Letís learn a little
about our enemy...
Spider mites are arachnids, like spiders or
ticks. And like spiders and ticks, spider
mites suck their nutrition from a host
creature - in this case - our beloved pot
The earliest signs of spider mites can be
found on the lower, inner leaves - the ones
that are usually out of sight to the gardener.
These leaves will begin to develop
concentrated clusters of tiny yellow spots.
These spots are where the
have sucked the juices from the host leaf.
If you catch them too late, whole leaves
will have been sucked nearly to death. By
this time you will usually notice that the
mites have begun to build their network of
webs. The webs serve as spider mite highways.
If left unchecked for too long, the
network can span several leaves, and can
even cover your precious buds!
How they move:
Before establishing their web highway,
spider mites will simply walk to where the
food is. It takes them many hours to move
just a few feet, but thatís all the time they
need to find food in an unprotected garden.
What they like:
Hot, dry air makes for prime spider mite
breeding conditions. Although they can
do quite well even when the airís not
overly hot and dry.
What they donít like:
Spider mites canít stand cold temperatures.
As a matter of fact, spider mites
will actually fall right off of leaves when
the temps get down into the 50s. They
also canít hold on too well when theyíre
sprayed with water.
Spider mites spend most of their time on
the undersides of leaves. This is because
they canít take direct light for too long -
Spider mites lay their eggs on the undersides
of leaves, and these eggs will reach
maturity in between 5-20 days, depending
My garden is 100% organic. Therefore I
am forced to look for organic alternatives
for pest control. I found it in neem oil.
Neem oil is an oil extracted from the
neem tree of India, and itís oils have been
used for pest control and fungal control
for thousands of years.
Neem oil is organic and safe to use. As a
matter of fact, neem oil has been used as a
form of natural birth control by humans
for as many years as itís been used for
pest control. Itís use as a birth control is
interesting, because birth control is also
how neem works on insects... Basically
making it impossible for the next generation
of eggs to be laid.
Armed with what we know about how
mites move and breed, we want to spray
our neem wherever the mites might walk
or live. Youíll want to spray the entire
plant, stems, soil surface, and both the
tops and the undersides of the leaves. The
whole plant needs to be drenched to
ensure that there are no pockets of unaffected
spider mite population.
To get the job done right:
One spraying of neem wonít take care of
the problem, although the population is so
well reduced after the first spray that you
might THINK theyíre gone. Theyíre not.
Remember, neem is birth control, therefore,
the eggs that were already laid when
you sprayed the first application, are
hatching, and trying to get busy making
babies again. This means you need to
apply again. Most neem products will
instruct you to spray the crop once a week
for 3 weeks - for a total of 3 applications.
This should take care of your mite problems