Pests- possibly spider mites?

Woman_of_ParadiseAugust 13, 2011

My poor houseplant plumeria has been invaded! Can someone help me identify the pest, and the best way to get rid of them?

The leaf loss started slow, a few weeks ago. I figured that it was normal to lose some leaves, that it was overdue because I'd really never lost any. At first I ignored it, until the rate started to quicken. About a week ago the leaf loss rate got crazy, and just days ago I was finally able to spot a pest- and there were tons of them. I'm not sure how seemingly overnight they became visible in full force. Now all my leaves have a yellowed mottled appearance.

I've been using Garden Safe Houseplant & Garden Insect Killer for 3 days now, I ran to the store immediately after spotting the pests and my husband suggested it was aphids, and I have seen a significant reduction but I still see them around. For fear that eggs will hatch, I just spray my poor plumeria every day. Upon further research, I'm leaning towards calling these spider mites. We did have webbing.

I'm down to just 8 leaves, as you'll see if you check my album I made hoping to identify the pest, I used to have a lot more, and these pics were taken after I had lost about 10.

I grew this plumeria from a cutting since last year, it's my pet project and my baby, and I'm devastated at the prospect of it dying. Does anyone have any advice? Can a plant this far in decline be rescued? How do I get rid of these pests for good?

In addition to the indoor pesticide I've been using, I've tried gently spraying the plant to get rid of as many as possible, and when dry I rub the remaining leaves between my fingers hoping to crush/remove eggs.

If anyone can help me identify the variety of plumeria this is, I would appreciate it. If I do lose it, I would love to get another.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plumeria Album- one healthy picture from a bloom, and a lot of pics in decline

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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Has this been growing in the house? These plants can slowly go in decline if they stay indoors and don't get enough light and heat.

Outdoors they are much more resistant to mites. I'd move the plant outdoors if your weather is warm enough, and spray off the leaves ocassionally. Keep it in a dappled sun spot though, no full sun or you will lose all the leaves. Where do you live, by the way?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Paradise, CA, I basically live in a forest. We've got deer and things which made me reluctant to put outside, more than that though is Oak Worms. They eat EVERYTHING. And grasshoppers. We have a lot of leaf-eating pests.

Anyone have any idea what the lows are for plumeria? Our temps can suddenly dip to the 40s at night, even if it's 90 degrees during the prior day

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:26PM
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Try a nice jet stream from a garden hose. It works wonders. So far, none of the leaves on the plumeria were chopped off by the water. Worth giving it a try....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Hi, I'm far from being a pro at this but I live in the Bay Area and have the same temp drops sometimes. I was told to pull the plants in when temps drop to the low 40s but the nursery in Hawaii where I shipped one home from said to pull them in below the 50s! So far they have withstood a few low 40s nights but I don't have any flowers yet. Three of mine are rooted and 5 are cuttings I started in late June. I do have buds on one of the rooted plants, but because of the fog layer in the morning and not a whole lot of heat this summer (I'm assuming here) they are yet to bloom.

And the two I bought at a local nursery here have spider mites too. Wrinkled leaves and little webs, etc. I have sprayed them once and will spray them again a week later with a mild insecticidal soap (made for all kinds of plants including veggies). I have also been spraying them with water under the leaves, but it's no jet spray, just set on shower.

Hope this helps, someone more knowledgeable may come along and say something completely opposite, but this seems to be working so far anyway.

Good luck, Leslie

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 11:46AM
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