Spider Mites are the worst! No other issue with my plants has haunted me like these little @#$%’s have.
They love Alocasia. In my collection, they are the canary in a coal mine. Velvet leaves, especially on Philodendrons are another aroid that Spider Mites love. I have come to realise that any sign of yellowing on my velvets, tends to signal mites. (or at least its a likely cause).
See below, this is an advanced case of Spider Mites, that I have allowed to get this bad, just for this article. Yes, I am a monster!
See the ‘Spider Web’ that they get their name from. It is very obvious that this Alocasia Sarian has spider mites. But its not always easy to tell.
Another sign is the masses of whitish eggs covering the leaf. Mites will start laying eggs in 14 days and will lay 100 eggs over a few week period. So they take over very quickly.
Looking very closely, mites would be visible on infested leaves. But generally signs are not as obvious. Often you dont know until the infestation is established before you realise they are there.
Even indoor plants can be infested with Spider Mites. They can fly in with the breeze or come in on your clothes and shoes. I am very sure that a massive rose bush over the fence from my greenhouse is infested with mites and they flow from there into my greenhouse and house, hence my issues controling them.
New Plants or First Signs of Infestation.
When any new plant arrives, especially the more prone ones. Or when I first see signs of infestation, I will start by treating with a wash with basic detergent from the kitchen sink.
I prefer to use a basic, grey water safe, dishwashing liquid for this step.
Start with a gentle, room tempreture stream of water. Wet the leaf and with a good amount of dish soap on your hands, gently wash the leaves and form a good lather.
Mites hate water and many will wash away with the stream. Then the soap cover their soft bodies and suffocate them. Yippee!!!
I prefer to leave the suds for a few minutes, befor gently washing the leaves of all the soap. Sometimes this takes a few rinses. But its important to wash it all off.
Easy! This step should be repeated after four day’s, which allows for the incubation period of three days to pass.
When I discover a plant is infested, I will sometimes start with my home made Garlic Spray
I spray a very generous covering onto the leaves and the stems. Let it sit for an hour our so and then rince the spray off. By rinsing, you help was any eggs off of the leaves. Although you wont get them all. So repeat this method around 4 days later to kill any hatchlings.
Here is the ingredients for my garlic spray I use to get rid of pests.
- 2 crushed bulbs of garlic or the equivalent in pre-crushed garlic. Make sure you get as much of the juice as possible.
- Cover garlic with vegetable oil and let sit for a day or two.
- Strain out the garlic and add a few drops of dish liquid. I like to use a Grey water safe one.
- Fill a spray bottle (one that mists) with water and add a tablespoon of oil mix. Shake well.
- Spray the plant, each leaf top and bottom to get all the mites. Dont hold back.
*an instant way to make the spray is using the garlic juice from a jar of crushed garlic and adding it to the other ingredients. It isn’t a s good as it’s not infused with the oil but in an emergency, it will do until a proper batch is made.
Spray the whole plant liberally. In this case, less is not more. You want to kill the mites and its not expensive to make.
With the oil in the mixture, it is best to keep the plant out of the sun or intense heat while covered in the spray. The sun or heat could burn the leaf.
An hour later…
Wash the plant well to remove the mix and any mites. Repeat a few days later.
With luck, this is all thats needed to kill off your Spider Mite infestation.
There are other sprays available at hardware stores that work as well. Personally, I try to avoid these, bit have an organic spray as a back up.
For a more intense infestation that will not go away. I will get into how I deal with them in Pt 2 of this series. I will link it here once it it posted.
Thanks for reading and happy growing. Xx
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