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Old June 27, 2017   #1
b54red
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Default Spider mites

It finally quit raining two days ago and the devastation from EB was really bad. Went out this afternoon and saw little new EB after removing much of the diseased foliage and spraying with bleach spray and then Daconil. What I did find was about a half dozen plants with spider mites on them. It sure didn't take them long to take advantage of a little dry weather. I hit them with the Permethrin, DE, and Dawn spray just before dark. I will check my other newer beds tomorrow and see if they will need treatment yet or if I can wait a while. I hate spider mites.
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Old June 27, 2017   #2
MissS
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I'm sorry to hear that. You sure are having a rough year.
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Old June 27, 2017   #3
AlittleSalt
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Bill, I am going to echo what Patti wrote.

How can you tell when they are there? What I have read is they are very small and like the underside of the leaves.
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Old June 27, 2017   #4
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The only success I have had against Spider Mites is by applying Monterey Garden Insect Spray early on before a major infestation occurs. Be sure to get the one with Spinosad:



(Once you see piles of their "sugar-like" droppings, it is too late).

Raybo

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Old June 27, 2017   #5
b54red
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Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Bill, I am going to echo what Patti wrote.

How can you tell when they are there? What I have read is they are very small and like the underside of the leaves.
The first indication is usually some paling of a few leaves and some light colored stippling showing on the top of the leaves. The leaves infested with them will appear somewhat pale and not as healthy as they should and might look a bit dry. That is about the best I can describe what I look for as first indicators of spider mites. When they get bad it is pretty obvious what the problem is but by then major damage will have been done to the plant. Spotting them early and treating them aggressively is the only way to really control them well. The mix of Permethrin, food grade DE and Dawn dish washing liquid is extremely effective if used early enough and reapplied if it rains or the spider mites return which is not unusual. It doesn't require a long wait time between application and harvest and with the addition of the DE it is fairly long lasting in its effect on spider mites. The problem with most sprays with poisons that are acceptable for food products is that they don't remain effective for long enough to take care of the new mites that come from the eggs so frequent spraying is usually necessary to break their life cycle.

I have not really had a bad season so far. I have had more big pretty tomatoes come off my plants this season than any year I can remember. It has rather been spectacular except for the last week or so because the constant rains finally took their toll on my older plants with rampant EB but not before we had a wonderful harvest of big beautiful tomatoes. I know better than to expect the beautiful plants and great production to remain constant in our climate so I was thankful it lasted as long as it did. Now I am in the normal disease and pest fighting mode which down here usually starts much earlier than it did this year. I still have three smaller beds that were planted latter than the first big planting and I plan to plant at least one more small bed before August so I should make enough to keep us in fresh eating tomatoes right through to cold weather. Of course if the rains keep coming then all bets are off but if I don't make another tomato this year I will still have had one of my best tomato seasons ever.

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Old June 28, 2017   #6
Sun City Linda
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Bill your spray has been helpful to me this year. I typically see mites or their damage during my long dry growing season here in SoCal and I can tell it really makes a difference. Thanks!
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Old June 28, 2017   #7
b54red
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Bill your spray has been helpful to me this year. I typically see mites or their damage during my long dry growing season here in SoCal and I can tell it really makes a difference. Thanks!
Linda I wasn't the one to come up with spraying DE as a poison in a solution with water. I can't remember who first mentioned it on this site but I tried it and loved it; but found the 1/4 cup mentioned was not nearly enough to be really effective when the mites were bad. I upped the amount until I started having trouble with my sprayer clogging and then backed off a bit to come up with 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup to a gallon.

Before I would switch back and forth between two or three different poisons and other things every three days trying to stop spider mites. Too much neem oil was a problem and so was using a lot of soap every three days. Permethrin had shown it was effective against the adults for a very short time if enough soap was added but it didn't stop them long because of the mites eggs hatching out continuously. I was surprised how well adding the DE to the mix increased the killing of mites and more importantly the length of time it kept killing them. I also found that using this mix was the perfect solution to thinning out other pests like stink bugs, leaf footed bugs, aphids, flea beetles and whiteflies and the real bonus was how few times it had to be used. I found it even helped with those pesky little foliage worms that can decimate tomato and pepper plants.

The downside of the mix is it kills pretty much everything good and bad in the insect world. I do try not to start using it before the ladybugs abandon my garden which they do every year as soon as it gets hot. I did not see any drop in my honey bees but I always sprayed it late in the evening and didn't use it on squash which is where most of them are found in my garden.

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Old June 28, 2017   #8
TexasTomat0
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I've been battling spider mites for a few months now, using the same combo. It knocks them out but they keep on coming back. We've had a really dry few weeks up until this past weekend when it poured. Seems like once they get into a plant they're nearly impossible to get ride of.

It's tedious making sure to hit every single underside of the leaf, wish they'd hang out on the tops so they were easier to spray.


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Old June 29, 2017   #9
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Quote:
DE as a poison in a solution with water
Is there some mechanism of lethality other than abrasion/cutting? Usual advice is that wetting diatomaceous earth renders it ineffective.

Maybe this is the answer:

When the mixture dries, it has the same dehydrating powers as the original dry dust. When sprayed wet the material covers the foliage and other surfaces better than dusting dry, thus giving better insect control. It seems to last longer when applied wet but the dry application is usually more effective at killing insects quickly. DE has no insect killing power while it is wet.https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Di...arth_vq307.htm

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Old June 29, 2017   #10
Dewayne mater
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Most years spider mites end up winning the war for my Spring tomatoes. So far, I'm winning this year. I've been aided by some June rain, some overcast skies that kept temps down, and vigilance. This year that has meant neem with permethrin alternating with Take Down insect spray (pyretherins and oil) from Monterrey with soap. I haven't had any luck with Spinosad on spider mites. I plan to use D.E. next spraying for an alternative. I also remove badly infested leaves and make sure they head to the landfill. A few times, I've also gone out and sprayed my plants with water to the point of being soaked in the heat of the afternoon. Spider mites don't care for wet conditions, but, you have to be careful about spreading fungal disease too.

Last year I used a couple of types of beneficial nematodes (cool weather, then hot weather types) and that seemed to help too.

I'm not feeling great about the use of poisons, but, I am feeling good about winning, so far.
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Old June 29, 2017   #11
b54red
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Originally Posted by Dewayne mater View Post
Most years spider mites end up winning the war for my Spring tomatoes. So far, I'm winning this year. I've been aided by some June rain, some overcast skies that kept temps down, and vigilance. This year that has meant neem with permethrin alternating with Take Down insect spray (pyretherins and oil) from Monterrey with soap. I haven't had any luck with Spinosad on spider mites. I plan to use D.E. next spraying for an alternative. I also remove badly infested leaves and make sure they head to the landfill. A few times, I've also gone out and sprayed my plants with water to the point of being soaked in the heat of the afternoon. Spider mites don't care for wet conditions, but, you have to be careful about spreading fungal disease too.

Last year I used a couple of types of beneficial nematodes (cool weather, then hot weather types) and that seemed to help too.

I'm not feeling great about the use of poisons, but, I am feeling good about winning, so far.
The only poison that I found effective by itself was Malthion but with its longer wait times and its tendency to burn tomato leaves when used at the strengths necessary to kill spider mites I quit using it years ago. By adding the DE and a good TBS of Dawn I am getting even better results with the much milder Permethrin and it is much safer to use. The mites don't build up any resistance to DE that I can see.

Bill
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Old June 29, 2017   #12
b54red
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTomat0 View Post
I've been battling spider mites for a few months now, using the same combo. It knocks them out but they keep on coming back. We've had a really dry few weeks up until this past weekend when it poured. Seems like once they get into a plant they're nearly impossible to get ride of.

It's tedious making sure to hit every single underside of the leaf, wish they'd hang out on the tops so they were easier to spray.


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I found several things that will help with keeping the mites off for a much longer time. One is to spray with the mix of Permethrin, Dawn and DE and then remove most of the damaged leaves over the next few days then repeat the spraying so you get any leaves you might have missed the first time.

Made sure you are getting as much of the food grade DE into your sprayer as it can handle without clogging constantly. I have found that the heavier the film of DE that shows up when the plants dry the more effective it is. Also make sure to use the Permethrin in a strong enough combination for it to kill the adults quickly.

There is no way to keep the mites off for too long because new ones will come in on the wind and start the whole mess over again within a few weeks if the weather stays dry. I am actually shocked to see them show up this quickly with only two days without rain. I rarely have a problem with them when the weather stays wet but this year they have started moving in despite the wet weather. It started back raining a bit again today and it cooled off so maybe that one spraying that I did will do the trick but I'm afraid I will need to repeat it since a lot of the DE got washed off last night and today.

Bill
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Old June 30, 2017   #13
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Raybo, what do you mean by the mites' "sugar-like" droppings? Can you actually SEE their droppings? The spider mites are so tiny they are almost like gritty dust, I don't think I could ever see their droppings Do they sparkle in the sun or something?
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Old June 30, 2017   #14
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do you all ever scout the rest of the garden and remove weeds or even desirable plants that harbor spidermites? if you aren't getting rid of colonies being hosted by other plants reinfestation is imminent. I have a couple elephant ear plants... spidermites LOVE these plants. I have to make sure I am not allowing them to host mites ever. I like the plants so I want to keep them otherwise I would toss them in a heartbeat.
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Old June 30, 2017   #15
b54red
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I have found spider mites just covering some weeds and so now I keep them killed down regularly with a bit of Roundup; but that doesn't help with what my neighbors have growing. I don't think it is possible to remove all the surrounding sources of spider mites and they are so small I just know instinctively that they must blow in with the wind or rain. The best option is to remain vigilant and react quickly and decisively when you first see signs of them appearing. Most people around here just give up on their tomatoes around the first of July so there are plenty of host plants for them to breed uncontrollably on. Usually they aren't a big problem until after July and I am one of the few people I know around here that continues to grow through the heat of the summer so I just have to keep fighting them when they show up and they usually do.

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