Spider mites?

new_mexico_shaneOctober 10, 2006

Dear Forum Members:

Help! I was gone on business travel for a week and came back to find a serious problem with my rooted plumeria. Most of the leaves have small pale yellow "flecks" or spots on them, and seem to be infested with very, very small bugs. The critters are pale gray to white in color, nearly too small to see, and are associated with a fuzzy looking "nest" or web. Are these spider mites? How do you treat them? Since the weather has turned cold, all my plumies are indoors. Can these critters spread to other house plants? I've attached a photo. I really hope someone can help out with advice on how to treat this. It seems to be taking a toll on the health of my one plant with leaves!

Shane

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greenclaws UKzone8a

Mmmmmmh, Shane, that looks like the dreaded spider mite for sure. I had a plague a short wile ago in the greenhouse during a very hot dry spell we had over here. I got rid of the little blighters by simply wetting some cotton wool and wiping all of the leaves both on their top and under surfaces thoroughly as I hadn't got any specific treatment in stock at the time and it appeared to work. I checked regularly from then on to zap any escapees especially on the undersides which they favour.
It seems to be a bit of a trade off in rearing plumies..... water and keep everything moist and get the rot, or swing to the drier side and the warmth they like and they succumb to spider mites which thrive in dry warm conditions....either way we cant win!!!!
No doubt one of the experts will come in and give you a specific treatment for them, but try this in the meantime.
Hope your Hawaii gift shop cutting roots as it seems to be the other contenders in our online cutting competition are having all sorts of problems. The remaining mini portion of my Hawaii cutting shrivelled up and almost disappeared up itself : ¬ O So it had to be consigned to the compost heap as it was completely useless!

Good luck with the ÂAttack of the Spider MitesÂ, regards, Greenclaws.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 3:35PM
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karyn1(7a)

I HATE those little beasties! I get them in the house and even in the greenhouse no matter what I do. Yes they will definitely spread to other plants though some seem more susceptible than others. I've never been able to completely erradicate them when my plants are indoors so I do my best to control them. What works best for me with the plants that are in the house is to put them in the shower. With the plumies you don't want to water them so they can be tipped to the side and sprayed with a hand held shower head. In the greenhouse I just use a hose. Good luck. They are such a pain in the a**.
Karyn

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 6:39PM
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new_mexico_shane

Greenclaws and Karyn:

Thanks for the advice. Another new challenge!! If it is not one thing, it is another!

Greenclaws - Did you see my rather tardy follow up post in regards to the problems that you and John had with your Hawaiian cuttings? I don't have a lot to report, but mine is holding in there. See my response under your original post for my follow up comments regarding your disappointment. I'm sorry to have you both out of the contest.

Shane

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 7:19PM
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kbauman

Hi Shane,
why can't you take them outside and spray the leaves with a fungacide top and bottom and kill the mites, then spray again as described on the spray, to kill the eggs? I do this on regular plants, are plumie inside different?
Karen B.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 4:22AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I've tried a number of things on them. Malation: sprayed on the leaves and the many of the leaves dropped off! Could be I used too strong a concentration, but I would steer clear of that! Systemic pesticide granules mixed into the soil along with regularly spraying or wiping down the leaves (top and bottoms sides) with a water/mild soap/alcohol solution seems to slow them down a bit. I'm waiting to hear what others use.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 7:18AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Misspelled malathion.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 9:53AM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hi Shane, yes I did read your follow up on the Hawaii cuttings thread, thanks, I just forgot to mention it! Could that be a 'senior moment' approaching?? Good grief I hope not!!!! : ¬ (
Also a very big 'YES' to your queery as to if the little critters can spread to other plants....I can assure you they can and will if given half the chance and the right conditions, one moment there's none, the next you have a infestation, so keep an eye out on your other plants.
Regards, Greenclaws.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 10:38AM
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new_mexico_shane

Everyone:

Thanks for the help. Karen B., that is exactly what I did. I took the plant outside and hit the leaves top and bottom with a broad-spectrum pesticide. Radical, perhaps, but I was desperate, and this is WAR! I had nutured this plant for months, and wasn't willing to let the mites win. I will let you all know how it goes. The plant appeared pest-free this morning, and relatively happy. No indications of spread elsewhere. Dave in Nova - I used something other than Malathion (I forget the exact name). Thanks for the warning.

Shane

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 2:24PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

I can tell you as an orchid grower, mites can be very difficult to get control over. There are many types and only spider mites make webs. There are thrips and other mites which are almost impossible to see. You need a powerful insecticide follwed by another treatment 2 weeks later. The insecticide kills the crawling stage of insects but not the eggs. The eggs hatch around two weeks later. Eggs can also be on the roots and in the soil. That is hard to get rid of. Fungicide does nothing except help with fungus infections. Not insects. Sprays containing oils (like Neem oil) can smother the eggs, but this has to be applied outdoors. Soap, mixed with alchol and some oil, can be used to wipe, wash or spray on the plant. But whatever you do has to be applied throughout the winter.
They can be a nightmare!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 12:30AM
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kbauman

Hi Shane,
don't mix malithion how ever that is spelled with fungacide..too strong. Just read what you are using, may have to spray a few times on a daily program to kill them..including the stem..branches. you may lose your leaves, but should grow back healthy..as suggested must kill the eggs. Keep it away from all plants..will spread. I also have a thing on rust..got it on a plumie, sprayed daily to kill it. lost my leaves, but came back healthy. I hate bugs..ha... good luck. I have had spiter mites on many other plants..Many do the organic way, do not knock it.
Karen B

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 3:55AM
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karyn1(7a)

I battle spider mites all winter on plants that are inside (greenhouse or house). I don't bother with insecticides and find that frequent showers and misting work best for me. I'll also wipe down an entire plant, leaves and stems with alcohol soaked cotton balls. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of them completely while the plants are inside, I just try to keep them under control. Another pest that I sometimes have to deal with inside is scale and that's worse. They seem to pop up on my citrus occasionally. If scale gets out of control you might as well just toss the plant. This time of year sucks in my zone : (
Karyn

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 7:15AM
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clstorey

I have grown Plumerias in Michigan for sometime and yes they get mites every year. Plumerias seem to have an adverse reaction to any pesticides up here. THEY ALWAYS drop their leaves once they are sprayed. On summer I tried some preventitive measure by putting a systemic pesticide in the soil. It worked for about 6 months and then they started again. The best and most immediate thing you can do is to give it a strong shower as previously stated. I have read that a diluted mixture of Olive Oil and water can suffocate them. Just don't put too much in! I haven't tried this, but I have an info on one plant right now and I have to give it a shower tonight. To help it make it to summer! Once the end of May is here, I put them outside. The combination of the Wind and Rain seems to remove the insects.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:11PM
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astrl

As annoying as they are, I have stopped treating mine with pesticides. And since that time, I have had a few seed pods develop.

The only thing I have continued to treat (when necessary) is black tip. And my trees get rust every year like no one's business. Ugly, I know, but it seems to a losing battle here.

astrl

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:09PM
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