how do I get rid of mites on my phalaenopsis orchid

philpetDecember 28, 2013

Hi everyone. So I think my phal has mites. I look on a few leaves an notice some silver spots. That I am sure is mite damage. I am not sure which type and I have not seen any webbing but I know its mites from pics I have seen on leaves with mite damage. Could someone please tell me how to get rid of them. I have heard of neem oil but its not available where I live. I have over 30 phals and have seen the damage on about 3. Please help me.

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terpguy(7)

Hi Velletta,

Getting rid of spider mites is often a difficult task. Fortunately phals are not particularly susceptible to them, which in my experience indicates it should be easier to get rid of them.

This next statement is my own observation so I won't hold it up as absolute fact, however what I have observed is if plants that don't usually get them suddenly find themselves infested, it means The plants are particularly stressed. A good example is it a plant has been dehydrated successively over a period of time they will be extremely distressed. This happened to my Encyclia cochleata. If you correct the watering issue, the pests will disappear. Mine did.

This stands in contrast to plants who always seem to have the same pest no matter what you do. For example, English ivy almost always succumbs to mealybug or spider mites when grown indoors indoors. It's somewhat rare (though not unheard of) that you find one indoors that does not have these after

I don't know what you have available to you, but you should be able to at least get a hold of some horticultural oil. I'm assuming this is a small, relatively contained infestation, and the damage is not very extensive since it is on plants that aren't normally very susceptible to this pest. This kind of situation does not call for skull and crossbones chemicals. Horticultural oil should do the trick for you.

Can you please educate me, i assume because you're in the tropics you tend to experience dry times around this time of year. Assuming this is correct this problem may very well take care of itself once warmer, more humid weather kicks in. My pests in the winter almost always disappear during the summer.

And to be clear, when I say they are not very susceptible to this pest this is not a blanket statement saying they don't get it. It just means other species on much more likely to get them long before phals do.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:49PM
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philpet

Hi. Terpguy, well to be honest the four phals that has them got root rot and so lost many of their roots. Thus proving your statement on them being stress. Secondly where I live its very hot and dry still proving you correct we don't actually get a winter season we have sun right through the year. We do exprience a rainey season but that june to september. As I said its not a very big infestation but I want to prevent it reaching one. I will try to see if I can source some horticultural oil as you have mention but honestly here people go mostly for the big guns. I have read a few post on mites and my undsrstanding is they don't like moisture so I am thinking if I whipe the leaves down with alcohol and a bit of dish detergent say every four to five days that would help to get rid of them what do you think? Again thank very much for responding to my question and I hope the information I provided will help if not just let me know what ever else is needed. Thanks again VELLETA.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 9:38AM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

terpguy. Your observation has some credibility but misses the mark. Speaking from my own experiences in south Florida. Generally in nature the weak become prey in both plants and animals. A good system. So all weaken plants are an opportunity for many predators.

Please re-answer the question assuming all plants are robust, vibrant and generally healthy. Except when under attack by mites.

I've used avid with mixed success. It kills the mites but after a few applications many plants became toxic. I'm very careful with proper mixing. I've tried others with some help. But I feel i need a better solution. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:31AM
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jbraun_gw

I used a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol/water with a tsp of dish soap as a wetting sticking agent. I had a problem on my Phals of over watering and having root rot. I corrected the problem and now have new roots. No re-infestations for 4 months. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 11:47AM
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terpguy(7)

Thank you Velleta. With that, I suspect theres a chance you might see this problem more or less disappear as the wet season approaches. Are you still humid right now?

SM:
terpguy. Your observation has some credibility but misses the mark. Speaking from my own experiences in south Florida. Generally in nature the weak become prey in both plants and animals."

SM, I accept your criticism of my observation, as I stated I'm not holding it up as absolute fact. But, I don't follow. You simply stated what is commonly known, and a fundamental assumption in this observation, weak plants are more likely to become infested.

What I said took that a step further. While what I said wasn't an absolutist statement, If you'll allow me an absolutist statement for a moment simply for clarification purposes, my statement said "Phals never get mites (I had said they are less likely to get it, which is true). You see scale, but never mites. So If you wake up one day and your phal has mites, your phal must be incredibly stressed (watering being the most common culprit). Correct the culture (get rid of the stressor) and the pest goes away".

This was demonstrated when Velleta pointed out after I posted that the infected plants are indeed sick. Can you please clarify what you're criticism is?

To this:
Please re-answer the question assuming all plants are robust, vibrant and generally healthy. Except when under attack by mites."

Huh? This is unclear. That assumption is fallacious. If you re-read Velleta's response to my post, the infested plants are not healthy and robust. Clarify? Observations aside, I did answer the question.

The question was "what can I use?"
My answer: horticultural oil.

To your own question: If its a huge infestation I've been a fan of Tetrasan in the past, but I think you need an applicators license for it. Theres also a chemical, name escapes me at the moment, that is petroleum based. Smells like gasoline, but it got the job done.

This post was edited by terpguy on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 12:50

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:37PM
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philpet

Hi jbraun, thanks to you and shavedmonkey for replying. Now you said you used alcohol, dish soap and water. Did you whipe the leaves with this or spray? I know water can cause crown rot in phals if it gets in the leaf axels or the very center so I am afraid to spray them. So how do you do it? Thanks again VELLETA

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:46PM
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terpguy(7)

Velleta, quite simply you aren't spraying enough to be concerned about crown rot. You're spraying all of three plants so if you really are concerned you can wick what little bit is down there. But as long as you do it in the morning or afternoon you're fine. Heck, I've sprayed at night with no problems.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:54PM
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philpet

So I should it on then ? Ok I will try that early tomorrow morning. One more question how often and for how long should I do this spray treatment for. Thanks again velleta.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 1:58PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

terpguy

I think the difference is where we live. Different considerations due to very different climates and personal experiences. Applying oil generally is not done here as that can magnify the temperature. Varies from zone to zone. Now, in the darkest days it could be done though. But we have had a record warm december too. Had the AC on earlier. Never before in Dec. here. Oil is an example. Mites are very tenacious and difficult...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 4:30PM
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jbraun_gw

I spray this mixture on the plants. Be sure to get the underside of the leaves. This mix works on fungus knats also.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 6:35PM
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philpet

Thanks Jbraun I will apply this mix early in the morning. Also thanks to everyone for responding. Velleta

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:32PM
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westoh Z6

Velleta,

I'm a fan of AVID also. I also had a 'serious' red spider mite infestation on some of my phals late last winter/early spring. Was brought in on another type of plant and I must have transferred/transported via clothes??? to the orchid room. I've had a few minor issues in the past, but contrary to what terp said, seems I get them on my phals more than anything else, but then my collection has a large % of phals.

Unlike mealies and aphids, mites will kill orchids, so stop it as quickly as possible.

Good luck,

Bob

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 7:26AM
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orchidnick

I used AVID for my mite problem 6 month ago and followed the following recommendation. Spray with AVID making sure you get the under surface of the leaves which can be a pain. 1 week later with something else. I chose Malathion. Repeat the process for week 3 and 4. Since then spray with something once a month. I have used Neem oil, Malathion and one more application of AVID. The Ag pesticide expert I consulted is of the opinion that rotating different approaches prevents the development of resistant bugs.

It's been 6 month and I am retiring the heavy stuff and keep spraying with Neem oil and Ag soap once a month only. So far, so good.

Nick

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:45AM
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philpet

Thanks bob and nick. We don't get Avid here but I already have Malathion. Also I have a miticide by the name of ENGO. So I will try those two hopefully they will work thanks again. VELLETA

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 11:13AM
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terpguy(7)

You might also see if you can get kelthane, Velleta. Ive heard great stuff about that.

SM, I'm still not following you. Oil can quite readily be used in Florida any time of the year; I've seen it myself. What you indicate is hardly an issue isolated to Florida (it's te lensing effect of the light, which generates heat). It can be an issue here as well. If you follow the directions (apply in early morning/late evening, and never in direct sunlight) then here is no problem, regardless of where you live.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:49PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I try not to use the big guns because in doing so you bump off the goodies.
I do use oil to clean up my plants and to put a preventative coat on the leaves. Not a problem, provided you have the correct shading on your plants for time of year and climate.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 2:18PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

It can and is done here. Just more risk. What would have been intense max safe solar exposure would become sunburn with oil. Adding oil from sub tropics to the equator is added solar risk. I avoid it. Increasing towards the equator. I guess in northern climes it is a non issue...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 3:37PM
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