As soon as you have entered an area of soil, mites are among the first things that hit thought. But it is quite a challenge to spot and view a soil mite. They are very tiny and are close to the color of the soil which adds to the difficulty. If you are new to soil mites and things related to them, this is the right place. Soil mites are considered, both friend and foe depending on the circumstance. In this article, we’ll answer a few of the many questions you have about soil mites.
What are soil mites?
To begin with, let’s get into what soil mites are. Soil mites are small and tiny bugs that have no inner bones, their legs come out of their body themselves. Soil mites are mostly found in soil that is rich in moisture, they tend to avoid soil that lacks enough moisture. These bugs are very small in size and tend to eat up all the dead plants, algae, insects, and other pests.
The size of soil mites makes it very difficult to spot them but when glanced deeply. You’ll find at least a couple of soil mites in a hand full of moisture-rich soil. Soil mites play a very important role in decaying and decomposing organic matter. This is the reason, agriculture professionals and scientists seem to disagree on the opinion that soil mites are pests.
The waste material produced by soil mites helps the soil grow rich in nutrients. In conclusion, soil mites are a sign of the soil being in good form. The only downside of having soil mites is the danger to human beings as soil mites may carry some disease-causing bacteria along with them.
How to identify mites in soil?
As said before, soil mites are very tiny to been seen easily. They can be seen with a little bit of deep sight and attention. When you take a closer look at a hand full of soil, you’ll start to notice small dots here and there in the soil. Everything else other than spiders and ticks will most probably be soil mites. Knowing the color of these buddies will make the process of identifying them easier, soil mites come in different colors like brown, white, etc.
One of the most common types of soil mites is Oribatei mites. Such types of soil mites have a shell on their body just like turtles which earned them the name turtle mites. The biggest size an Oribatei mite could ever grow is 1 millimeter. Considering the size, you’ll be able to see Oribatei as a tiny dot in the soil, the use of a microscope will be best to identify these mites clearly. Just like most of the other soil mites, Orbatei also feeds on dead plants, dead insects, fungi, algae, etc.
Another type of soil mites we’ll discuss is Astigmata, these are mostly found in soil that is rich in nitrogen. Apart from these, there are many other varieties of mites like Mesostigmata, Prostigmata, etc.
How to get rid of mites on plants?
Not all mites are good for your plants and if you want to get rid of soil mites in your potted plants. Here’s how you can do that:
- First, take the soil out of the pot, be very careful and make sure you don’t disturb the plant.
- Grab a mesh cleaner and start shifting the soil through it.
- Now, put the shifted soil back into the pot or you can use fresh soil as well.
- Put some pesticides in a spray bottle and spray them on both the soil and the plant.
- Get rid of the dried-out leaves, any fruits that are spoilt and dry branches, and take good care of the plant.
When there is a problem with soil mites, get rid of them as soon as possible and don’t delay it because they only get bigger in number day after day.
Positives and Negatives Soil Mites
Soil mites have their own positives and negatives, let’s take a look at them one after the other.
Soil mites help very much in the decomposition of dead plants and animal waste. Hence, they are very beneficial to the environment. They also consume the harmful creatures in the soil and protect the plants. When the soil mites die, their bodies are decomposed and again benefit the soil. The waste material produced from the bodies of soil mites improves humus in the soil and increases its fertility.
When the number of soil mites grows in such a way that you can easily see a lot of them going around in the soil, you should take measures to get rid of them. They are not of much damage but get rid of soil mites when you feel that the number has significantly gone up.