As usual, red spiders have attacked and killed most of my indoor
plants this winter. I can overwinter just about anything until about
late January or February, then the spider mites appear out of nowhere
and destroy everything. It's just about time to start planting seeds,
and I don't have them under control yet -- including the one remaining
pepino cutting that's still alive barely.
How to get them under control? I know most insecticides are not
effective because they are not insects. Will soapy water kill them?
How about nicotine sulfate? (I still have an ancient half-bottle of
that stuff.) Or just jack the humidifier way up so the air is almost
dripping in the grow room?
I think I'll try dunking in *very* mild soapy water first, along with
that humidifier thing.
Old saved post.
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Subject: Re: key lime tree
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If you want them all gone, and it is inside, get a large clear trash
bag, big enough to put over the tree and completely cover it.
Order the smallest set of lady bugs you can find on the web (but at
Cut the container for the lady bugs open, but do not dump them out -
cover the tree with the bag, and tie it off on the pot. Then using a
small knife - make a few small holes in the bag - to equalize the
pressure between the two.
Wait - one egg cycle for the ladybugs to do their thing. If it is spider
mites - about 3 weeks for the full life cycle - eggs are about a week.
If you don't like lady bugs you can try - Phytoseiulus persimilis -
commonly called spider mite destroyers.
I prefer lady bugs, because they are large enough to remove when done -
and they go after everything.
I normally put a straw in the bag and then use it to water - if needed.
I have them on my gardenias. I periodically spray with water with a
drop of dish soap in it. I think it kills them but not all and sets
them back so they are not a problem if I spray maybe once a week.
Few years back, I thought they had killed a gardenia but turns out it
was a scale insect that responded to a systemic insecticide.
I like to use warm water with a very small amount of dishwashing
detergent added. Use as little soap as possible, just enough to break
surface tension. Don't get the soapy water into the pots, plants do
not like soap on roots. Spray every 2-3 days to get it under
control. A one-time spray won't work on spider mites. Look for
predators of this mite, spider mites can be difficult to erradicate
but fairly easy to control. Spider mites hate water misting, but
(most) plants enjoy it.
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