Can spider mites live without plants? Not really. Spider mites have a very short life span which means they immediately have to find food sources once they are hatched. Without plants, they would struggle to live beyond 7 days.
Basic Information about Spider Mites
The life of a spider mite can be looked at in two ways: the life cycle and the lifecycle. The lifecycle is described as the time it takes for an egg to become an adult (egg, larva, nymph, and adult). It can be as short as a few days or up to two weeks. Most spider mite species have four stages, but some species have five stages.
The life cycle is described as the time from one generation to the next. This includes all stages of development from eggs through adults and can take from one week to several months depending on the temperature and humidity.
Spider mites are not technically insects, but rather arachnids like spiders and ticks. Although they are very small and difficult to see with the naked eye, they are one of the most common pests to infest houseplants. They feed on the fluids inside plant cells. As they feed, they cause yellow stippling or bronzing of the foliage.
Small webbing may be present on infested leaves and stems. They can multiply rapidly in warm, dry environments. They spread easily by wind, animals and humans so it is important to treat an infestation as soon as possible!
Where do spider mites live?
Spider mites need plants to survive. Most spider mites live on the undersides of leaves of plants, where they may spin protective silk webs, and they can cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed. Spider mites are known to feed on several hundred species of plants. Some spider mites feed on several different plant species, while others are more specific in their choice of food plant.
For example, one common mite, the carmine spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus), is polyphagous and feeds on many different species of plants, including important agricultural crops such as cotton, citrus fruits, and coffee.
The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) feeds primarily on plants in the family Fabaceae (which includes beans and soybeans), Solanaceae (which includes tomatoes and peppers), as well as various fruits and vegetables. Other spider mites have more limited host ranges and feed only on plants in certain families or even only one species.
Spider mites need plants to survive because they eat plant matter. They eat the leaves, leaving them with holes and turning them yellow, orange or brown. Some species are more destructive than others and leave behind more damage. Spider mites also feed on the stems which can lead to the plants dying.
Spider mite eggs are slightly oval in shape, have a flat base, and are usually laid on the underside of leaves. Young spider mites are nearly white and turn yellow, orange or red as they mature. Adult spider mites, which are red to yellowish in color.
Without plants, spider mites will not survive for long because they feed on plants. They will eventually die from starvation within 10-14 days.
Once a female has laid her eggs, she will die within a week or two. The eggs hatch within three days into six-legged larvae that feed on the plant’s sap for about three days as well. After this period of time is over, these larvae begin to spin their webs to protect themselves from predators while they grow into adults. An adult female spider mite can lay up to 20 eggs per day if the weather is warm enough.
Their eggs take 7-10 days to hatch.
Can spider mites live without plants?
Spider mites can be found in a wide variety of locations. They are especially likely to be found in dry, warm environments such as greenhouses. Spider mites are tiny creatures that live on plants. They have a very small size and can be seen only under a microscope.
They live in the soil, where they feed on roots and other insects, but many species prefer to live in the air. These mites are found in all climates, from dry deserts to humid tropical forests.
In the wild, spider mites can be found on leaves of trees and shrubs, but also on plants such as lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes. They are most commonly seen in greenhouses or gardens where there is plenty of plant material available for them to feed on.
Mites can also leave their host plants and invade homes. If a home is located near heavily infested plants, these mites can be brought into the home on clothing or shoes and may be seen wandering around on furniture, walls or floors. Generally, spider mite eggs can survive for several months without a host plant but once the eggs hatch the spider mites will quickly die.
There are several species of spider mites that live indoors, including the common house dust mite and the red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). Both species feed on dead skin cells and hair shed by humans or animals living in houses or apartments.
The red spider mite has been reported to cause an allergic reaction when it bites people while they sleep. They may also bite pets if they come into contact with their bodies during grooming or bathing.
Some people assume that because these small pests do not bite humans or animals directly, they cannot spread disease through their saliva; however, this is not true! Spider mites produce a toxic saliva.
How to prevent and get rid of spider mite infestations on plants
Spider mites don’t like cold weather above 32 degrees. They’ll die if your home gets too hot. If spider mites have no water, they will die.
You can remove the top layer of dead leaves if the plant has been badly damaged by the mites and replace the layer with sand or a dried piece of cloth.
You can clean your houseplants by soaking them in soapy water and then scrubbing with a toothbrush before washing them down, then rinsing and drying them.
Sanitizing plants may kill spider mites on contact without damaging the plant itself. Spider mites need plants to survive, so you can use this fact to your advantage when setting up a defence against them.