How to kill mites living in the soil

sarah2000May 11, 2007

A few months ago I repotted my lime and lemon tree (as well as most of the rest of my houseplants) using Miracle Gro Moisture Control Soil. Well, I have noticed that as time goes on the plants that I repotted using this soil have been getting more and more little white dots scattered all over the surface of the soil and when I water them there are many of these white dots in the water that drains out of the pot as well. I looked at one under a microscope and it looked like some sort of mite that resembles a tick. Does anyone know how I could kill these?

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Take 3 or 4 garlic cloves, chop and crush them. Put them in a 1 gallon plastic jug, add water and sit it in the sun for 4 or 5 days. Strain the liquid, saving the water and discarding the garlic particles. Add 6 drops of Dawn or Joy dishwashing liquid to your water and stir well. Add 1/4 cup of garlic water with a gallon of water. Water your citrus tree. After a week, check your soil for the bugs. I don't think you will find anything.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 10:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Will the water absorbing crystals absorb the detergent, causing a problem for the plants? Will the detergent alter the consistency of the potting medium?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 1:49PM
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Sounds more like fungus gnats than mites..Make sure your soil isn't constantly wet..also provide fresh air..Fg's love dry air and wet soil..
Sarah, I saw the soil you're refering to..though it probably works great on outdoor plants, I wouldn't use for citrus..Toni

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:45PM
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CA Kate

The detergent acts as a wetting agent.... not enough in this recipe to harm plants.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 11:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fungus gnat larvae don't look anything like a mite or a tick. ;-( Don't forget, she looked at her crawlies under a microscope.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 1:57PM
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I still believe Sarah's plant is suffering w/fungus gnats..especially because of the color..silvery/white.
Sarah, when you water, do these little buggers run around? How notiable are they?
When you look at soil, can you see them hopping/walking around w/o the use of a microscope? Toni

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 4:28PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

And how about the adult fungus gnats? ;-) Have you been noticing a lot of little flying gnats all over the place? They sort of 'go' with the larvae. Fungus gnat larvae look like little whitish worms, should you see any of them.

If you observe that your critters seem to be very active when you water, even jumping around, they might be spring tails. OR....they could be some kind of mite, lol!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Sorry everyone for not posting back sooner. I was supposed to have follow up posts e-mailed to me so I would know if anyone posted back and I never got anything E-mailed to me so I assumed no one was posting

Toni, they were definitely mites. I looked at them under a microscope. Even without the microscope they looked way different than fungus gnat larva. (I wish it would have been fungus gnats instead they are a lot easier to deal with. :) )

What I figured out was that the mites came from the banana plants I ordered online since they had mites the worst.

The mites reproduced so fast that after having the plants for only a month almost all of the soil surface was covered with theses mites. I also found the same mites on some of the leaves on my banana plants and citrus trees. The mites were feeding on the leaves as well but most of them seemed to stay in the soil. It was pretty weird. I have never seen anything like it before.

I did finally get rid of the mites but I had to take drastic measures. What I had to do was buy new pots and rinse all the existing dirt from the roots of my plants and repot them with new dirt. Luckily this didnÂt harm my plants at all. This worked and I havenÂt had a problem with these mites since then.

I have come to the conclusion though that I will not be growing bananas indoors anymore since after I moved the banana plants outside they became infested with hundreds of another type of mite. I donÂt know if the banana plants will make it through the winter outside but there is no way I was bringing them inside. I did not feel like spending all winter battling these little monsters. I think banana plants must be mite magnets. :)

Thanks everyone for all of your help and replying to my post.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 1:40AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

In the future, a helpful solution might have been to incorporate some food/horticultural grade diatomaceous earth (DE) into the potting medium, and to sprinkle some on top. This product can be purchased anywhere where (so-called) organic pest control items are sold. You can also usually find it 'feed and seed' type business, as it is commonly fed to poultry and livestock.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:40AM
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That is a good idea. If my plants ever get mites in the soil again (which I hope is never!! :) )I will put diatomaceous earth in the potting soil. It sounds a heck of alot easier than what I did to get rid of the little stinkers. :) Thanks for the tip.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:10AM
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