Insects and Orchids - Spider Mites

Look closely and if you find little webs under the leaves or where the leaves meet the stem, or if the underside of the leaves looks dusty, your plant has Spider Mites.  On Phalaenopsis the leaves develop tiny pits and look thin. Dendrobium leaves take on a silvery sheen.

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Cousins to the ordinary spider, Spider Mites live for about a month. The love hot, dry conditions. At 60 degrees, one female will produce about 20 eggs. Increase the temperature to 80 degrees and her production can reach 13 million eggs! This explains why a plant that looked clean and healthy a week ago is suddenly covered with mites. 

Spider Mites are contagious. Adult mites are always looking for other plants. They travel on pets, hands, clothes, and even air currents.

Controls

Spider Mites love hot, dry air. Keeping humidity high and temperatures low is the best preventitve control. Where practical, give your plants a shower every couple of months with soapy water. 

Although persistent, spider mites are relatively easy to eradicate. 

1. Isolate infested plant - mites are highly contagous.

2. Give plant a shower with soapy water.

3. Repeat shower once a week for 3 weeks wether you see insect or not.

Prevention

1. Keep a pump spray bottle of water handy and spray plants everyday you think about it. 

2. Stagnant air encourages them beyond control. Keep air moving around plants.

  

 

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