this is from another thread at another site i slapped together (not wrote).. all videos i include in any posts are for the learning impaired.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites
First of all, you need to make sure that you have spider mites in your garden. Scorched looking leaves and leaf discoloration are amongst the most obvious signs. After you have seen these signs, take a white sheet of paper and hold it under a branch. Gently shake or tap the branch. Look at the paper. If it has slow-moving specks on it, your problem is surely that of spider mites.
In case you feel that the problem of spider mites is not too great, you can wait for sometime, to see whether it gets solved on its own. Insects like lady beetles, predatory mites and big-eyed bugs are natural predators of spider mites and can easily get rid of the problem for you. Since these predators can be killed by insecticides, make sure to spray them carefully and save the beneficial insect species.
One of the major conditions supporting the outbreak of spider mites on plants is dryness. So, make sure to give your plants adequate water, especially during the dry periods. In case of sturdy plants, you can even hose them down periodically. This will help in removing the dust on their leaves and thus, restrain the spider mite webbing that holds the eggs and leads to the break.
In order to retain moisture in plants, try to keep them away from late afternoon sun and arid weather. This solution can work mainly in the case of potted plants, which you can remove from direct sunlight and put under shade. In case of plants that are attached to the ground, try to provide them shade in any other way. For indoor plants, you can draw the shades or move them out of direct sunlight. Using a humidifier next to the plants is another option.
In case you feel that the problem is not going away by natural means, make your own insecticide and get rid of the spider mites. For the purpose, add 5 tbsp liquid dish detergent to 1 gallon water. Repeated sprayings will be required to kill the mites. While spraying, ensure that you do use it on the undersides of the leaves. This is because spray will only kill those spider mites that it comes in contact with.
Another homemade insecticide comprises of alcohol and water. For making the same, add 1 part alcohol to 1 part water i.e. use both in equal quantities. Since rubbing alcohol is poisonous, it will kill the mites on contact. At the same time, it evaporates quickly and thus, will do little damage to your plant. Make sure to use the spray on the entire plant, paying emphasis on the bottoms of the leaves.
If you feel that even homemade insecticide is not helping you kill spider mites, you have the option of using a miticide or other pesticide on your plants. They should be applied once every five days, till all signs of spider mite infestation go away. Remember that it is quite difficult to get rid of spider mites, even when you use pesticides. So, before using such harmful substances, weigh the pros and cons first.
Spider mites are not insects, but teensy eight-legged vegetarians. Under a magnifying glass they appear as red or green slow-moving spiders. If you smear a white piece of paper against the underside of a leaf infested by them, their bodies would be crushed and fine red or green lines would appear. This paper test is the fastest way to confirm that spider mites are using your plants as a source of water, food and shelter.
Spider mites hate rain, so living on the dusty undersides of leaves protects them and gives them a nursery for their eggs to hatch. A thin film of their delicate webs, especially visible in miniature roses, plus fallen leaves, is a classic indicator that your plants have been invaded.
And wouldn't you know that many of your favorite plants are their favorites, too: night blooming jessamine, dracenas, kentia and areca palms, miniature roses, plumbago, basil, pyracantha, cassava, crotons, junipers and citrus. First you will notice dead branches in your junipers or stipple marks on leaves marking the punctures made by their feeding frenzy. Bad cases will coat the leaves with that fine web that gives added protection to their eggs.
Chemical miticides can sometimes provide short-term control, but all these years of spraying Kelthane and other treatments have created spider mites immune to chemical warfare. These pesticides can still decimate populations of the beneficial mites that help break down organic matter and that prey on spider mites, plus wipe out good bugs such as ladybugs and lacewings and those cute little lizards that eat so many bad bugs.
One homemade "miticide" recipe calls for mixing 1 gallon of water, 1/2 gallon of buttermilk and 1 cup of flour. Spray this all over a plant. This mixture suffocates mites by the thousands, but it could get expensive if used all over the landscape. My favorite solution is old-fashioned water.
Watering restrictions allow for hand watering if a shut-off nozzle is on the end of the hose. A sharp coarse spray directed at an infested plant will blast off mites, their eggs and their young by the thousands, leaving them to die on the soil or mulch. Be sure to aim the water stream at the undersides of the leaves. Weekly watering does double duty by eliminating harmful dust from leaves and by giving all those beneficial critters a few drops to quench their thirst. (Baby lizards can eat quite a few spider mites.)
- John A. Starnes Jr., born in Key West, is an avid organic gardener and rosarian who studies, collects, cultivates and hybridizes roses for the diverse regions of Florida. He can be reached at email@example.com
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