I was wondering if anyone has come across these pesky critters. I read that they're common, but difficult to get rid of. I'v lost a few plants to this problem and was only to save a few because of daily cleanings. Also, over the summer I left the infected plants outside,sprayed them with bug spray and let the rain wash it away, then continued that regime. With winter here, I brought them in and the mites are back. My huge Gardenia has them now and its become too much to clean, does anyone have advice? Thank you!!
I spray Dr. Bonners peppermint castile liquid soap with water in a spray bottle on all my plants and have never had a problem with bugs. Maybe this will help? You can buy the castile soap from any drugstore and department store along with health food stores.
^^ Agree with the Dr. Bronners. You can also use Neem Oil, or alternate with both. The Neem oil you can buy in concentrate and mix with water. Spider mites are a constant problem on my marigolds if I do not stay on top of them.
Thank you so much!! Im shopping around online now, I like the idea of using natural cures
And yes these mites are fast, My mom forgot about the problem and decided to place the plants together and 3 of them got mites.
Are there any specific brands for the neem oil?
I use Green Light or Monterey. Its hard to find pure neem oil where I am. The soap is approved for organic use as well, the ratio is small, just a teaspoon to a gallon of water. I have found that the two-pronged approach works best. I dont mix them in the same container, but I have heard that you can do that too.
They love dry conditions so if you can increase air humidity then it would make it much easier to keep them under control. That's why their infestations tend to explode in the winter: central heating=dry air=happy mites.
Personally I never had much luck with neem and soap. It's okay in minor cases or as a preventative but never really wiped them out fully once they got established so keep that in mind. Also some plants are sensitive to oil so always check whether the specific species can tolerate it before you spray. Plus oil application can increase sun sensitivity and although it's probably less likely to be an issue in the winter months when sun is less strong it's nevertheless worth mentioning since product labels don't always include these cautions.
If you decide to use pesticides then make sure that the packaging specifically mentions being effective against mites/ containing arachnicide (and not just oily acids i.e. the same thing as neem or other oil) as many common insecticides (imidacloprid?) are not only ineffective against spider mites but can even contribute to their outbreaks. I had best results with such systemic but the exact brand name and the active ingredient are escaping me right now.
Lastly, if your conditions allow, you can use biological control and release some predatory mites (plenty of websites selling these) which will attack and feed on the pests. Obviously, you won't be able to use any other methods of control if you choose this route since neem and pesticides will be just as likely to kill off the beneficial mites as the pests.