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Old August 7, 2018   #1
peebee
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Default I Beat the Spider Mites this Year! Yipppee!

After 3 years of enduring spider mites in my garden, I can finally say I think I found a way to get rid of them. Or rather, to prevent them. I had done lots of research over the course of a year, and then I found an article in the L.A. Times about how the Huntington Gardens handled their spider mite problem. And the weapon was: Water!
Yes, I blasted the undersides of leaves AND watered my plants from the top. What did I have to lose? The mites got my plants all the time by sometime in July. I had tried everything: neem, soap, food grad DE spray, different insecticides, or a combination of all. Nothing worked and I worried as I read that mites only get stronger after spraying. Plus these methods were killing the beneficials too.
Disclaimer: my method worked for me as I only had about 25 plants to tend to. I also planted early, in late March but I think I will go back to April next year to avoid thrips which killed about 3 good plants. . I set my nozzle to the Flat setting, and sprayed sometimes daily when hot, otherwise maybe twice a week. The weather is hot and dry here, so I tried to replicate the humid wet conditions spider mites don't like.

My season is over but I am doing fall tomatoes now. The tomatoes in my office garden are covered in mites now as I didn't do the water spraying there. So I am hopeful that this simple water spraying will be effective from now on. To me it is the best method yet--cheap, easily available, non-toxic, and easy. No mixing, spraying etc. But it must be done from the very early stages of growth. Spider mite eggs might be in the soil and the adults can also appear on the wind.

Just wanted to post this in case others might want to try it. I am just so happy I had no spider mites on my tomatoes this year. Yes they are on other ornamentals but I did not blast those with water.
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Old August 7, 2018   #2
b54red
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Good for you but it isn't a viable option down here in the hot humid south. I sometimes use a water spray but try not to do it unless conditions are unusually hot and dry because the foliage diseases love our humid conditions and the more frequently the plants are wet the worse they get. If a fungicide is not kept on the plants the diseases will quickly move in and take over when the weather is hot and humid which is almost always. When the humidity is as high as it usually is down here the plants just have a hard time drying out. Even though the air is humid and the plants are usually dripping water in the mornings it doesn't seem to slow down the spider mites too much though they definitely are worse when it is very dry. I have found that to combat spider mites over a long season it is best to alternate treatments because they do become resistant over time. I use soapy water, neem oil, Permethrin, DE, plain water, and even essential oils in my efforts to combat them; but I have to always keep fungicides on the plants during this time of the year or they will quickly succumb to all the usual foliage diseases.

I hope your treatment of water spraying keeps working for you and consider you very fortunate if it does.

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Old August 7, 2018   #3
brownrexx
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That is the treatment that we use here to get rid of aphids and it works on them too. They are too small and weak to get back onto the plants when you blast them off with a stream of water.
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Old August 7, 2018   #4
saltmarsh
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peebee, thanks so much for this post.

For years I've been reading about the problems people have with spider mites and the plants lost to them.

I'm located in North Mississippi and have never had a problem with spider mites. No experience with them, so no advice to offer. I normally don't try to kill insects or animals. What I try to do is confuse and deter them so they don't eat my plants or lay their eggs on them. The primary way I do this is with a Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, and Ground Sage tea. The tea repels Deer, Racoons, Possums, birds and most insects.

You may have noticed when you get hungry you find something to eat. Insects and animals are the same way. If the only thing growing in your garden is your vegetables, what do you think they are going to eat? I let the grass and weeds grow in my garden to act as a living mulch and food for the insects and animals. I spray the tea on my plants but not on the grass and weeds.

I use the tea starting at transplant and when planting seeds (it masks the odor of the seeds so animals and birds can't find them and dig them up).

To use the tea, spray all of the plants and especially the underside of the leaves to the point of runoff. Repeat every week to 10 days to cover new growth.

If I ever have a problem with Spider Mites I'll know what to do. Thanks again, Claud

Last edited by saltmarsh; August 7, 2018 at 11:06 AM.
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Old August 7, 2018   #5
Barb_FL
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I don't get spider mites but for the last 2 years I've had tomato russet mites.

I did something similar to you except I used a hose end sprayer and blasted them with water/ kelp in the evenings. At one point I did it 4 days in a row. I used powered kelp so it was really inexpensive.

I also bought a Fogg It Nozzle https://www.amazon.com/Fogg-It-Nozzl...=mister+nozzle

that I used sometimes during the day with plain water but would more often just adjusted the regular hose nozzle to a flat, etc spray pattern. I had intended on attaching the Fogg It to the hose end sprayer but that didn't work as planned.

I live in a hot / humid area but get a lot of wind and found no ill effects from having wet leaves. It must be the wind or being close to the ocean.
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Old August 8, 2018   #6
peebee
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To all who replied here, yes I consider myself very fortunate for living in a climate where this water blasting is an option. Definitely it will not work for everyone.
The curators at the Huntington Rose Garden were my inspiration. Because of our ongoing drought (6 years plus now) they have had to adjust watering and fertilizing. The roses that exhibited any foliage problems due to the overhead watering were culled; only the strongest remain.
Of all my tomatoes, the only one that had gray mold from the get-go was Esterina. The Sungold next to it was fine. But I'll grow it again next year in a different spot just to be sure.
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Old October 22, 2018   #7
Salsacharley
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Spider mites have gone wild in my neck of the woods.
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Old October 22, 2018   #8
AlittleSalt
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A mighty spider there.

Peebee, this is my first time seeing this thread, and I'm glad it worked for you.
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Old October 22, 2018   #9
ginger2778
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Originally Posted by Salsacharley View Post
Spider mites have gone wild in my neck of the woods.
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Old November 9, 2018   #10
Barb_FL
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I'm just rereading this thread. As I previously mentioned, I don't get spider mite but for the last 2 seasons got Tomato russet mites.

Our season is in full swing now; I never noticed them until January but want to keep on top before I get them.

I'm doing the blast daily as an attempt to avoid them; I will switch to 'flat' on the hose nozzle starting tomorrow.
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Old November 9, 2018   #11
seaeagle
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First time reading this thread too. Amazing what a blast of water will do. Also works on white flies. I posted this in the white fly thread last year. This method is not new. I think I first saw it on the Farmers Almanac website.


I wonder why this treatment isn't being sold at Home Depot
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Old November 10, 2018   #12
peebee
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Whoever tries this in a region where you get a lot of foliage disease, it would be really interesting if you could do a side by side test to see if overhead/under leaf waterings lead to more disease. I was very happy to see that overhead watering did not affect my plants except for that lone Esterina.
Barb_FL, let us know your results on water blasting. I did mine mostly in the morning or during the day so that the plants had ample time to dry, just in case. But I did on some early evenings also. Good luck to you!
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Old November 10, 2018   #13
Barb_FL
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Originally Posted by peebee View Post
Whoever tries this in a region where you get a lot of foliage disease, it would be really interesting if you could do a side by side test to see if overhead/under leaf waterings lead to more disease. I was very happy to see that overhead watering did not affect my plants except for that lone Esterina.
Barb_FL, let us know your results on water blasting. I did mine mostly in the morning or during the day so that the plants had ample time to dry, just in case. But I did on some early evenings also. Good luck to you!
Did the blast with the flat setting today.

For some reason I don't get foliar diseases; Maybe b/c I'm really close to the ocean and get a lot of wind.

I did the blast method last year when I already had Russet Mites; water blast during the day and in the evenings sometimes I did a blast with soluble kelp (hose end sprayer). Some of those nights were cold too and I never saw foliar diseases even then. The Kelp spray did not rid the plants of Russet Mites, but I thought it kept it at bay; at least I had a lot of fruit set.

I started with the water blast in the spring of '16-17 season when I already had russet mites too. Looking back, '16-'17 season was my best season ever. '17-'18 I grew much less plants and way less fewer varieties.

When we have heavy dew from overniight on the plants; it is gone by 8:30 AM (or even earlier).

---
My new test is to do the water blast BEFORE I get the russet mites.
peebee, It's like everything they told us about getting the leaves wet doesn't matter.

Last edited by Barb_FL; November 10, 2018 at 01:44 PM.
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Old November 11, 2018   #14
b54red
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I tried the water blasting last year on my peppers in desperation to control a bad aphid infestation and in hopes some natural predators would come along and take care of them instead of having to resort to any poisons. It did work to control the aphids but it required spraying almost every day for nearly three weeks before the aphids slacked off. I can't say for sure but I had the worst year of BLS on my peppers last year that I have ever had and by mid summer most were dead from it. This year I didn't spray my peppers with water but once or twice and instead went for a mild soapy water and Permethrin mix to control them. I waited til late in the day to use it but had to respray several times but got them under control and had almost no BLS this year and most of my peppers are still producing and looking fairly healthy. I don't know what I will do next year but would love a reprieve from the annual aphid invasion that hits my bells most years. Thankfully since going to the single stem and lean and lower system of supporting my tomatoes, aphids haven't been a problem on tomatoes. I sometimes find a few on one or two plants in late spring but they are easily controlled with just a little hand spraying on just those few plants.

I was able to save most of my plants from spider mites this year with my Permethrin, soapy water and DE spray alternating with a neem oil spray. Thankfully they weren't as bad as some years so I only lost a couple of plants. With decades of fighting mites I can usually spot them before they get too bad and act quickly to get them under control. I think spotting them early and getting started on controlling them as soon as possible is a big step in winning the war with mites.

Bill
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