Early Detection of Spider Mites

July 7th, 2011   •   No Comments   

Early detection is the key to successful treatment and nowhere is this more evident than in the control of spider mites. Spider mites are prolific little pests that are found in every corner of the world, damaging crops, household plants and ornamentals daily. The peak season for mites is during the hottest and driest months of the summer and year round indoors.

Most farmers are already well versed in these pests and know full well how to deal with them. The same cannot be said about many home gardeners. So for us new farmers, a successful plan to kill mites require early detection and diligence. This starts with a daily examination of all your plants by simply turning over the leaves and observing what you see. You’re looking for specific signs that tell you spider mites have arrived on the scene.

Spider Mite Detection

What to Look For

In the earliest stages all you should notice are little dark specks on the underside of your plant leaves. The protection of the underside of leaves makes a perfect home for spider mites to begin their feeding frenzy. Female spider mites, which caused the majority of the problem, aggressively lay eggs as they move around the plant. Since the eggs are one tenth the size of a mite you probably won’t see them with the naked eye but you should see the tiny little dark specks that are mites.

To confirm a spider mite infestation without magnification, simply hold a plain piece of white paper underneath the plant and gently tap on the leaves. If those in dark specks are indeed spider mites, they will fall to the paper where they can be more easily identified.

As an infestation progresses you should notice several other things. First and foremost is a general discoloration then tiny white dots scattered over the leaf upper surface. As the infestation advances you will also notice fine silk like webbing and ‘tenting’ on foliage. In the most advanced stages of the infestation you will clearly see entire sections of a plant void of any color and vitality. Hopefully, you can catch and treat any infestation before it reaches this point.

How to Treat Spider Mites

The first form of treatment we typically think of is a chemical miticide. While these are effective in killing adult spider mites on contact, they’re not always the best option and can leave toxic residue on the plant and greenhouse. A better solution is to use an organic treatment such as Liquid Ladybug that leaves no residue. Organic treatments are made from botanical oils which penetrate the soft body of the spider mite or inhaled into the body to stop the respiratory and digestive systems.

How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites Using Liquid Ladybug Organic Spider Mite Killer.

The biggest reason why this type of treatment is most successful is because it stops all living hatched mites without damaging the plant. When eggs begin to rip open due to the expanding nymph mite outgrowing its egg sac, (usually two or three days before the hatching process is complete), you have a perfect opportunity to destroy the nymphs before they come fully out of their eggs before they start eating.   In doing so, you shutdown the reproductive cycle preventing new eggs to be laid and provide a window of time to remove all the rest of the remaining eggs; which, if left untreated, would re establish the colony female.

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