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Pest Spotlight: Spider Mites

Signs of Spider Mite Damage


You may have spider mite damage if you see the following signs:

  • White or yellow dots speckled across the leaves

  • Fine webbing on your plants

  • Leaves look bronzed or bleached, and may even fall off


Commonly Affected Plants

While Spider mites can affect plants of all type, the following plants seem to be the most commonly affected:

  • Blue Pea

  • Tomatoes

  • Basil


Conditions that Spider Mites Love

  • Spider mites are more likely to become a problem on under watered plants.

  • Over-applying nutrients can also make your plants more susceptible to spider mites. If you’ve applied too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer, your plants are more likely to be attacked by spider mites and other pests. Excessive nitrogen leads to small compounds known as "funny proteins", that bring no other benefit than to make plant sap sweeter. This then leads to an increased attack of sucking insects like spider mites. To avoid this problem, apply a balanced spectrum of nutrients, and only apply what your plant needs. Moderation is key!

  • In optimum conditions, spider mites complete their development in five to twenty days and have many overlapping generations per year. The adult female lives two to four weeks and is capable of laying several hundred eggs during her life.


Treatment Options


​Use Organic Neem Oil Concentrate to combat plant pests and fungus. It is a non-toxic solution that causes insect pests to reduce or cease feeding, prevent larvae from maturing, and reduces or interrupts mating behaviour. Neem oil is a natural product of the Neem Tree, and is effective at killing fungal spores too. ​ Unlike chemical pesticides that have instantaneous results, organic pesticides like Neem work best when used as a preventive tool and as part of an overall Pest Management Strategy. In treating pest infestations organically, it is important to break the life cycle of pests by preventing any larvae from maturing and also preventing mature pests from feeding. Spider mites complete their development in five to twenty days. The adult female lives two to four weeks and is capable of laying several hundred eggs during her life. That is alot of spider mites to deal with! ​ It is important to use Neem Oil solution only in the morning or evening, when it is cool, to avoid leaf burn. ​ For Early Stage Infections How You’d Know: Only a few leaves are affected and speckled with yellow dots, no presence of fine webbing. Plant still looks healthy overall. ​ What You Can Do:

  • Prune away affected leaves.

  • Dilute neem oil solution as directed; spray liberally on both sides of the leaves once every 3 days for 1 week.

  • Reduce to once every 7 days for 2 weeks.

  • Continue as a preventive spray once every 2 weeks thereafter.

For Severe Infestations How You’d Know: Majority of leaves are speckled with yellow dots and looking bronze, presence of fine webbing. Plant looks unhealthy overall. What You Can Do:

  • Give the plant a hard prune and trim away all affected leaves.

  • Dilute neem oil solution as directed; spray liberally on both sides of the leaves once every 3 days for 2 weeks.

  • Reduce to once every 7 days for 2 weeks.

  • Continue as a preventive spray once every 2 weeks thereafter.



 

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