Spider Mites? Tiny white dots

tropical_thought(San Francisco)February 11, 2010

I have a problem with white tiny pests that I always assumed were spider mites, but I don't see any webbing.

This attack started due to heavy rains, I thought spider mites liked drought. I notice the small plant like a voila or a primrose is not doing well, or looks sick. Upon closer inspection there are yellow leaves at the base of the plant and or twisted leaves. I look at the crown and see 1,000 of little white dots that are too small to have any features that I can notice like arm or legs, just dots, but they do move. I then have to discard the plant in most cases. If I let the plant stay it won't recover and only provides a breeding center for the pests. The dotes are smaller then grains of sand. If it is not spider mites what other pest could they be?

I did use Bayer Advanced Care treatment every two weeks starting in early January, but still I am finding new cases constantly. I had to discard almost every small annual type plant. I replaced with some new plants just recently.

I live in San Francisco, and there is no dormant season. Things grow all year, but the cold has not slowed down the infestation, it has only increased. I don't know if the spraying is helping. It's hard for the spray to reach the base of the plant, so maybe that is why all the infestation is at the bases?

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I am curious...

Do you see them with the naked eye? Do you use a magnifying glass? And, are they underneath the leaves too?


    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 10:59AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I can see them with the naked eye, and they are only around the crown or base of the plant in the leaf margins or under the very lower most leaves. But, I am confused by the heavy rains causing the infestation.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 12:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Spider mites can thrive under many kinds of conditions, though they seem to prefer the hot, dry times of the year.

You should know that some insecticides aren't hugely effective against spider mites. And you should also know that many different kinds of insects and mites build up resistance to a chemical that is used on a regular basis. You might even have cyclamen mites, which are very difficult to get rid of.

Do you have a good extension office nearby? Some offices are staffed with real live horticulturists (or similar) who could check out your critter under a scope for a proper ID.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:46PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I guess that is what I should find a pest control office, but everytime I see them I quickly remove the plant and discard trying to keep the infection under control. I would have to find one pretty quick. I live in san francisco. I don't think we have anything like that. I have no idea who to contact. Maybe I just have to stop growing these little things like voilas and pansies? So far it has not affected the roses, but bayer advanced care is supposted to work on spider mites.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 7:19PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Work on finding out who can id the things for you. Perhaps a large nearby garden center. But be certain to secure your plant in a clear plastic bag to avoid sharing your critters.

Or at the Strybing Arboretum. Call first because sometimes the person you need to talk to is present part-time.

Beyond that, spider mites are NOT your problem. They don't hang out at the base of the plant and at the edges of leaves.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 7:25PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

It was all a mistake. The tiny white dots turned out to be pieces of silica or some kind of mineral found in sand that was washed out or out and over by all the heavy rains. The plants were failing because they were water logged due to el nino. I never had insects on the plants. I thought I saw them moving, at least I think I did, but I guess they were not moving.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 12:10AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Thanks for the update.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:59PM
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