Spider mites are common plant pests. They are among the most serious pests on both yard and houseplants. Spider mite problems frequently break out on plants grown where spider mite predator populations do not usually occur. This situation commonly exists in greenhouses. |
Prevention is both a practical and an environmentally sound option for spider mite infestation. One reason that spider mites become problems in yards and gardens is the use of insecticides that destroy their natural enemies.
There is some variation in the habits of the different mites that attack garden plants, trees and shrubs.
Maximize the health of the plant. Unhealthy plants are susceptible to a number of pests, including mites. Locate plant materials in appropriate places, giving serious attention to soil drainage, light conditions, watering, and nutrient requirements.
Adequate watering of plants during dry conditions can limit the importance of drought stress on spider mite outbreaks. Periodic hosing of plants with a forceful jet of water can physically remove and kill many mites, as well as remove the dust that collects on foliage and interferes with mite predators. Disruption of the webbing also may delay egg laying until new webbing is produced. Sometimes, small changes where mite-susceptible plants are located or how they are watered can greatly influence their susceptibility to spider mite damage.
Rogue or remove plants if they are chronic pest centers, attracting either insects or spider mites. This 1) eliminates a contamination source, and 2) relieves the need for pesticide sprays
Maintain an isolation room or area for newly acquired houseplants, away from other plants in your collection. Observe them frequently (with a hand lens) for a period of time. Remember, it is difficult to see spider mites or spider mite damage without a hand lens. Some plants may take several weeks to show a spider mite problem. Placing new plants with your collection immediately may result in disaster.
Avoid protective or preventive sprays for any pest. Do not use any pesticide unless it is absolutely necessary for mites or insects. Monitor your plants and react accordingly. If an insect problem warrants chemical control in the landscape, avoid broad-spectrum materials, if possible. For example, if a caterpillar pest is out of control, try a selective product containing Bacillus thuringiensis, which will kill only caterpillars and will not harm mite predators.
Natural controls will operate for you under the right circumstances. You can conserve their effects by avoiding unnecessary use of pesticides and by using selective materials when possible. Purchase and release of spider mite predators, such as predatory mites, can augment naturally occurring predator populations. Evidence supports the usefulness of this approach in greenhouses, but little work has been done to show its effectiveness in the landscape in our area. Organisms for biological control are available from a number of companies.
Remember, mites feed on the undersides of leaves, so chemical coverage must be complete on both leaf surfaces. When chemical controls become necessary, home gardeners have limited options. Insecticidal soaps have successfully controlled spider mites. However, repeated applications are necessary, and the results may be inconsistent. Two synthetic conventional miticides are available to home gardeners in mixes with other pesticides. Consult your local cooperative extension agent or another reputable expert before buying one. Finally, do not use insecticides as "miticides." While some insecticides are labeled for mite control, usually they only suppress mites. Continued applications can result in mite populations that are tolerant or resistant to the insecticide.
For assistance on the control of any pest, check out our main page here:
pest control west auckland
Related Articles -
pest control, pest controls, pest controller, pest controllers, pest control auckland, pest control northshore, insect control, control pest,