Moving a Bell Pepper Plant with Spider Mites

Sheila_GeorgiaPeach(Lincolnton GA)June 4, 2011

I have a bell pepper plant on my glass enclosed porch that I have been waiting to put out. This evening I noticed tiny red fuzzy looking things on it. I didn't think at the time they were insects, so I just washed all the leaves off by hand. An hour later I went back and they were back again! This time I watched the things really close and noticed that they were moving. So I looked them up in a image search and discovered they were spider mites. There was also a "spider web" across the pot. So this time, I added a few drops of Baby Shampoo to some water and washed the leaves again. Now here is my question. Tomorrow morning I am going to put the bell pepper plant outside in a 50 gallon drum barrel so what do I need to do to make sure that I don't transfer these spider mites outside and into the barrel I am putting the plant in. Want to get rid of the spider mites but don't want to do anything to the plant that is going to put it into any more shock than it will be from the transplanting as it is.



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If they are all over then get rid of the palnt or quarantine it applying the soap untill they are gone. They my not ever go the eggs just survive and hatch once you think you got them.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 2:59AM
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Sheila_GeorgiaPeach(Lincolnton GA)

This is what I finally did, 38 hours ago. In a pot I put a chopped up onion, a few cloves of garlic, a cap full of canola oil, a few drops of Dawn, added water, put on stove and brought to a boil. Simmered a few minutes, took off stove and let solution cool. Then I strained some into a spray bottle, and sprayed the leaves of the plant with a hard spray, hitting every mite on the plant. Then what was left over, I drenched the soil. Now I have garlic all over the top of the soil and my whole porch smells like an Italian restaurant! That was over 38 hours ago and I have not seen one red spider mite anywhere. My plant still looks pretty healthy. My plan is to keep watching the plant and the soil every day for signs of spider mites. My question now is how long before I know it is safe to transplant the bell pepper plant, length of time that would probably prove there was no more spider mite problem?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 4:42PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm having a hard time picturing this: you're planting a pepper plant into a fifty gallon drum? I must be missing something.

Anyway, you may have better luck keeping the mites under control if you get it outside in the 'real world'. Don't worry if you don't get rid of them all; spider mites are every where and a few won't hurt your plant.

Be VERY careful about that magic elixir you've invented, and how it might react to direct sunlight.

SO! Now comes the real question. I've never heard anyone describe spider mites as fuzzy. (They aren't and you couldn't see the fuzz even if they were.) Many people find it difficult to even spot them with the naked eye at all.

Are you certain that you're seeing spider mites, or something else? There are other mites that better fit this description.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:15PM
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Sheila_GeorgiaPeach(Lincolnton GA)

rhizo: I can understand your confusion on what I am doing and why I am doing it. For years I had a very big vegetable garden, with at least 50 tomato plants, 20 bell pepper plants, and lots of assorted other vegetables and herbs. Then a few years ago I started having a lot of medical problems and because of those medical problems, I am now disabled and not able to get down on the ground and really work a garden the way you need to. This past year my husband took all his recyclable items to market and emptied out 29 50gal. drums. Since my biggest problem is getting down and not being able to get up again, I thought maybe I could take advantage of a few of these empty drums and grow just a few plants--I wouldn't have to stoop or bend to reach the plants. So I took 3 of them and washed them well, put wire window screen mesh in the bottom where the holes were located (to prevent fire ants from getting in), then filled each drum with a mixture of perlite, peat moss, top soil, and potting soil. I originally only had 2 plants to go into them--one tomato plant and one bell pepper plant. When I saw that I would have enough of all those ingredients left over for another barrel, this is when I made up the 3rd barrel. But I did not have a 3rd plant to go into it at the time and it was too late to start something from seed. So I bought another bell pepper plant to go into the 3rd barrel. But as young as that 3rd plant was, I was afraid to put it out just yet--our temps are close to 100 degrees every day here in GA. So I put it in a big pot on our enclosed porch that has glass windows all around it. I was waiting for it to get a lot bigger before putting it outside. Now my husband really put those 3 barrels too close together (that 's going to cause another problem later), so I didn't want to put the infected plant on the porch outside until I got rid of its spider mites--don't want the spider mites to travel to my other 2 healthy plants. Since I only have 2 good plants, I would really hate to throw this one away if it can be saved. So now can you imagine what I am talking about?

Just before I came here, I got an email from my PC tech site, from a poster who gave me a lot of good recipes that are suppose to kill spider mites. On my Tech site they have a category that lets you post about anything that you want to either ask about or talk about (except religion or politics). I checked my bell pepper plant on the porch a few minutes ago and there were a few mites again on the leaves, I suspect those are from eggs that hatched. And yes I am positive that they are Southern red spider mites. They are not really fuzzy, just at first glance when I saw them did I think they were fuzzy. They are so tiny that I have a hard time seeing them--but they look just like the images on Google image search and they also have the same action--they keep building a web across my pot. If any of the recipes I was sent work, I will post the one back here that really worked.
Thanks for your post,

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:51PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Gotcha! Let us know how everything works out.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 1:09PM
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Sheila_GeorgiaPeach(Lincolnton GA)

rhizo: Just in case you or any one else might be interested in the recipes that I was given for getting rid of spider mites, here is the list I was given:

�Soap & Water - Mix a dilute solution of non anti-bacterial dish soap and water, and spray (fine mist) the leaves of your plant, particularly the underside where the mites like to live. May require multiple applications depending on how well you can cover each individual leaf of the plant. Make sure to rinse off the leaves with plain water 20 minutes after spraying in order to prevent the soap from clogging up the stomata on the leaves, which will stunt plant growth if not cared for.

�Soap & Water Plus Version 1 - Gather 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 drops dish detergent & 1/4 teaspoon Epsom salt. Take one cup of hot water to dissolve Epsom salts and pour into a clean 2 liter container with the rest of the ingredients. Add water to fill to 48 ounces (a 2 liter bottle will be 3/4 full) and shake well. Put into a spray bottle and cover your soil/medium with plastic. With the lights off, mist the plant all over concentrating on the underside of leaves. Wait 20 minutes and spray off with clean fresh water, shaking as much water off the plant as you can. Solution is alkaline and rinsing is important in order to remove mites and eggs, and to prevent the solution from burning the plant leaves. Test on a small portion of the plant and wait 24 hours to observe before dousing the whole thing. If you see plant damage, dilute with more plain water and test again.

�Soap & Water Plus Version 2 - Gather 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 drops dish soap, mix and dilute with plain water to 40 fluid ounces. Use in the same manner as Version 1. Shown to work both indoor and out, with success on spider mites, thrips, aphids, clover mites, grass gnats and mosquitoes.

�Soap & Water Variations - Since all plants will have varying degrees of sensitivity to these sprays, you can try to create your own by mixing water with a small amount of dish soap, as well as garlic, cinnamon, clove oil and lemon juice.

�Rubbing Alcohol - This poisonous liquid can kill mites and evaporate relatively quickly in order to reduce harm to plants. Varying degrees of success have been reported with solutions ranging from 1:3 (light) to 1:1 (strong) ratios of rubbing alcohol to water.

�Predatory Mites - These mites do not feed on plants but on other mites. Predatory mites can be mail-ordered from a horticultural warehouse or purchased online from gardening vendors. Three of the most common mites used to kill and control spider mites include Phytoseiulus persimilis, Metaseiulus occidentalis, and Phytoseiulus longpipes. The Phytoseiulus persimilis variety is nice because these guys cannibalizes on themselves after eating the problem mites, thereby reducing their own population naturally after they've finished their work. Phytoseiulus longpipes can stand higher temperatures, so if your grow space is above 89�F, you should try to find this variety.

�Miticides - When all else has failed, miticides will be one of the most effective forms of spider mite treatment. You should generally try not to use these more than necessary, as they are considerably more toxic than all of the above treatments, and can also cause resistant strains of mites if used repeatedly over time on the same population of mites.

Pyrethrins are natural organic compounds that provide potent insecticidal activity. While pyrethrins are slightly toxic, they are not very dangerous to humans and have been used as an organic crop dusting agent in agricultural farming as well as indoor agriculture for some time. You can also find them in some shampoos designed to remove lice/ticks from humans and pets. Riptide 5.0% Pyrethrin is a common solution that works well.

Hope these may help others,

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:30PM
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