Spider Mites... Now What??

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(Edited)

Some plants in the greenhouse are infected by something of which I think it's spider mites. It's the first time I have to deal with those, so I can use any advice I can get.

spider-mites

 

 

It's obvious I didn't really pay attention to what was going on inside the greenhouse these last 2 or 3 weeks.

A couple of days ago, I was so delighted to see that my loofah plant had finally started growing fruits... until I noticed the plant was covered with webs. The entire plant never looked super healthy, so I hadn't paid attention to the fact that the spots that had been on the leaves since the beginning, had multiplied.

So I went online and asked my friend Google-man if he could tell me what was going on. As always, Google-man knows all, so it didn't take me long to find some pictures that resembled the issue. So by now I'm 95% sure spider mites are the problem.

 

 

spider mites

 

 

I found quite a lot of info, but still I'm a bit confused.
I removed some marigolds last week that had the same webs on them. However, the melon plants that were next to it don't show any sign of infestation. Neither do my tomato plants. (And I'm very, very grateful for that.) That leaves me puzzled.

I learned that spider mites prefer hot and dry conditions - so I guess during these last couple of weeks, the greenhouse has been like paradise for them.

Now I'm not sure what to do.... For now, I've removed all the infected leaves, but I've also made my peace with it that it's possible I'll have to remove the entire plant (no loofah sponges for us this year).

Later today, after sundown, I'll go around in the greenhouse and spray all plants with water (maybe add some neem oil?), since the little creepers don't like to get wet, apparently.

The problem is that I've learned that they also nest in the soil. I can't find any other solution online than to get rid of all the soil at the end of the season, and start all over again next year. Since the greenhouse is filled with very large containers and raised beds, that's gonna be a hell of a job - not to mention the costs.

I would be very grateful if you could share your experiences with these creepy bastards, and maybe give me any tips or advice. No need to say that organic solutions are the only option.

The end of the gardening season is near, so it's not such a big deal at the moment, but I really want to avoid that these spider mites will pop up again next spring.

 

 


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37 comments
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Yep.....these little buggers are terrible. We fight them at times and use habanero spray we make our self's by steeping said peppers. I hope it helps. Maybe there are stores that sell something for them we just always use stuff we make so we know what's in it. Maybe also you could try neem oil. In any case let me know if you try something different that works. Always looking for new garden tips!!🤗🤗🤗
Also....how is everyone doing one your end? I hope all is well.

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yep. All is well here 👍

I read about using peppers. Might give it a try
Thanks

🤗

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Hey, @simplymike - we have the same problem here. Food, water, and either neem or dishwashing liquid spray. The latter stops them sticking. I think neem's better for caterpillars and beetles that eat the foliage.

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Just go for neem. Especially if your main goal are the sponges and the infestation is as severe as the pictures show. If you kill them now, they have no chance of hiding in the soil.

What also works are oil suspensions, but you have to actually hit the buggers for it to work. Obviously it's also not as effective and leaves disgusting oil everywhere.

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(Edited)

They plague my internal jasmine plant every year in the winter, because the air is dry. The important thing is to keep the leaves moist, so watering them regularly helps keep these parasites away.

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That's what I read. I should have done some research sooner 😂
I'll go ahead and start spraying. Thanks!

!ENGAGE 15

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(Edited)

Also, I would cut off the heavily infested branches before I spray, they're dying already and won't recover. Plus it helps get rid of the bulk of the mites.

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Yup. Looks like a severe case of spider mites. I hate that towards the end of my experimental beans' indoors, they come seemingly out of nowhere. Now that you mention it, maybe they come from the soil. I've tried boiling citrus peels and spraying that on them but it did nothing. If it's a minor case on my indoor plants I usually just move the infestes individual outdoors and the problem usually takes care of itself, either by natural predators or weather or what have you. I've never had a severe spider mite problem outdoors.

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This is the first year I've seen them. But it has been extremely hot this year, and even hotter inside the greenhouse, so I guess that has something to do with it.

I spotted a ladybug on the plant, but I doubt the little one will be able to take care of everything just by herself 😂

!ENGAGE 15

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(Edited)

Lack of water makes plants more susceptible and appealing to mites too which, from what I've read in your posts, is something you've been experiencing.
Thanks for the ENGAGE token!

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Ladybugs will eat spidermites, if you have ladybugs available.

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I will need to catch some in the near future! Thanks for the tip!

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(Edited)

Yes, I have had spiders ruin my loofahs when I grew indoors and in general, they are a pest of indoor gardening and greenhouses. More water will improve matters but you also need to improve airflow, that's the other big thing that makes plants susceptible. I always grow outdoors as much as possible, that's the only real prevention of red spider mites. They are everywhere and strike as soon as conditions are right. I don't even bother with spraying to try and get rid of them, it's never worked for me. Only adequate water and airflow

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Creating airflow is not that easy in the greenhouse.
I learned that loofah can just as well grow outside, so that's the plan for next year.

!ENGAGE15

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Yes, growing outside is your best option: you'd need to put in a big extractor fan or make both ends of the greenhouse openable

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Hey @simplymike! We had spider mites on the citrus plants i had grown and would bring in for the winter. I pretty much gave up on growing the citrus plants for the mites were really attracted to them - good thing they were not to attracted to the other plants I was growing. This year our cannabis plants got an infestation which we treated with Safer's insecticidal soap which was fine until it started to set bud then we had to stop. We ended up harvesting a bit sooner then we had wanted to and did a major clean out of the indoor garden area plus we added glandular neem into the soil to combat them nesting in the soil when we potted up the new crop of cuttings. You may want to try that instead of taking out all the soil in your greenhouse.

Hope you have better luck next year!

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Will need to do some research on 'glandular neem' - it would be awesome if I can use that instead of changing all the soil.
Thanks for the tip.

!ENGAGE15

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You're welcome! Hope it works for you and Thank-you for the tip!

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Weird, I would thought they were spider webs!

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They are a bit more dense than spider webs, and there are little yellow and orange spots in there - those are the spider mites, I guess

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I wish I knew!!!! What a bugger. I just built a polytunnel (posting about it tomorrow of course) and I guess I'm going to have to deal with a whole set of bug problems I dont have outdoors! Let us know when you do find the solution!

Wondreing when the next garden journal is due? We're in the first flush of Spring here so of course I"m mega excited to join in the fun!

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I would recommend a neem oil spray for the spidermites. You can use a bug spray with pyrethrins in it, that works really well, and isn't as toxic as most bug sprays. Pyrethrins are made from plant based materials from chrysanthemum plants, I think. It will kill any bees that get sprayed with it, so it's best to do it at sunset when there's no bees in the greenhouse.

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