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spider mites on indoor edible plants

 
                                  
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Hey all. New here, but have a question that's fairly urgent. My wife and I have some spider mites in our indoor container herb garden, and we're at a loss as to how to get rid of them. They already knocked off a pot of cilantro and they're starting to work on our mint plants. Anyone have any ideas?
 
                    
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From website Permaculture in New Zealand at www.permaculture.org.nz. Spider mite spray is the first one listed but listing includes recipes and preventions for a multitude of problematic insects.

RECIPES FOR ORGANIC SPRAYS

Washing machine water
Water from the washing machine can be collected and used directly on plants in the garden. This soapy water can be collected during the spin cycle and seems to work very well on tomatoes. Simply splash water over the plants to water and protect from a variety of pests.

Soap spray, Use for aphids, red spider mites, thrips
225g Plain soap 9 litres hot water
Grate soap and dissolve in water, stirring well. Cool before use. After spraying infected plants gently hose down with clean water. Repeat as often as necessary.

Pyrethrum, Use for general insecticide for white fly, scale, thrips, leaf hoppers. leaf miners, borers, caterpillars, beetles
Dried feverfew or Pyrethrum flowers Boiling water
Pour boiling water over flowers and cover. Leave to seep until cool. Make small amounts at a time and use regularly after the sun has gone down, as this spray can harm bees. This spray should be pale in colour.

Garlic, Use for ants, spiders, white fly, Beetles, leaf hoppers, scale, citrus bugs (stink bugs), caterpillars, aphids, cabbage and tomato worms
4 cloves of crushed garlic 1 litre water
Leave garlic to seep in water for several days before use.

Elderleaf, Use for fungal infections
Leaves are boiled in water for 20 minutes. However, I recommend seeping in boiled water and leaving for a few days as the steam could be hazardous. Dilute solution to a pale yellow before use.
Nettle tea, Use for white fly, aphids, leaf hoppers
Cut tops of plants, leaving roots to re-grow
Put leaves and stems in a pot with sufficient water to cover and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes. Cool, strain. Dilute to the colour of weak tea before use.

Seaweed tea, Use for mildew, fruit rot, rust and general feed
Leave seaweed to soak in water for 2 weeks before use. Dilute to a pale sherry colour.

Comfrey tea, Use for rust
Make as for Seaweed tea.

Chamomile tea, Use for rust
Use fresh or dried flowers. Boil in water. Dilute until very pale in colour. Cool before use.

Horsetail, Use for mildew
1 Tablespoon dried or fresh horsetail 1 litre of water
Boil for 20 minutes, then stand overnight or longer. High in Silica and vitamins so pour remains into the soil.

Bracken, Use for aphids
Chopped fern covered in water left to steep for 2-3 days. Dilute to pale liquid.

Wormwood, Use for aphids, leaf hoppers,
Use leaves over soil to deter slugs or make a strong tea. Seep in water for a fortnight. Dilute and spray to deter aphids, white fly, citrus bugs (stink bugs), caterpillars, flies and mosquitoes.

Onion spray, For spider mites, caterpillars, thrips
Place onions in blender or chop. Cover in boiling water. Cool and dilute before use.

Chive tea, Use for mildew
Dried or fresh chives finely cut steeped in boiling water until cool. Dilute and spray infected plants

Lettuce spray, Use for white cabbage moth
Boil up leaves. Cool and dilute before spraying.

My own spray
That worked miraculously well against white fly was made simply to give my plants a pick me up. But some how it cured the terrible infestation of white fly almost over night. It was probably the smell.

1 shopping bag full of seaweed
3 cow patties (fresh'ish)
A few vegetable scraps
Approximately half a bag of weeds
Steeped in a large rubbish bin with lid. Fill to the top with water. Leave for approximately 3 weeks. Dilute to a pale tea colour and spray onto plants

BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS
Biological controls can be artificially introduced however, plants that attract these insects should be planned for instead, as this ensures on going breeding sites and safe havens for the predator insects. The reason for no artificial introduction is a pure personal belief in leaving things to good planning and mother nature.

Some plants that attract beneficial insects are:
bottle brush, gum, rewa rewa, rata, pohutukawa, flax, kowhai, treelucerne, puriri, phacelia sp, eryngium sp, alfalfa, angelica, buckwheat, goldenrod, organic wild flower mix, milkweed, carrots, marigolds, celery, parsnips, anise, caraway, chevril, coriander, dill,
Fennel, lovage, parsley, queen anne's lace, daisies, tansy, yarrow, honesty, cosmos, alyssum, solidago and artemsiaas

BENEFICIAL INSECTS AND THEIR PREY

Lady birds and their larvae
Aphids, scales, mites
Lace wing larvae
aphids
Parasitic wasps (encarsia formosa)
Aphids, white fly
Predatory mites
Spider mites, two spotted mites
Birds
Grass grub, porina, coddling moth, pupae, leaf rollers
Hedgehogs
Grass grub, caterpillars

Hoverfly larvae
Aphids, caterpillar eggs, young larvae
Damsel bugs
Aphids, plant feeding bugs
Ground beetles
Soil insects, insects dropping off plants
Praying mantis
Any suitable insect moving past
Harvestman
Aphids, mites, caterpillars.
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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We've had good luck at controlling them with Safer Soap sprays. Also, if they seem to be spreading through your potted plant population, I would isolate (with a plastic bag or by moving to another room) the infected plants until they are better.

I'm not sure, but I imagine pyrethrin would also work.

Dave
 
                    
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spider mites and white flies have a tendency to get abundant
when the air is too dry. First you need to remove the mites with a forceful
spray of water from the shower  hose,, ( we are talking small potted plants -right)
a tight wrap of plastic wrap normally is all you need to keep dirt in pot
and plant still exposed.
after spraying the pests off the plant, increase the amount of humidity
in their area- bathroom is great place for plants in the wintertime.
If thats not feasible, put rocks in a container add water to almost cover rocks
and put plants on rocks. Sit open quart jars ( remember to change water occasionally)
of water around plants, mist them daily with a sprayer... just get the humidity level up and the bugs will not be able to get such a firm toehold as to be able to kill plants.
 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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it doesn't look like you need any more suggestions, but with aphids/mites/ anything that attacks indoors or greenhouse plants, i just move the plant outside for awhile.

i think to myself 'these little guys need some predators' and hope that some beneficial insects come by to regulate the system, then move back indoors. manually wiping off any offenders also helps quite a lot.
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 352
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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There are a few ways of controlling them, but none is easy and all are labour intensive.

Easiest way is to not have your plants indoors but outdoors, then you will have the problem under nature control (it really works quick, when you move the plants outside to rainy weather), but this does not apply for cold sensitive plants, or during winter

Second easiest way is to raise humidity of your indoor space and spray your plants almost every day with water (this really helps, but obviously not the most lazy way to go)

Third is to spray them with rosemary oil, neem, hot chillies and garlic, this will eventually kill them all if you are patient to spray them every day for a few weeks, and then be careful not to bring them back indoors

Fourth is to introduce predator insects and keep a high biodiversity indoors. The most effective predators are:
Phytoseiulus persimilis,
Mesoseiulus longipes
Neoseiulus californicus
Other predators include Feltiella acarisuga, stethorus punctipes (mite destroyer) and sometimes Earwigs, Pirate Bugs, Ladybugs, Green Lacewings, and Scolothrips sexmaculatus.

I still have my problem with spider mites and the only way I have used so far is to spray them with water as often as possible. If I forget to do it, then problem returns again. Or move the plants outdoors once in a while when there is rainy weather. The other sprays work, but I have not had the patience to go with the treatment until the end. And I have not introduced any predators yet, but I will do so.

 
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