Kunta's spider mite advice

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Contributed by: Kunta wears a sarong
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Mites are by far the most hard to get rid of pests that attack indoor gardens-- weakening the plant and affecting yield-- badly infested plants yield poorly. I've used many methods to kill mites, everything from wishing they'll go away to spraying with toxic concoctions that would stop a charging rhino is it's tracks, some things I?ve learned are:

* Wear gloves and spray in a ventilated area-- have a good wash with soap afterwards.

* Shake the bottle before opening, take your time and measure out the exact ratio of poison to water.

* It?s best and easiest to attack mites as soon as you notice them, indoors they can multiply from just a few to being everywhere in a matter of 5 - 10 days-- hit them fast and hard.

* Make a habit of looking under leaves for mites and on the top of the leaves for pale coloured, groups of " pin dot " signs of damage, which usually begin on leaves from the bottom half of the plant-- a quick check for mites every time you poke your head in the grow room-- that's second nature to any grower who has been hit hard by them before.

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* Rid the growroom and it's vicinity of any other plants, or treat every plant in the house.

* Don?t go near your grow area if you have been outside and have touched other plants, always wash and change first.

* If you haven't got an adjustable pump up pressure sprayer/mister, get one-- a must for all growers-- use a medium fine spray with a strong pressure and spray both sides of every leaf, hold the pot up with one hand and spray the undersides from the bottom up, then spray the outer surfaces (I give the outside of the pot, the soil surface and the grow room's walls a spray as well).

* Spray with a specialized mite spray in the recommended dosages. There are several products available from any garden centre, the active ingredient to look for is "DICOFOL", it kills mites, and you'll never see one for 3 months end of story. One hit is all that is needed, I've never had a need to re-spray-- this stuff has residual killing ability.

In Australia there are two mite sprays that contain dicofol that I've used-- Hortico's red spider miticide and Garden King's red spider miticide, both are one hit wonders.

* Forget those garlic/tobacco/chilli etc sprays and other store bought "general purpose" insect sprays-- they never seem to win the war against mites or require multiple applications (I?ve never used neem oil or insecticide soaps).

They state on the mite spray bottles that with dicofol sprays you can eat treated vegetables 7 days after spraying-- as this poison is only used once (late veg or early flowering is as late as I would spray or would need to) and with 50 -70 days between spraying and sampling, there should be no health issues.

I don't spray outdoor plants with mites; I let nature take its course. Around the same time each year I'm attacked by the same type of insect, caterpillars, grasshoppers, mites etc. Conditions become ideal, they multiply, they have their time and then with a change in conditions and with the help of predators they are gone.

Fast growing happy plants with the help of natural predators will resist mites and the plants will outgrow any damage, if you spray poisons you may kill their predators as well, upsetting the balance of nature, causing re-infestations if conditions are right, any way, it's too hard to spray trees outdoors-- if the wind changes, you might get a face full of spray, and who can reach this high!!!!! ha!

Editor's note:
Horticulture soaps (Such as "Safers insecticidal soap), pyrethrins and neem have limited killing effect, although if plants are dipped, the killing % reaches 90%+. Multiple applications will be required.

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