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For The Garden

Do spiders attack plants?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: November, 2017, Page 143

Q - An indoor chrysanthemum that was given to me as a gift was covered in very fine spider webs, so I immediately threw it away. Now, several of my houseplants are looking sickly and have webs on them. I didn’t think that spiders attacked plants. What’s going on?

A - You are correct that spiders don’t attack plants. But their tiny arachnid cousins, spider mites, are serious pests of plants, indoors and out. You were wise to quickly eliminate the source. Carefully inspect all remaining houseplants for webbing. Because spider mites are so small, they are hard to detect with the naked eye. Use a magnifying lens to inspect the undersides of leaves, or shake plants over a white piece of paper and watch for moving specks. Quarantine any infested plants in a separate room, and wipe their leaves with a solution of water and insecticidal soap, available at garden centers. Consider discarding any heavily infested plants as they may not recover anyway.

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