Ask a Question forum: My house plants invaded by spider mites

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Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Aug 19, 2017 6:58 AM CST
They already killed my emerald euonymos (fortunately I have a cut of it in my office), my manihot esculenta lost all its leaves but is bouncing back. My musa bajoo, dracaena, mint and orange mint have them too. Insecticidal soap seams to damage the leaves. How can I stop the carnage?

Orange mint:
Thumb of 2017-08-19/Rez/49a35d


Musa leaf damaged by insecticidal soap
Thumb of 2017-08-19/Rez/ed1c78

Mint:
Thumb of 2017-08-19/Rez/bc33dc

[Last edited by Rez - Aug 19, 2017 7:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 19, 2017 8:03 AM CST
Spider mites feast on plants that are under stress for other reasons. You are having such an extensive problem that you may want to review your cultural practices (light, water, etc.) with your plants.

Insecticidal soap will not cause foliage damage unless it is applied in direct sun or very warm temps. Also, make sure you follow proper dilution recommendations.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Aug 19, 2017 8:11 AM CST
It gets very hot and humid inside at this time of the year. Can this be the reason?
[Last edited by Rez - Aug 19, 2017 8:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 19, 2017 9:24 AM CST
Spider mites reproduce more rapidly in hot, dry air; less so in moist air. The plants that you mentioned are not among the easier plants to manage indoors. Most require lots of direct sunlight and can be very particular about watering. Light and water should be your focus after treating the mites.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Aug 19, 2017 9:55 AM CST
OK. Are these their eggs?
Thumb of 2017-08-19/Rez/418ddb

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Aug 19, 2017 10:00 AM CST
No, spider mites don't have eggs. That is a type of fungus in the soil. My guess is that you are using garden soil rather than indoor potting mix for your indoor plants. Garden soil has lots of fungi, bacteria, and critters that you don't want indoors. Indoor potting mixes are soilless, sterile and pest free and are composed primarily of peat moss, coir, and perlite.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Virginia (Zone 7a)
Rez
Aug 19, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Oops. I indeed use potting mix but some of my pots have been outside without a plant in them for months. And then I used their mix for other pots. Also one of my potting mix bags got a lot of rain water in it.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 19, 2017 2:03 PM CST
Rez - you might want to check into Azamax - a derivative of neem. I've used it with great success on my lemon trees, mainly indoors over winter where it is drier. Banana tree likes it fine too.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 19, 2017 4:55 PM CST
Azamax is an insect growth regulator that works on the hormonal level. Neem oil is an oil that works physically by smothering the insects or repelling them with its odor. Neem is not a derivative of Azamax, but some neem oil products also include Azamax. Read labels carefully.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 19, 2017 5:47 PM CST
There's a good picture of spider mite eggs showing their size relative to the actual mites here:

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:

You would look for them on the leaves where you see the actual mites.

Azamax is azadirachtin, which is a component of neem.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Aug 19, 2017 6:36 PM CST
Sue - I stand corrected on both counts! Thank You!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 20, 2017 2:53 AM CST
Don't be too hasty here. I don't anything about either, so I looked it up. It is too long to paste and it gets complicated. So here is a link...

http://www.gpnmag.com/article/...

I wish I could just summarize it, but I can't. I can tell from the article that Neem is related to azadirachtin, but is also referred to as its derived chemical. And that it seems to work on insect eggs while azadirachtin seems to kill by ingestion in larvae.

Read it and decide. I'm up too late to sort it all out.
[Last edited by Yardenman - Aug 20, 2017 3:34 AM (+)]
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