Soil Mites: Good/Bad? What to Do? [Answered]



Pest patrol is a duty every gardener must shoulder at some point in the growing season. But before you draw up elaborate plans to fumigate your backyard or douse your potting plants in pesticide, remember: not all bugs are bad.

Some tiny creatures  actually perform functions crucial to the health of your soil. Read on to learn about one such creepy crawler, the soil mite.

Meet the Soil Mite

Soil mites are beneficial arthropods that help break down organic matter in the soil. This can include fungus, leaf litter, algae – basically any naturally occurring item that finds its way onto the ground.

Look Out for the Little Guy

Soil mites love organic matter. You’ll likely find them in your compost bin. It’s also possible you’ll find them in a bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil – even if freshly opened.

Not Like All the Other Bugs

Soil mites are so small it can be hard to identify them based solely on appearance. However, it is still possible to identify whether or not your soil’s new inhabitant is a soil mite or something peskier.

The Good, the Bad, the Mite-Y

The Good: Soil mites perform a vital role in decomposition, a process crucial to maintaining soil health. They eat ‘break down plant and animal residue’ and eat fungi and bacteria. The Bad: Ecosystems are complex, so assessing whether or not soil mites are “bad” is a little too reductive.

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