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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby Regli55e » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:47 pm

Regli55e
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:38 pm
Climate Zone: 5
I have been passively reading the posts on this community for a while, but I'm not knowledgeable enough in the subjects to contribute... I have joined because the plants I have started this summer are slowly all being eaten alive by mites.
The symptoms:
Red/greenish dots on the underside of leaves.
Leaves with yellow patches, which eventually decay.
Fine webbing under leaves and at leaf junction points.

It all started because of a pepper plant, brought inside for the winter.
So far I have had to put outside (to isolate, and ultimately kill the plant): tamarind tree, mango tree, golden shower tree, papaya trees, starfruit tree, etc.
And I see the infestation is just extending to the second room in which I keep plants... I try to use a wet towel to kick off the mites (this is doable for most of my plants since they are young and don't have too many leaves yet), but I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. Will I ever be mite free? Has anyone in this community gotten rid of mites entirely? Should I just chuck out all my baby plants and start over again next summer?
Please help, this is breaking my heart.....

Thanks for reading

Em

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby DavidLJ48 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:07 pm

DavidLJ48
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 2191
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:38 pm
Location: San Joaquin Valley, CA
Climate Zone: Sunset Zone 14, USDA zone 9b
The fine webbing and little critters sure sound like Mites, can you see them move ?

Mites like warm/hot dry condtions, like our homes and greenhouse low in humidity and no real air flow,as you may well know. I find just spaying with water can do the trick if outside, but inside they seem more persistant. You can normally use a soapy water plant spray or even one with some added organic insecticide. You can make your own or find them at nurseries, Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart and OSH; I most often use this method, don't need it very often, and it is just easier and not very costly; normally find what I need at OSH, there is Safer and other brands. Always best to test on one leaf, for leaf sensitivity reaction, before spraying the entire plant.

David
Sunset zone 14, USDA zone 9b

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby PASERANGEL » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:42 pm

PASERANGEL
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:36 pm
Climate Zone: novato
all season oil spray work for me cheap

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby Ed of Somis » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:16 pm

Ed of Somis
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:46 am
Location: Ventura Co.
Climate Zone: Sunset zone 21
Find out what specific mites you have by doing online searches (or books) of your plants and their pests. There are specific sprays classified as "miticides" that can be effective. For my persea mites on my avocados...I chose to purchase "predator mites" (helpful ones)...and this was mildly successful. goodluck. PS do not be shy about contributing or asking on this site. There are plenty of helpful and knowledgeable gardeners here.

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby jbclem 9b Topanga » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:42 am

jbclem 9b Topanga
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:27 am
Climate Zone: USDA 9b
I've been fighting spider mites, mostly on vegetable plants, for the last three years. I also get them indoors on papaya under the grow lights. This was the first year I figured out how to get them under control...what a difference it makes in the plants. What worked for me was finding a way to view the little buggers, and what's most important is to be able to see their eggs so you can judge if you're really getting control.

I ordered this small handheld microscope at Amazon.com, it's very cheap($3-4 including shipping), works very well, and comes all the way from China in about 7-10 days. Here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002E0 ... 03_s00_i00

Before I could see them I tried spraying with rubbing alcohol and neem oil. But they always seemed to come back. Once I could see them up close, I was looking for something inexpensive, easy to apply, and non-toxic. I ended up with Safer's soap. The trick is to apply it thoroughly on the underside of the leaves, and the stems (the stems are the spider mite highway, if you don't spray them the mites just keep on coming). With this microscope(about 10x power I think, not the 40x claimed) you can see the young mites, the eggs, and the older ones, and you can watch them wiggling their fingers/legs(?) as a sign that they are alive.

In warm weather the eggs hatch often, so when I see lots of eggs I try to spray every 4-7 days until I don't see anymore eggs. It's obvious when the mites are dead, the wiggling stops and they have a slightly different look. It's easy to kill the mites, you just have to do it until all the eggs are hatched and no more are being laid.

It's a lot of work if you have many infected plants, but it's really worth it to see your plants get healthy again.

BTW, before I had the microscope I would put a sheet of white paper under a leaf and down-flick it(the leaf) with my fingers. Little dark dots would appear on the paper, some moving. When I rubbed a dot there would be a spot of something reddish (blood?) so that was probably a spider mite. You can knock off a lot of them that way, but it doesn't seem to get the eggs or all of the mites. But it's a good quick way to check for their presence.

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby Regli55e » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:17 pm

Regli55e
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:38 pm
Climate Zone: 5
Thanks for taking the time to reply!

DavidLJ48:
I have seen them move, yes, and hot and dry really does describe my indoor environment...
I will look for a soap. How long after putting a test spot on a leaf can I conclude that it has not harmed the plant?

PASERANGEL:
Is it found only in plant-centered stores ? A quick search yielded nothing for Canadian tire, walmart or rona.
What is the advantage of oil spray over the soap?

Jbclem 9b Topanga:
I tried doing a search for Safer's and found this:
http://www.rona.ca/en/leaf-cleaner---leaf-cleaner
it does not mention it being soap, would it work?
What would be the time you would estimate someone can be mite free if applying the soap every 4-7 days, as you mentioned?

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby jbclem 9b Topanga » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:52 pm

jbclem 9b Topanga
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:27 am
Climate Zone: USDA 9b
I don't know what the leaf cleaner consists of, but it's not obviously meant to be insecticidal soap or it would say so. Will it work? Only by experimenting with it will you know. But instead of wasting your time that way, here's exactly what I'm using:

http://www.amazon.com/Safer-Brand-5118- ... cr_pr_pb_i

It's a concentrate (1.25 tbsp to a quart of water) and goes a long way. One thing I like about using a soap is that being non-toxic (but don't drink or inhale it say the instructions!) I feel pretty safe when my hands get sprayed. And when you are spraying the undersides of leafs (for spider mites), you often are grabbing each leaf and twisting it so the underside faces your spray bottle...you are always going to be spraying your hands unless you have a plant in a container small enough that it can be inverted without losing all the dirt.

How long to be mite-free...maybe 100 years. Depends if you start out with 100 or 10,000 mites and 1000 or one million eggs. But it's amazing how good your plants can look when you get rid of 90% of the spider mites. I haven't figured out yet how to be mite-free, and I don't know what happens to them in the winter. I'll be watching on cold nights so see what they do when we get to the low 30's.

You can also make your own insecticidal soap, plenty of instructions on the internet, but I'd say to first try the professional version so you can later compare your homemade product's effectiveness.

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby Oolie » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:24 am

Oolie
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 5:34 pm
Location: Spring Valley
Climate Zone: sunset 23
you will never be entirely free of them. we are getting hit hard by them.
Start here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetranychidae
then here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_resistance
then here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrate ... management

try and read it all, and you'll get it.

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby DavidLJ48 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:54 am

DavidLJ48
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 2191
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:38 pm
Location: San Joaquin Valley, CA
Climate Zone: Sunset Zone 14, USDA zone 9b
Normally it does not take too long, normaly right off if outside, a few days should tell you, I would think. Anyone else have any experiences?

David
Regli55e wrote:Thanks for taking the time to reply!

DavidLJ48:
I have seen them move, yes, and hot and dry really does describe my indoor environment...
I will look for a soap. How long after putting a test spot on a leaf can I conclude that it has not harmed the plant?

PASERANGEL:
Is it found only in plant-centered stores ? A quick search yielded nothing for Canadian tire, walmart or rona.
What is the advantage of oil spray over the soap?

Jbclem 9b Topanga:
I tried doing a search for Safer's and found this:
http://www.rona.ca/en/leaf-cleaner---leaf-cleaner
it does not mention it being soap, would it work?
What would be the time you would estimate someone can be mite free if applying the soap every 4-7 days, as you mentioned?
Sunset zone 14, USDA zone 9b

Re: Mite invasion HELP Please!!

Postby Regli55e » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:43 pm

Regli55e
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:38 pm
Climate Zone: 5
Okay, well I will finally get my hands on some soap tomorrow, and hopefully save the plants!


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