Insects on Orchids - Spider Mites

Look closely. Spider mites are small and often difficult to see. If the underside of the leaves on your plant look dusty, or if you see little webs where the leaves meet the stem, plant probably has Spider Mites.  On Phalaenopsis the leaves develop tiny pits and look thin. Dendrobium leaves take on a silvery sheen.

Cousins to the ordinary spider, spider mites can develop quickly if they don't have natural enemies . They love hot, dry conditions.At 80 degrees and low humisity one female can lay 20 eggs per day. Eggs hatch in 3 days with young females becoming full grown and laying more eggs in as little as 5 days. This explains why a plant that looked clean and healthy a week ago is suddenly covered with mites. 

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


Controlling spider mites can be frustrating. They travel from plant to plant on pets, hands, clothes, and even air currents. Best preventative controls are:

  • Keep your plants clean with occasional showers in the sink (or the garden hose)
  • Hot, dry, stagnant air encourages population growth. Keep air moving, maintain adequate humidity, and lower temperatures will limits reproduction 

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 whether you see insect or not.

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



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