Any gardener or farmer is happy when they have healthy plants that are safe from pests and diseases. However, most gardeners are on the lookout for pest infestations on leaves and stems and forget pests also lay eggs in the plant soil. Particularly, did you know that spider eggs in plant soil are a danger to yourself and your plants?
Imagine this, spider eggs scavenge on soil moisture and nutrients and end up hatching to tiny pests like spider mites that will further feed on your plants. Alternatively, spider eggs might hatch into venomous spiders, which are a risk to your household. Therefore, any spider eggs in plant soil are harmful regardless of whether you are dealing with a spider mite infestation or any other spider type.
Subsequently, we have prepared this guide on how to deal with spider eggs to prevent a full-blown infestation. Remember, spiders can lay eggs in your garden soil or even in in-house plant pots. Nonetheless, it’s important to know how to discern spider eggs in your garden or pot soil for optimal solutions.
Identifying Spider Eggs
Across the different spider species, their eggs often have a presentation of creamy white round sacs. Inside the sacs are the bundled spider eggs. However, these sacs are often tiny, making them particularly difficult to spot. Fortunately, spiders lay many eggs at a go, meaning these sacs are often bundled, making it easy to spot them.
How Many Spiders per Egg?
Subsequently, each egg hatches to a single spider. Therefore, a sac can hatch to as many spiders as possible depending on the number of eggs. Different spiders lay a different number of eggs ranging from 150 to as many as 1000 eggs. Such high numbers of eggs are meant to increase the survival rates of the hatchlings.
As we discuss the control of spider eggs, we can’t forget the spider mite pests. These bugs are known to attack plants directly. Spotting the eggs might be difficult for these tiny suckers, but certain presentations can make you know your soil is potentially packed with their eggs. For instance, whenever you spot spider webs on your plants, it’s a sign there are eggs either in the soil, foliage or stems.
Specifically, spider mites thrive in dry and warm conditions and can potentially explode into an infestation. Therefore, whenever you see webbing symptoms, you can prepare how to control the existing mites and eggs. Also, these tiny pests are sneaky because they hide under foliage and on leaf joints.
Image Credit: planetnatural.com
Control of Spider Eggs in Plant Soil
1. Altering the Watering Schedule
Notably, spiders love to lay eggs in moist and inactive soils under stable climatic conditions. These habitation conditions perfectly match a home garden or houseplant pots. The moisture in the soil helps to prevent the spider eggs from dehydration. Subsequently, dry soil will cause spider eggs ot to hatch and prevent further laying of more eggs.
While at soil moisture, it’s also important to remember that water is necessary for plants. Therefore, consider the type of plant in context before applying this pest control method. Ideally, you can easily apply this method to plants that can withstand drought. More hardy plants will resist drying out as you control spider eggs.
Alternatively, you should only water your houseplants when the soil is dry. This approach doesn’t have to take long and implies avoiding sodden soil. Luckily, the water-starvation method works within a few days.
Additionally, water starvation reduces the insect food for spiders, thus reducing the rate of laying eggs. For instance, irregular watering disrupts the life cycles of millipedes and springtails, therefore reducing and eliminating potential spider food. However, even as you water-starve your plants, remember to avoid extreme dry conditions that may, in turn, attract spider mites. Eventually, water starving on its own might not be sufficient, thus requiring the complement of other measures to be listed in this guide.
2. Using a Vacuum Cleaner
Another non-chemical method of removing spider eggs from plant soil is using a vacuum cleaner. This method is practical when you can identify spider eggs, sacs or webs around your plants. Specifically, this approach will make sense for houseplants since if you apply it to a garden, you’ll clog your cleaner with soil.
When sure you’re dealing with spider eggs, target sacs in the soil and all cobwebs. Moreover, you can concentrate on cracks and corners just in case spider eggs are concealed in hidden spots. As such, a vacuum cleaner will suck up all the eggs, webs and existing spiders from your plant soil. In turn, this will protect you from any venomous spiders breeding in your house.
Even as you vacuum your plant soil for spider eggs, ensure you put on protective clothing to avoid exposure to poisonous spiders. Furthermore, after emptying the collected contents, you can burn or freeze the trash bag to kill the eggs, especially with the likelihood of venomous spiders. Subsequently, you should avoid throwing the trash bags in a bin or throwing them elsewhere to avoid transferring the problem.
3. Eliminating Eggs by Hydraulic Pressure
If you have a small garden or a few indoor plants, you can use the jet nozzle for watering. The high jet nozzle pressure will wash out spiders and eggs from the soil. Despite having adverse pressure effects on the eggs and the existing spiders, it’s not a proven way of killing spider eggs.
Remember, we had earlier indicated that spiders lay eggs in stable soils. Therefore, hydraulic pressure alters the natural soil habitat. Eventually, the jet nozzle watering will drive out any spiders, thus preventing or reducing the rate of laying eggs in your plant soil. Nonetheless, this method can only be used as a target solution for a few plants.
4. Remove or Repot Plants
Also, you can remove plants from the egg-infested soil and repot them in a new pest-free soil mix. This solution is practical if the existing soil mix is highly infested with spiders and their eggs. As a result, large infestations translate to unhealthy plants due to the deprivation of nutrients.
Before repotting, remove any dead leaves and sterilize soil to ensure a clean start for your plants. Also, ensure your plants don’t carry spider eggs to the new soil mix. In the end, please dispose of the infested soil or expose it to extermination methods like water-starvation or exposure to extreme temperatures.
1. Use Pesticides to Kill Spider Eggs
You can use industrially-manufactured insecticides or pesticides to eliminate the spider eggs in plant soil. Ideally, some specific pesticides are made with chemicals that can prevent the eggs from hatching or killing the egg contents entirely. In the process, pesticides will kill spiders, indirectly reducing the number of eggs laid in plant soil.
However, you should be careful while using insecticides or pesticides since they may adversely affect your plants. For instance, insecticides might disrupt plant chemical metabolism or cause root burns. Also, if you are going to use pesticides, let it be on inedible plants. Generally, ensure you put on protective gear to prevent any harm to your body.
Apply Quality Oil-Based Pesticides
If you are considering using pesticides, go for the oil-based variety. Ideally, spider egg sacs are water repellent despite thriving in sodden soil cultures. Subsequently, the oil-based varieties will inhibit the hatching of eggs by slowly dehydrating them. Fortunately, these products will also help keep spiders away from your plant soil.
Apply Dry and Crystallized Pesticides
Crystallized pesticides often come in the granulated form, which is released into the soil continuously. After applying the granules to the soil, pour some water on them to activate the poison in them. For granular pesticides like imidacloprid, the chemicals are released into the soil and absorbed by the roots. In the end, you will eliminate the spider eggs in the soil and spider mites on the plants.
2. Applying Hydrogen Peroxide
Going back to altering your plant soil conditions, you can alter the soil acidity by using hydrogen peroxide. This approach kills pests by fizzing out eggs and larvae present in the soil. However, in its pure form, hydrogen peroxide is an acid, and when applied to soil, it must be diluted to avoid adversity to the plant.
Depending on the spider egg infestation of your soil, repeat the hydrogen peroxide application until all the spider mites and eggs have been eliminated. Ideally, we recommend using five parts of water to dilute hydrogen peroxide. Even so, ensure you read the application procedure before using it in your houseplant soil.
3. Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a powerful insecticide that effectively controls spider mites and eggs. You can use this insecticide by wiping it on the plant foliage. It will help you control many other houseplant pests besides spider mites on the leaves. Ensure you use a cotton bud or paper towel to apply it to the plant leaves.
Alternatively, you can dilute the rubbing alcohol for pouring onto the soil mix. For example, a 1:3 rubbing alcohol to water solution will be adequate. Maintaining a precise solution for soil application is important since it can burn plant roots in its pure form.
4. Using Neem Oil
A better chemical approach is using Neem oil which is harmless to humans and animals. Neem oil is effective in disrupting the hormonal and life cycle of spiders. This means it’s effective in killing spider eggs, among other bugs.
Subsequently, mix your Neem oil with lukewarm water and liquid soap. When your solution is ready, you can apply it anywhere there are spider eggs, including soil, stems or leaves. Eventually, homemade organic pesticides from Neem extracts or using the packaged Neem oil will also repel any spiders around your plants.
5. Using Castile Soap Water
Finally, you can apply a Castile soap solution to repel spiders from your plants. This soap contains fatty acids which kill spider eggs and baby spiders. Subsequently, mix it with warm water and apply it to the infested areas. Despite soapy solutions being harmless to humans, animals and pollinators, they might scotch your plants if highly concentrated.
Frequently Asked Question on Spider Eggs in Plant Soil
1. Do spider mites live in soil?
Yes, spider mites can live in the soil. Normally, spider mites are known to attack the plant foliage and stem, but they also thrive in dry soil. Nonetheless, before applying your select pesticide to the soil, be careful not to kill even the beneficial life forms.