How to Get Rid of Soil Mites | 2021 Guide - LawnCARE (2023)

Growing plants and flowers in the apartment seemed like too much work, and we didn’t have time for that. But then COVID 19 hit us. Like many others worldwide, we couldn’t leave home except to go shopping for groceries, etc. And we began to work remotely.Suddenly, nature was waking up outside, and we were stuck at home without any chance to enjoy it. That is when we decided to start growing plants at home!

Our initial enthusiasm was interrupted shortly after we began, though! By what? By the appearance of tiny white bugs in soil! Okay, now we know that it’s not a catastrophe when they appear and that it is not hard to get rid of them! But being beginner gardeners, it is little to say that we freaked out, convinced that little white bugs in soil will eat all of our flowers and destroy our efforts. So we immediately called a botanist, who, after hearing the explanation, said that our plants had soil mites! However, he also shared with us how to get rid of soil mites, and after consultation both with him, and our own experience and investigation, we now wish to protect your little green corner, from these nasty mites in soil.

What Are Soil Mites?

So what are these bugs? And more importantly, are soil mites harmful to plants? Well, these insects fall under the category of arthropods, the same as spiders and ticks. The most common type of soil mites is called Oribatida, and their usual hosts are rabbits. As you can guess, the natural habitat of these little whilte bugs in soil. However, they particularly love moist soil. Now, why are they in your flower pots? Well, it’s simple – they are drawn by all the decay organic matter that is hiding in there, since they regard it as a delicious treat. It is necessary to say that soil mites identification by the naked eye is super tricky as they are little. But if you watch your plants very closely, you might notice tiny white spots that move around the flower pot or on the leaves.

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What Harm Soil Mites Can Do to Outdoor Plants?

Are soil mites considered as a friend or a foe, then? When it comes to outdoor plants, it is essential to know that mites don’t cause harm. They are actually more friend than enemy to both plants and the soil. That is because they contribute to the decomposition of organic matter, which allows plants to absorb nutrients effortlessly.Other than that, they also help aeration of the soil. So, even if you notice soil mites outside, there is no need to destroy them.

Are Soil Mites Harmful to Houseplants?

In short, no, they are not harmful to houseplants either. Okay, so then why are we talking about how to kill soil mites, then? Although they are beneficial for plants, they can actually be harmful to humans. And that is why learning how to get rid of soil mites in houseplants is so important.

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Can Soil Mites Be Harmful to People?

Yes, and that is the biggest problem with soil mites. On their own, they shouldn’t pose any problem for your plants. However, they are known carriers of bacteria that can make people sick. That is because these white bugs in soil host and carry the tapeworm eggs. And it’s safe to say that these are very dangerous. So no matter how beneficial these bugs are, they are still a threat, and you need to understand how to get rid of soil mites.

Soil Mites vs. Spider Mites: What Are the Differences?

The reason why we freaked when we saw mites is that we confused them with spider mites. We are not the only ones, though. As our friend, the botanist told us, most people have a similar reaction when they see something moving in their flower pots. That is why we are going to explain the difference.

So, as we mentioned, soil mites are small, and you can barely see them with a naked eye. They are arthropods. Plus, mites in soil like moist environments, and they are beneficial for plants.

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Spider mites are another story. They are little eight-legged creatures that fall under the category of arachnids, which makes them relatives of spiders and ticks. Hence the “spider” in the name.Although tiny, they are still bigger than soil mites. Adults are usually green or yellow. And they can cause quite a lot of damage to both indoor and outdoor plants, unless you know how to get rid of them. And that can be an issue. The biggest problem with controlling the infestation is their rate of reproduction. That is because females lay around 12 eggs per day. That means that if you don’t react immediately after spotting them, you will have thousands of spider mites attacking your plants in just a couple of months.So in case you noticed them, you should immediately get informed on how to get rid of spider mites in soil, to protect your green corner.

Soil Mites Overall Benefits and Dangers

• Feed on fungi, dead organic matter, etc.
• Help the plants reach the nutrients
• Aerate the soil
• Carry bacteria that can be harmful to people
• Carry the tapeworm eggs

Getting Rid of Soil Mites

Remove Old Dirt

If some members of your family or friends have houseplants, you probably saw them taking the soil out of flower pots and then putting it back! And you probably wondered why they are doing it, right? Now you understand that they didn’t do this out of boredom. They were doing it to remove old dirt and possibly even get rid of mites. So whenever you notice some decay in the flower pot, you should filter it.However, if you are taking the plant out, do make sure not to damage the root!

Repot Plants with Fresh Soil

Take time to check the soil and report your plants – that is one of the best ways how to get rid of soil mites in house plants, as well as to prevent them. Thus, make sure to take out everything that has nothing to do with a flower pot, including the dead leaves, as they can provide a cozy home for soil mites. Once done, fill the flower pot with fresh, clean soil.

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Spray the Soil and Plants

If you are still not sure that you destroyed all the mites, you can spray the soil and plants with pesticides. There are plenty of natural, homemade pesticides that you can use, such as cinnamon solution or garlic-based spray. If these don’t work, you can also use industrial pesticides. Spraying the plants with herbicide is also necessary when looking for how to get rid of weeds.

Look for Plants That Grow Hydroponically

Since soil mites are harmful to us and not to plants, the most important is to make sure that they don’t enter the house.If there is soil in the house, there is a risk that the soil mites will appear. But if you opt to grow plants that grow in liquid with nutrients, then the problem is solved.


Many people panic because they are unaware these little creatures that crawl in flower pots bring plenty of benefits to plants. However, as you could see, they are harmful to us. That is why it is crucial to know how to get rid of soil mites.

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And we sincerely hope that our little investigation will help you get rid of these tiny white bugs in soil too.

So, have you ever seen one of these mites in soil? Or even got rid of them? If so, do you have some tips for how to kill soil mites? Then feel free to share your tips in the comments, to help more people that face the same little bugs in soil problem.


How do you treat soil mites? ›

How to Get Rid of Soil Mites (If You Must)
  1. Be sure the mites are present. ...
  2. The simplest way to get rid of them is to repot your plant in new, high-quality potting soil.
  3. Remove the plant and dispose of the soil. ...
  4. Clean the pot thoroughly, removing any soil residue which might be harboring mites.
20 Sept 2022

Why do I keep getting soil mites? ›

Soil Mites are often present in continually moist compost or when situated in darker areas of the house with little natural light. They can also be brought into the home by contaminated outdoor compost and will stay localised to the specific pot they're infesting.

How long do mites live in soil? ›

Soil mites are usually brown or white in color, and measure around a millimeter in length. They have a surprisingly long lifespan and can live for up to seven years, although most will only survive for around three to four. Soil mites are the most abundantly found organisms in soil.

Are soil mites OK? ›

Don't get rid of them. They are extremely and importantly beneficial to the soil in the decomposition process, the environment, and all living things. These mites in the soil break down animal and plant residue and consume bacteria and fungi in the soil. They also eat harmful soil-dwelling creatures.

What is the fastest way to get rid of soil mites? ›

One of the natural ways to kill mites in the soil is by spraying the mixture of dish wash soap and starch. Mix three drops of dish wash soap and three to four tablespoons of starch in five cups of water. After that, spatter the mixture on the soil to eliminate the mites.

Are soil mites harmful to dogs? ›

The dog's immune system normally controls the number of mites so that they cause no harm. Dogs can develop signs of disease (known as demodectic mange) if their immune system is unable to control the mite population. This most commonly occurs in young or malnourished dogs.

How does cinnamon get rid of soil mites? ›

Fill a container with water, add the cinnamon, and shake the spray bottle until the cinnamon dissolves. If the plants are heavily infested with mites, consider adding a couple of drops of dish soap. Spray the mite killer solution into the soil around the bottom of the plant to soak the top layer of dirt.

How do you stop a mite infestation? ›

How to get rid of dust mites
  1. Using a dehumidifier to ensure that the humidity levels in the room are at or below 50%
  2. Use allergen-impermeable pillowcases and bedsheets to add another layer of protection.
  3. Wash all bedding and blankets once a week on a hot cycle.

Will hydrogen peroxide hurt plants? ›

This extra oxygen (H2O2) gives hydrogen peroxide its beneficial properties. So, the answer to the question, “Does hydrogen peroxide hurt plants?” is a resolute no, provided the strength is sufficiently diluted. You can purchase hydrogen peroxide in various potencies.

Can soil mites bite humans? ›

Though they do not bite or cause health-related problems, clover mites can be a nuisance. If smashed when they crawl over carpets and drapery, the mites leave a red stain. Clover mites can be red, green or brown, and have front legs that are about twice as long as their other legs.

Can you drown soil mites? ›

You Can Indeed Drown Spider Mites

Spider mites can be easily washed away using water, and you're going to be able to use this to your advantage. If your plant only has a few spider mites, then just spraying the leaves might be enough to get rid of them.

Do soil mites jump? ›

If this insect is disturbed, it releases its furcula, causing it to be hurled through the air. Aptly named "springtails" these insects can jump as far as 10 centimeters. Typically they live inside moist soil where they eat mold and fungus.

How can you tell the difference between spider mites and soil mites? ›

Soil mites don't usually damage plants, according to Washington State University, and they aren't usually seen on houseplants. Instead of white, they're usually red. If you see mites on your houseplants, you're likely seeing spider mites. Spider mites are tiny pests that are actually related to spiders.

What kills mites in the yard? ›

Spider mites are a soft bodied insects that are very susceptible to many non-toxic controls like insecticidal soaps or even just water. The best organic lawn mite treatment is an insecticidal oil called Ecotrol.

How does hydrogen peroxide get rid of soil mites? ›

To eliminate insect pests, mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with two parts of water and spray the foliage and stems daily for one week. Then, reduce the treatment to once per week. To use it as a fungicide spray, mix 4 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 pint of water.

What temp kills soil mites? ›

These findings suggest that we may be able to eradicate the mites of all stages using one hot air treatment at 57°C for six hours or two treatments at 51°C for three hours at a 10-day interval to kill all eggs in the first treatment and those laid by survived adults in the second.

What kills mites on dogs instantly? ›

An apple cider vinegar bath can help get rid of the mange mites. Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of Borax and warm water. Be sure the Borax is fully dissolved before sponging the mixture on your dog's skin and coat.

Can dogs pick up mites from grass? ›

Grass mites infest easily accessible areas of the dog's body in particular. This includes paws, head, legs, belly or ears. Grass mite bites can be recognised by the fact that the dog is very itchy, the skin reddens and inflammations and rashes may develop.

Can humans catch mites from dogs? ›

"Sarcoptic mange is a zoonotic disease or a disease transmissible from pets to people." These mites bury into the skin of healthy adult dogs and puppies, and feed on material in and on the skin. Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies and is zoonotic, which means it is a disease transmissible from pets to people.

Can you sprinkle cinnamon on soil? ›

When first planting or repotting houseplants and outdoor container plants, you can also mix cinnamon powder into the soil to help prevent mold and fungus from the start. In addition to helping ward of mold, the cinnamon has the added benefit of helping the roots of plants grow better as well.

Should I put cinnamon on my soil? ›

Cinnamon prevents damping-off disease

It occurs under cool, damp conditions. Dust cinnamon on the soil surface when the seeds are planted to prevent damping-off disease from killing your plants. Cinnamon is a good anti-fungal. It kills fungal spores in the soil and prevents them from infecting your plants.

Does neem oil get rid of soil mites? ›

Neem oil is superb when used as a preventative and very effective in eliminating infestations. The great news is that it targets major pests like spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, and fungus gnats. Neem oil also prevents fungal problems in the soil when applied as a soil drench!

Do mites just go away? ›

After you declutter, disinfect the area to kill the mites and keep them away. Unfortunately, mites will not vanish of their own volition. Sterifab spray is one of the best ways to get rid of them, and you can use it on almost any surface.

How long does mites take to go away? ›

Treatment can get rid of the mites, eliminate symptoms such as itch, and treat an infection that has developed. For the first few days to a week, the rash and itch can worsen during treatment. Within four weeks, your skin should heal. If your skin has not healed within 4 weeks, you may still have mites.

Do mites go away on their own? ›

Most types of mite bites clear up on their own, so you usually won't need medical attention. Over-the-counter pain medications and anti-itch creams can help relieve itching and pain. If you keep getting bites you can't identify, you may want to see a healthcare provider.

What does Epsom salt do for plants? ›

Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – helps seeds germinate, makes plants grow bushier, produces more flowers, increases chlorophyll production and deters pests, such as slugs and voles. It also provides vital nutrients to supplement your regular fertilizer.

How often can I water my plants with hydrogen peroxide? ›

Take 1 cup (240mL) of the level 35 hydrogen peroxide mixed with a gallon of water (4L) and drench a square meter (1m2/10 x 10ft) of soil. This solution helps the soil become resistant to fungal infections and can help boost the roots of your plants. Feel free to use this treatment once a season.

Can you spray straight hydrogen peroxide on plants? ›

The hydrogen peroxide solution can be sprayed or absorbed straight into the soil to help boost your plant's roots. Watering plants with hydrogen peroxide solution will introduce more oxygen into your soil.

Can mites live in your hair? ›

Demodex, a genus of tiny parasitic mites that live in or near hair follicles of mammals, are among the smallest of arthropods with two species Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis typically found on humans. Infestation with Demodex is common; prevalence in healthy adults varying between 23-100%.

How do you sterilize soil bugs? ›

Place the amount of soil that you want to sterilize into a bowl and then pour boiling water over it. Once the soil is moistened, you can then work it around with a spoon or other utensils. The hot water will kill the insects and their eggs in the soil and leave it fresh for planting.

How do you disinfect bugs from soil? ›

Steaming is considered one of the best ways to sterilize potting soil and should be done for at least 30 minutes or until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F. (82 C.). Steaming can be done with or without a pressure cooker.

What kills all bugs in soil? ›

How to Get Rid of Bugs in Garden Soil
  • Clean the Soil: It is very important to clean the soil of your garden regularly. ...
  • Limit the Soil Disturbance: You should not turn the soil regularly. ...
  • Using Compost: ...
  • Using Mulch: ...
  • Rotate Crops: ...
  • Plant Covering Crops: ...
  • Give Water on your Plants Every Day: ...
  • Monitor Your Garden:
9 Aug 2021

Will mites spread to other plants? ›

While some insect pests just cause cosmetic damage, spider mites can quickly obliterate your favourite houseplant or garden producer, and can easily spread to other plants.

Are soil mites aphids? ›

Root aphids should not be confused with soil mites including ticks and spiders. The easiest way to tell them apart is soil mites have eight legs, and root aphids have six. They prefer the roots near the soil surface. They are often found where the soil meets the stem of the plant.

What kills spider mite eggs in soil? ›

– Use Insecticidal Soap

Mix one teaspoon of insecticidal soap in one liter of water. A mild insecticidal solution will form as a result. Pour it directly on the soil along with spraying on the plant. Its weekly use will eliminate the eggs of spiders and spider mites by a great deal.

How do I control spider mites in my soil? ›

Keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. A good rule of thumb is to water your houseplants when the top half inch of soil is dry. Washing plant foliage using a soft cloth or a forceful spray of lukewarm water can help reduce the spider mite population if done repeatedly.

Do I need to treat soil for spider mites? ›

However, if you do notice spider mites in your soil, you'll need to take action to get rid of these soil mites. The best way to do this is to use an insecticide that's specifically designed to kill spider mites, such as neem oil. With the right treatment, you can get rid of these pests for good.

Can soil mites live on humans? ›

For the most part, soil mites are harmless to humans and plants. They are very beneficial to the decomposition process that plants and humans rely on. They can become a nuisance if they begin living in indoor potted containers or crawl around porches and patios.

Will cinnamon hurt plants? ›

Even with its strong smell, cinnamon will not cause any harm to the plants. In fact, not only will it not injure plants, its antibacterial qualities can also help to prevent mold or mildew from appearing on the soil surface as well, further protecting the plants.

Can I put neem oil directly on soil? ›

Use as soil drench: To prevent root rot, pour the solution on to the soil around the plant to soak completely. Repeat after 2 weeks. Use to maintain good plant health: Once a month spray all plants in your garden with the Neem Oil solution. This will help to repel any pests and ensure good health.

How often can I spray neem oil on soil? ›

Apply as a foliar spray and soil drench every 3 weeks for prevention or every week for infestations. Shake the bottle often while applying to keep the oil distributed throughout the mixture.

How long does neem oil last in soil? ›

The half-life of azadirachtin in soil ranges from 3 - 44 days. In water, the half-life ranges from 48 minutes to 4 days. It also rapidly breaks down on plant leaves; the half-life is 1 - 2.5 days. The remaining components of neem oil are broken down by microbes in most soil and water environments.


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