Can Spider mites live on humans? No. Humans are not their preferred hosts. They spread to humans by being carried on clothing or equipment that people come into contact with. If you have an infestation of houseplants, spider mites can move from the plants to your clothing.
With proper houseplant care, the spider mites will likely die off after a few days of not feeding. If you’re concerned about the pest moving back to your plants, throw away your clothes and shower thoroughly before doing any houseplant care.
Spider mites are tiny, but they can wreak havoc on plants. They are also among the most common pests in home gardens and landscapes. Female mites lay eggs everywhere, and these hatch into microscopic larvae that invade plant leaves. The larvae feed on plant tissue and leave behind a web of webbing in the leaves.
In some cases, spider mites are invisible to the naked eye. But if you’re looking for them, you might spot them by their tiny legs sticking out of the leaf. These look like short hairs; they’re not hairs (they’re fine tubes called trichothecene), but they do stick out enough to be noticeable.
Spider mites thrive in warm temperatures and will move to cooler areas when temps drop too low or winter approaches. They can also travel indoors, so if you see spider mites on your indoor plants, it’s a sign that there are outdoor ones nearby as well.
Spider mites can be a real pain when they infest your plants. They’re small enough to enter the smallest of cracks, so it can be hard to find them if you don’t know what to look for.
Can spider mites live on humans?
Mites adapted to human habitats are usually encountered where food crumbs are present – kitchens, pantries, etc., and they generally feed on fungi and other microscopic organisms growing on the surface of crumbs.
Infected humans may experience itching, burning sensation, or rashes, which can become itchy and irritated. If left untreated, spider mites could also cause infections in the skin.
If you’re experiencing problems with your body’s immune system, you might experience more severe symptoms. These include:
- Rash on the face or forehead
- Swelling of the eyelids, lips, or tongue
- Hair loss (alopecia) or dry brittle hair
These symptoms are often associated with allergies of some kind — specifically an allergic reaction to the mite itself or a related insect like a bee or wasp.
Many types of spider mites live in many different environments. However, their common characteristic is that they love to feed on the pollen and nectar of flowers, so these tiny critters can be found in any place where flowers grow.
Each type of spider mite feeds differently, and there are even different types that are specific to certain kinds of plants or other hosts. The ones that cause problems for humans tend to leave a sticky residue called honeydew on the leaves. You can find these in plant pots or containers as well as on flowers and other host plants. If you see honeydew on your plants, get rid of the infested plant and treat the area with an organic insecticide to kill off the spider mites.
Because they are so small, they can be incredibly hard to spot with the naked eye. You will have to look closely at your plants under a magnifier such as a jeweler’s loupe to see them.
Once you’ve spotted them, there are several ways to control them. As soon as you see them, grab a hoe and remove them from the plant’s immediate area (don’t bring them indoors!).
Luckily, spider mites are pretty easy to get rid of once you know what they look like — and how they reproduce. You can also protect yourself from their spread by following some simple tips:
Control your watering
Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions, so consider giving your plants a chance to dry out before watering again. If you live in an area with cold winters, that’s even more important.
Keep your garden clean
Some spider mites are microscopic and undetectable without magnification, which is why you need to be thoroughly clean your garden (including under and around plants) every few weeks. Wash all soil off the leaves of your plants. That way the minute they do find a crack they can get into, they can’t start reproducing before you notice them.
Look for webs
These tiny webs aren’t always visible to the naked eye — but they’re often made by spider mites.
For indoor plants, pesticides work well for killing adult spider mites and eggs. They can be either contact insecticides that kill on contact or systemic insecticides that are absorbed into the plant and kill from the inside out. Be sure to read the label carefully before applying any pesticide because some products can damage certain types of plants if used incorrectly.
Most of the time, you can just brush off the pests or use a standard insecticidal soap. If you suspect infestation but aren’t sure, take a sample to your local nursery and ask what they recommend. As an alternative to spraying, there are also natural controls like neem oil and pyrethrins that work well on spider mites and other pests (you can even make your own).
Use a strong blast of water from a hose or sprinkler to wash them off the plant.
Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid into one quart of water; pour that into an empty spray bottle; shake well, and use it to wash the plant with. (Dishwashing liquid will kill any insects that might be living in the soil.)
Pour a solution of 1 tbsp household bleach in 1-quart water; mix well; and soak the affected plants in it for 10 minutes or more.
So, can spider mites live on humans? No. Spider mites are not known to infest homes, but they can develop large populations on houseplants. These pests are very small and often go unnoticed unless an infestation is large. When spider mites feed, they cause stippling or speckling of the foliage.
If you’re having a problem with plants in your home or greenhouse, chances are that they will get to you through your clothing. Spider mites can cause skin irritation and inflammation. If you have spider mites on your skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help prevent the mites from spreading to other areas of your body. You can also use a pesticide designed specifically for spiders to eradicate spider mites.