Spider Mites – Control

Purple foxglove overwinter

Spider mites are difficult to control in the landscape. Symptoms include twisted foliage, “speckled” leaves and tiny webs between leaf stems and main stem.

Butterfly bush, verbena, foxglove and several houseplants are common hosts for spider mites.

There are three avenues for control:

1. Wash them off. Spray plants forcefully with a water hose daily, trying to aim the spray at the undersides of leaves. Do this in the middle of the afternoon so the foliage can dry quickly and not be attacked by fungal diseases.

2. “Organic” control. Use insecticidal soap (click for sources) or horticultural oil (click for sources). The soap kills mites on contact. The oil suffocates them. Again, pay attention to the underside of leaves, where the mites are most numerous.

3. Miticides. The following homeowner products are labeled for mite control:

tau-fluvalinate  (Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control)
Bonide Kelthane
Bonide Mite-X

see Spider Mites on Ornamentals

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