Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
It is nothing catastrophic if you take basic precautions. As the name suggests, wood mites are a rather harmless group of bugs that can be found in damp and old pieces of wood. They tend to bother us, humans, only if we own snakes or love cigars. But for the sake of hygiene, it is good to get rid of them. And the process is quite simple and does not require professionals.
The first step towards getting rid of these bugs is to identify them properly. If you get it wrong, you will end up wasting time and money in the process. These tiny white bugs are also called spider mites because they too have eight legs. They are classified as arachnids and share some common properties with ticks.
Wood mites come in different colors but the two-spotted spider mites are white in color. They are a tiny, translucent bug known to cling to damp or moisture-ridden wood.
The wood mite measures just about 0.5 mm which is 1/50th of an inch in their adult form. You can identify them thanks to the fine silken thread that they produce and leave behind. These webs look much like cobwebs and can often be found on plants.
Wood mites are harmless because neither do they cause any structural damage like termites nor do they bite like bed bugs. However, they are capable of spreading on furniture, carpets, curtains, and linens inside the house.
They are also capable of destroying plants if and when they find their way towards the garden. This is a real problem in spring when wood mites like to feed on plants. The aspect of harm comes from the long, airborne hair they shed rather frequently. These hairs are known to cause allergic reactions in some human beings.
Where and What to Look For
Looking for wood mites can be a difficult task since they are tiny in size. The best way to go about this is to look for them in the obvious areas like greenhouses, bushes, shrubs, gardens, and in-house plants, as well as anything that contains wood-based substrate.
Wood mites that are found indoors away from wood are typically ones that have wandered away from plants. It is best to follow their silken trail and see if they are concentrated somewhere building towards an infestation. Apart from plants, you must look along baseboards, behind electrical plating, near plumbing inside the house. Check the perimeter right outside the house to see the point they used to enter the house.
Since these wood mites are tiny bugs, you must look for leaf damage, webbing, or cast skins to identify spots where wood mites have been living. On plants, they look like a tiny white speck in motion.
How to Get Rid of Wood Mites
Once you have thoroughly inspected the indoors and outdoors to gain an understanding of their favorite spots, it is time to begin the treatment. Get some protective gear for yourself and your pets or children. Make sure the treated areas are untouched till they are dry.
Purchase an anti-mite remedy from your local gardening or home supply store this very effective mite killer which is a bifenthrin-based insecticide concentrate. It is capable of controlling 70 different pests including wood mites, cockroaches, termites, mold mites, dust mites, and fleas to name a few. Spray the insecticide inside and outside the house and it will take care of your white mites problem for the next 90 days.
You must start spraying the insecticide after calculating the square footage of the target area. That will give you a sense of how much insecticide you need. Mix the concentrate with a gallon of water in a hand pump sprayer or with a paintbrush. The recommended mix is 0.33 to 1 fluid ounce in one gallon of water for 1,000 square feet.
If you want to make sure that the concentrate sticks better, you can mix it with a surfactant like Alligare 90 Wetting Agent. Shake the hand pump well so that the water and insecticide concentrate mix well before using the sprayer a few times at low pressure.
Be sure to spray at entry points like doors, windows, vent openings, and other voids in the walls of your home. Then you must treat the perimeter starting at one point of the foundation of your home. This must be sprayed three feet up and three feet out of the structure.
Now it is time to take it to the plants. Clean the plants with water and soap to remove all potential white mite activity. Spray the insecticide on tree trunks, ornamental plants, and bushes. Keep the hand pump at low to medium pressure and on the mist setting if available. This will coat the leaves thoroughly and keep them wet. The underside of the leaves must also be treated. The best way to minimize draft is to do this when it is not windy.
Now that the basics are taken care of, let’s get into a little deep cleaning. Spray the insecticide in places like baseboards, cabinets that have cracks or crevices. Take it outside and give it a whirl on the lawn and near electrical and plumbing equipment outdoors.
Take Care of Prevention
After you have treated your house inside out, you must make sure the mites don’t return. For that, you must remove all excess leaf activity and keep it at least two feet away from the structure of your home. The points of entry into your home like doors and windows must have screens. Use caulk to seal the cracks and crevices across the board.
When it comes to the outdoors, make sure you water the yard area at about 1-1.5 inches regularly without drowning the area. Excess water will do the opposite of prevention and invite more pests. Finally, do another round of insecticide spraying as a preventive measure every 3-4 months to control pests all through the year.
While they don’t bite or cause diseases, white mites do tend to cause some hygiene issues. They are also wildly invited to a snake tank if it has an underlying layer or wood-based substances like bark or aspen. However, your pet snakes are likely to be just fine, as a snake owner, you are probably aware that you can purchase hypoaspis mites to deal with an infestation of white mites in your snake tank. At least it’s not as bad as having a fire ant infestation!
These mites also like cigar humidors for obvious reasons. Hope you find this guide useful to get rid of wood mites and are able to keep them away for good!