mites off.
Soil Mites – Gone for good!
Keeping your garden free of decaying leaves, moss and moulds will take some effort. However, you won’t need to do this every day. Regular checks and keeping the leaves in one compost pile should keep soil mites in only one area of your garden.
Make sure you occasionally spray the soil to control soil mites from ever infesting your garden or the potted plants you have inside your home. Keep those gutters clean if you have a tree near your house, it will save you money from getting a clogged gutter too!