In this article, we look at how to kill grass mites. These pests emerge and can turn a beautiful green lawn into a scorched barren wasteland in a few weeks. Keeping lawn mites under control is important if you want a healthy lawn. A combination of healthy grass and occasional interventions to control mites will enable you to achieve this.
What Is A Grass Mite?
Grass mites are 8-legged creatures that rasp the leaves of grass plants and suck the juice out of these leaves – this damage causes the leaves to wilt and die. In extreme cases, mites can cause a patch of lawn to die completely, or an entire lawn to die.
The mites are spider mites in the family Tetranychidae. They are very small and you need to use magnification to see them. There are many species of spider mites in the world, but the ones that most commonly affect grass are quite limited in number. More often than not you will find your problems are caused by two-spotted spider mites, banks grass mites, and clover mites in about that order of commonness.
Mites are vaguely related to spiders and ticks, and their treatment has to bear this in mind. In other words, they are different from insects and should not be treated as such. When we look at how to kill grass mites, we can often use their own biology against them.
How Do You Know If You Have Grass Mites?
Grass mites are very small. If you begin to notice patches of your lawn that are yellowing and the blades of grass look withered and dead, it is best to look around these patches for blades that are still alive, but that have yellow blotches on them. Have a look at them using a jeweler’s loop or a magnifying glass. You will see small creatures with 8 legs on the underside of the blades. There may also be a bit of spider web-like material.
The mites normally start in patches and slowly multiply. Some mites are large enough to see with the naked eye. In this case, you can clearly see the mess they make on the leaves. This identification takes us to the next step – how to kill grass mites! They are horrible creatures.
How To Kill Grass Mites
The mites listed above each have different methods of controlling them. I will start with the Two-spotted spider mite.
The Two-Spotted Spider Mite
The Two-spotted spider mite is a common problem not only on lawns but on many other plants too. It is quite distinctive if you look at it under magnification as it has a big dark spot on each side of its abdomen (when mature). For more on identification read here.
I believe in the simplest methods of control if I can get that right, and have largely eradicated these mites from my garden using Persimilis predatory mites. This is a predatory mite that eats two spotted mites – it can be ordered here. I have found that after introducing these mites, they formed a resident population and the result is I have a small delay after spider mites get out of control, and then the persimilis mites boom in numbers, and the problem goes away. If you live in a colder climate you will need to monitor your plants and lawn as it gets warmer and at the first sign of two spotted mites, release your persimilis to control the problem.
The great thing about using persimilis predatory mites is that you control the problem on all of your plants that are susceptible to this irritating pest.
You can also control two spotted mites by watering the lawn – they do not like being wet and this slows their growth a lot. In terms of how to kill grass mites, drowning them is a great option.
As a last resort, you can use a neem oil spray to control them – this will cause the nymphs to be unable to mature into adults, and will reduce and potentially eliminate the mites – it will however do the same to predatory mites. When ascertaining how to kill grass mites using chemicals is always my last choice.
Banks Grass Mite
The Banks Grass Mite is, much like the Two Spotted mites, very very small. You will need a jeweler’s loop to see them. They lack the dark coloration on each side of the two-spotted mites.
These mites are relatively easily controlled using water – a fine mist sprinkler will cause the mites to be unable to really get a hold of your lawn. If you mist the lawn at night during hot dry spells you will stop the mite populations from exploding dramatically in number. In terms of how to kill grass mites, drowning them is always my favorite!
Alternatively, you can use a neem oil spray to control the mites as well. Much like for two spotted mites, this will cause the nymphs to be unable to molt into their adult form, and hence you destroy the population.
You will know when you have these mites as they do this weird thing and congregate on the walls, and cracks in your house and will even come into the house, entering via cracks in doors and windows. They are a warm-season pest and can emerge from your lawn in vast numbers making their way into your house. I have had two outbreaks of these in my life – the first time I tried to mop them from the wall, and they left a dark orange smudge on the wall. The second time I used a vacuum cleaner, and after I finished vacuuming them I put the mites in my fire place and burned them. This worked well and was satisfying. In terms of how to kill grass mites, vacuuming them and killing them with fire is very satisfying.
These mites can be controlled by creating a barrier between lawns and walls – and watering the lawn a lot as per other mites. They are less of a pest in my opinion than the other mites, and, other than their weird habit of invading your house, are not much of a nuisance. Neem oil apparently also works against them.
Can You Spray For Grass Mites?
Yes. I will not provide recommendations for this, as acaricides are toxic substances and it is best to contact a professional in the field for advice and a quote on how to treat your lawn if you wish to go this route.
Alternatively, you can spray your lawn with neem oil, which has a relatively effective mode of action against mites. This is a natural alternative to more scary synthetic pesticides.
What Kills Mites Instantly?
You may laugh at this, but much like it can kill us, water is remarkably effective against mites! If you are able to flood irrigate your lawn you will drown the mites. Alternatively, you can irrigate the lawn regularly with a fine mist of water and this will quite effectively control your mite problems in most cases.
In Conclusion – How To Kill Grass Mites
You will see from the above, that in terms of how to kill grass mites, water is a universal weapon you can use to control mites – failing this, neem oil spray, and if you have two spotted mites, introducing the persimilis biocontrol into your garden can help. Mechanical means such as vacuuming up the clover mites is also effective. I hope you now know a bit more about how to kill grass mites. Keep your lawn healthy and most of these things will never be a problem!
Dr. Garth A. Cambray is a Canadian/South African entrepreneur and beekeeper with 28 years of experience in apiculture and specializes in adding value to honey. His Ph.D. research developed a new advanced continuous fermentation method for making mead that has resulted in a number of companies globally being able to access markets for mead. His company, Makana Meadery, exports honey mead to the USA where it is available to discerning connoisseurs. He has also developed technologies to commercially manufacture organic honey vinegar in Zambia for export globally. He holds a few patents globally in the ethanol industry and believes in technology and knowledge transfer for human development and environmental sustainability. One of his proudest achievements is the fact that the wind farm he started at one of his old apiary sites has essentially made his hometown carbon neutral.