Indoor flowers sometimes require a lot of care, but they decorate the interior nicely, and also add natural notes to it. Therefore, it becomes especially insulting when beloved green pets are affected by diseases. Today we will talk about spider mites, one of the most common pests. How to detect a parasite, which species are the most dangerous, how to get rid of a spider mite on houseplants and how to prevent its occurrence — in our material.
All about the fight against spider mites
What does an insect look like
Reasons for the appearance
How to detect disease
How to deal with a pest
— Using chemicals
— Folk methods
What does a pest look like?
It is difficult to notice the tick itself with the naked eye — it is very small in size, about a millimeter. Only adults, the largest individuals can reach 5 mm in length. The typical color of insects is green, although red or orange colors can also be found. For humans, the population of these spiders looks like a lot of small crumbs on the leaves (often on their inner side) or on the surface of the soil. Below in the photo is a spider mite on a houseplant under a microscope.
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Types of spider mites
- Ordinary. The most common species, which poses the greatest danger. It is extremely difficult to notice these insects — they have a light translucent color. Hiding on the wrong side of the leaf, the pests will multiply rapidly, and when there are a lot of them, they will not only entangle the entire flower with cobwebs, but will spread to the neighboring ones. That is, another danger is that
spiders easily spread from one flower to another if they are nearby.
- Red. This pest of bright red color is a lover of lemon trees, roses, orchids, azaleas, cacti. The periods of its special activity are in autumn and spring, when it is not too hot and not too cold. The red insect prefers dry air, so if you have low humidity in your home, this can help it spread.
- Atlantic. Various palm trees, citrus trees, and some other exotic species that require high humidity are susceptible to the Atlantic pest. He himself, like these plants, loves high humidity, so in such conditions it will multiply especially quickly. Frequent or excessive watering is a risk factor.
- False. These are the smallest representatives of the species. Adults are pale red in color, but since their size does not exceed 0.25 mm, you are unlikely to see them.
False spider mites do not leave behind a cobweb — this is another difference between them.. Therefore, many notice the disease when the leaves are already beginning to dry out and fall off. Citrus fruits, orchids, and passionflowers are most susceptible to this parasite.
- Cyclamen. These pests are also small and also love moist air. However, their difference is that they hide in the buds of plants, unopened buds, and other secluded places.
Leaves affected by cyclamen mites behave a little differently — they shrivel and curl. It usually affects various flowers: violets, chrysanthemums, begonias and others.
- Wide. This species also loves flowers — not only garden, but also indoor. Right in the soil near their stems, the female lays eggs, which after 2-3 days turn into larvae. Another difference is the presence of a toxic substance in the saliva that gets on the leaves. As a result, they become covered with a pale brown coating and eventually wrinkle.
Causes of the appearance of a spider mite on indoor flowers
There can be several ways of infection.
With a new plant from the store.A fairly common source of parasites, so it is better to put a newly purchased seedling separately — for a 2-week quarantine. During this period, monitor the condition, if no special symptoms appear, you can replenish the home greenhouse.
From the street.Often the insect is met by residents of the lower floors, where trees grow near the windows. This is the perfect way for pests to expand their territory with someone else’s houseplants. Instances growing on the balcony are at even greater risk. You can’t do anything with the trees nearby, so inspect the pots more often and more carefully.
From eggs laid long ago by females.You wonder where the infection came from if there were no new flowers, and the windows were closed in winter? It’s simple — female spider mites lay their eggs in the soil, and they seem to hibernate under adverse conditions. They do not manifest themselves in any way and can be in this state for up to 5 years! But as soon as the conditions around improve, they wake up and begin to infect the plant. As we wrote above, for some species, heat and dryness are considered favorable, for others, heat and moisture.
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Signs of infection
You might think that cobwebs on houseplants are the most telling indicator of a parasite. In fact, no: it will already testify to the imminent death of the seedling. When the insect secretes its secret, it freezes in the form of thin threads. Only when a large number of individuals on the flower have multiplied and, accordingly, they secrete many times more secret, can the web itself be seen. It entangles parts of the plant or, in the most advanced cases, the whole plant.
Therefore, the plant needs to be much more attentive. Pale yellow or almost white spots form on the leaves — these are places where pests dig their small jaws to drink cell sap. If you notice several of these spots — start treatment.
The sudden drying of the leaves, their loss of elasticity and healthy green color is also a reason to carefully examine the plant for the presence of spider mite eggs.
To make sure that an insect appears, inspect the inside of the leaves — as we have already noted, there will be small crumbs stuck there. Among them are both adults and larvae.
How to deal with spider mites on indoor plants
Now you know the enemy by sight and are warned about possible sources of danger. It’s time to move on to the main thing — the fight against him.
There are a number of drugs that help to cope with this scourge. All of them have varying degrees of toxicity and effectiveness. Consider the most popular chemical remedies for spider mites on indoor plants.
This is an active toxic drug that must be handled with care. Firstly, it is worth protecting your hands and respiratory organs, ideally wearing a protective suit. Secondly,
This is a good universal tool that will help at all stages of insect development. It affects not only adults, but also eggs — as you remember, they can hide for a long time, and then present an unpleasant surprise. However, one treatment for their destruction will not be enough, it is better to carry out two.
Just like the previous remedy, this can act on the eggs, preventing new insects from appearing. But
This is a biological drug. Its main advantage is less toxicity,
This is the newest drug to fight parasites, but has already become popular. «Skelta» has an excellent effect on all types of spider mites at all stages of its development — from eggs to adults. But for an excellent result, you need to treat the plant very abundantly with the agent so that the eggs die too.
If you do not want to resort to caustic chemicals or there are children and animals in the house, you can deal with a flower pest using home methods. Folk remedies are best used if the tick has already been noticed by you, but did not have time to spread much.
Foam whipped from laundry or tar soap with water works well, but only affects adults. If eggs were laid in the soil, then additional processing will have to be carried out to destroy them.
Beat up a thick soapy foam and apply it on the leaves — a film forms on their surface, preventing the spiders from breathing and eating. Leave the solution for 3-5 hours. Then carefully wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, removing the foam, or rinse the plant under a gentle shower pressure. After the procedure, it is important to keep a very humid microclimate around — cover the seedling with polyethylene.
An alcohol solution has proven to be a good tool, but it can only be used on a dense sheet plate. For example, for roses and petunias, you should choose a different method, but
Garlic is a folk remedy that helps in many cases, including spider mites. To combat it, you need to prepare a tincture for 5 days by mixing one grated head of garlic and 3 liters of water. Then the mixture must be filtered and used for spraying plants.
Onions are almost as effective as garlic. To combat the flower parasite, you need to soak 100-150 g of onion peel in 5 liters of water and also let it brew for several days. Then strain and use to process flowers — you can spray them and wipe the leaves.
It is not always possible to save plants from spider mites, especially if the stage of its development is already running. Here are some preventive tips.
- Inspect plants regularly for unusual symptoms.
- Place newly purchased seedlings in quarantine.
- Do not transplant them into old, already used soil.
- Keep an eye on the temperature and dryness of the air, especially during the heating season. There are mites that love high humidity, but most actively spread in heat and dryness.
- Do not neglect spraying, which will greatly complicate the life of spiders.
- Some disinfect purchased soil before use — not everyone will want to mess with it, but sometimes it’s better to spend time on it than to painfully get rid of insects later. You can disinfect the soil by freezing or, conversely, by calcining.
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