What would the best solution to get rid of spider mites on my big boston fern be?

I discovered beneath all the healthy beautiful fronds that there were dead leaves and webs with lots of white dots on them, and I saw a pretty big spider mite crawling about. It's the size of a baby spider.

Is the best solution to cut all the fronds off so it can grow new ones?

It is very digficult to take a photo of it but I tried as best as I could

enter image description here

  • Spider mites are microscopic. You can see their feeding habits by tiny specks on the undersides of leaves. You can see tiny webs among them. canr.msu.edu/outreach one of the best resources available. Cheers.
    – beastwagon
    Nov 3, 2018 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure they are spider mites. They are very small, the size of a grain of salt. Also, on the picture it looks more like white fly.

Either way, Boston Ferns present some challenges with insect control. The fronds are numerous and delicate. Normal solutions like soap and water or neem sprayed on the leaves won't give you the 100% coverage you need to kill the adults. In addition due to the delicate nature of the fronds you need to wash any control off a few minutes after applying.

Due to this I recommend the easiest method. All you need is a pair of scissors:

  • cut all foliage off at the base of the plant at the soil level
  • remove all dead material near the soil where pests can hide
  • reduce water
  • move to a high diffuse light area if not already located in one
  • wait for new growth, it may take a few weeks
  • watch for pest problems and control as necessary
  • increase water with growth but do not keep soggy

I would suggest that you keep the base of the fern clean and tidy. If the spiders don't have real estate then they won't be laying eggs there.

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