Spider Mites

ken-n.ga.mts(7a/7b)May 11, 2012

I should have known. Three weeks of very hot, dry temps. I was out in the garden yesterday for the first time in a week (been a little busy with a sick 2 month old baby Love Bird). Saw the foliage in the center of a lot of bush's didn't look right. Checked and sure enough, spider mites. It was time to do battle with them with the best weapon I can use. My water wand. Every other day for 5 times. They'll be gone. My rose garden is in three seperate area's around my property, so it is fairly easy to take care of. Wash off the under sides of each bush with high pressure water, then take the water wand off and wash down each bush really well. This is the best defense there is against these little demons. Check your bush's every week folks. Spider mites are nasty little #^&>(%!~

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What does the foliage look like? Are they really spiders or what?

Glad there is such an easy fix. How's birdie doing?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:10AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Socks-- lower and internal leaves affected at first; leaves have a grayish pallor; on close examination have very fine yellow stippling; undersides look dirty with fine speckling and bits or mats of webbing. Mites and eggs are visible with 6x hand lens.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Trust me, it's spider mites. I use to fight with them during the summer when I lived in Fl. Had them also last year up here. I don't mind giving my roses a bath. They respond with beautiful foliage. And yes, I spray for black spot. My choice of roses, my choice to spray :) Socks---The baby gray slate (Love Bird) is doing great. Get a little weight on her & she'll be ready for her new home in about 3 wks. My wife & I raise hand fed, human nurtured Love Birds. Something besides roses.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Where do these monsters come from though? I can understand something being outside and attacking a plant, but they have always attacked my rose cuttings while they were growing inside on my window. Are they just always around waiting??

They are evil I tells ya!!!


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:13PM
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stlgal(south z5)

It is too moist outside here to be a great environment for them most of the time but indoors is a different story.

I wonder, like Maude, where they come from as any time I grow a plant that is susceptible indoors with forced warm air within a month or so there are mites. Maybe they hitched in on the plants? Maybe they can lie dormant for quite a while?

All I know is once they attack something indoors I usually can't beat it--neither water sprays or drenches or miticide can rid my place of the plague. I just gave up on sensitive plants.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 8:12AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Where do they come from? Spider mites are probably in every farm, meadow, woodlot, yard, and garden in the lower 48. They are on all your roses all the time. Usually they are not a problem. They will flare up on indoor roses because of the warmth, low indoor humidity, lack of rain, and lack of predators.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:55AM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

That sounds unusual to see them this soon. It's usually not until August when they get bad in my yard. You should still be fighting thrips ... then JB's ... then the spider mites come. Although, the thrips seem to be fighting for season-wide control over my roses. I just bought some of that new Naturalis stuff from Rosemania. Hopefully that will do better than the weekly regimen of Conserve and then Avid on the buds.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Maryl zone 7a

They attacked very early here. I'd have to get out my notes to see what month, but certainly at least 6-7 weeks ago. My pansies were covered with the white webbing to the point that I had to pitch them just as they were coming into their early spring prime. The newly emerging daylily foliage was covered with them and they defoliated one of my miniature roses before I got a handle on them. We had a very mild winter, and I'm assuming that they overwintered in the garden debris and exploded before I even thought about spider mites that early. Also we have quite a bit of clover in the yard, and I hear it is an attractant to them....As to where they come from. I asked the same question ages ago when I noticed them on the foliage of my Impatiens in a hanging basket. How could they "jump up" that far? I was told by Dr. Dickman that they can be airborn carried on spring breezes. So open your door a few times and they may be carried unknowlingly into the house....My plants were too far gone to do the spritz from the hose routine. I got out the AVID and after the 3 required sprayings got a handle on them...It's funny because last year, as hot and dry as it was (record breaking in Oklahoma), I didn't have to spray for them at all. Must be a cyclical thing....Maryl

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 12:35PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

stlgal ... Yes, you can save an indoor plant from spider mites, but remember, roses really are not indoor plants so are more susceptible to almost anything. If the plant is small enough, you can just fill your laundry sink, or, if necessary, your kitchen sink with water and set the plant into the water and leave it for a few hours. Indoor plants should be treated this way every week.

maryl ... You can save an outdoor rose that has almost been defoliated by spider mites by seriously washing the rose every day for three days to break the breeding cycle. (I have never lost a badly infested rose using this method.) Then wash the rose at least once a week after that. I wash my roses daily to help them tolerate the high temps in my climate.

Spider mites will arrive, no matter what time of year, if your garden is warm and arid. As michaelg stated, the mites are already on the plants. It just takes warm and arid conditions for them to start breeding.

I have one rose in my garden that they seem to attack first, so I call that rose my canary-in-the-mine and keep close watch on it. When I see the first sign of infestation, I start washing all of my roses very regularly.

My climate is the perfect breeding ground for these bugs, so I've had to deal with them regularly for years.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Appreciate the thought Roseblush, but as I said the rose was basically defoliated, so there were no leaves to wash off. Spider mites love bark mulch to hide in over winter, and I'm sure they were lurking there ready to tackle the new foliage as soon as it appeared......And perhaps I need to allocate my time better, but in spring especially, I just don't have time to run around every day spritzing off the underside of the leaves of every single plant that is prone/infested with spider mites (as I mentioned daylilies, also columbines, Impatiens and many more in my garden fall prey to them). AVID is a wonderful miticide that sprayed three times over the course of a month (1 week, 1 week, 2 weeks) kills them dead. It is also used to combat leaf miner in Columbines and adult Thrips. If you overuse it the mites will become immune so never spray as a preventative - only when the situation is becoming out of control. Many an exhibition rosarian can no longer use AVID because of overuse..... AVID's active ingredient - Abamectin- occurs naturally and is derived from the soil microorganism Streptomyces Avermitilis. So it could be loosely termed organic. And as an aside, you really need to blast the water on the underside of the infested leaves to dislodge the mites, not simply "wash" them off. And where those mites go once they fall to the ground is open to conjecture. I have used the water method many times, particulary on pot plants where you can tip the plant almost upside down to gain access to the underside of the leaves or when the mites just start to do damage. But for a full onslaught, I like AVID for all the reasons above. Didn't mean this to be so long, but perhaps some lurkers won't be as discouraged as I was before the advent of AVID when I was told to "just wash the foliage off" and it didn't work. I've been doing this thing we love called gardening since the middle 80's and have seen alot of attitudes change in the chemical department. Enough so to know no one has all the answers, and sometimes common sense, combined with IPM can make a big difference ......Maryl

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 7:07PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


There always lots of variables. What works for me in my climate just may not work for you. That's why posts like your post above are great.

I am now retired, but I wonder if I would have felt like I had time to spray my roses every day when I was working. Whatever breaks the breeding cycle is what works.

I do use a hard spray for the first three days, but have found that I don't need to be as careful after that breeding cycle is broken.

I still think of my garden as a "young" garden and do not have the other plants you mention in your post planted in this garden, so my infestation may not be as serious.

Thank you for your post. I think it's important for people to know there is, for the most part, more than one answer to a problem. As someone told me a long time ago, "There are a lot of right ways to grow roses."


    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 7:23PM
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