I'm having severe problems with spider mites on three plum trees which
I'm maintaining in pots until I have a place to put them in the
ground. Nothing I have tried seems to help. Insecticidal soap kills
the beasties off; but three or four days later, they're back. Then I
spray them again, and the cycle repeats. With malathion, things are
much the same.
Since the trees are not fruiting this year, I tried a systemic poison
(disulfaton); after two months of application, it seems to have had no
effect at all.
So far this year two of the three trees have been completely denuded
of leaves, and have grown back a new set. Now they're losing the
second set. I don't know how much more of this they can take.
I'm looking desperately for ideas on how to control this plague!
On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 14:02:24 -0500, Jonathan Sachs
Spider mites become resistant quickly. Alternate Malathion, mitacide,
and insecticidal soap every 4-5 days. Make sure you spray under the
leaves. Your problem should get under control after 5 or 6
Thank you for the suggestions. I looked up "miticide" and found that
there are several different varieties: methoprene, hydroprene,
permethrin, probably others. What type would you advise me to look
I have found spider mites to be really difficult to control with any
chemical agents. Phisherman's rotation will work, but you need to keep
at it once you get started. You might throw neem in the regime. Spray
the trees regularly with water to blow off webs and mites, and various
residues. I have used Talstar One rotated with neem and insecticidal
soap with fair success, but I no longer use pesticides in my garden,
other than insecticidal soap and neem.
There are predatory mites available which take time to become
established but, in the long run, will resolve the infestation.
I used predator mites to eliminate spider mites on Brugmansias indoors
in the winter. There are numerous species which you can choose from,
based on a variety of conditions. Good luck!
Just having three different types is what you want. Your local
farmer's co-op may have a good product for mites. I have used "MiteX"
by Bonide (a mix of cottonseed oil, cloves, and garlic), Malathion,
and a home-made insecticidal soap (from Fels Naptha soap). All these
can be safely used on food plants. Direct contact with the mites is
required and a pressurized garden sprayer set to a fine mist is ideal.
Use warm water to mix up your spray. Greenhouses are particularly
subject to mass mite infestations. Use 5X magnifying glass 2-3 times
a week looking under young leaves.
I am trying that, so far with good results. I am alternating
malathion with insecticidal soap and a neem oil product. I started
with one application every three days, and I'm now stretching it to
every four days.
Any thoughts on how long I need to continue this, and whether the
application can safely be stretched any more? (Three days was about
the length of time the trees stayed mite-free when I was using
The trees have lost most of their second set of leaves, and are now
sprouting the beginnings of a nice third set. Apparently they have
some bounce in them yet.
The best, most reliable, and most effective miticide is a mites natural
predator like Phytoseiulus. Unfortunately you have wiped out all of your
beneficial insects with your attempts to control the mites with chemicals.
If you could just bit the bullet for a bit and let your natural ecosystem
recover I think you would have far less problems. Stop with the chemicals
and systemics- they are doing no good and are preventing nature from dealing
with things. Lay the pots on their sides and blast the foliage with water
every other day or so and be done with it. You will have a brief overgrowth
of spider mites but as nature comes back to life they will diminish to
manageable numbers. A water blast is all you need to control them in the
I too used to use a different chemical for every "pest". But in 1996 I
stopped cold turkey and after recovering my yard and plants have never been
healthier. Beneficial insects returned and began controlling the pest
species. Gardening is now fun and easy instead of smelly and toxic. Nature
I don't think the screened porch where these trees are kept has ever
had much of a natural ecosystem. If I were able to plant them in the
ground where trees belong, I'm sure the problem would go away. Until
that is possible, I will have to compensate for the artificial
environment with artificial pest controls.
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