chubwolf
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Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: los angeles

red spider mites on tomatoes

I first noticed what looked like webs on one of my plants (in a container), but after seeing one of my fruits crawling with tiny mites I did some researh and figure they are red spider mites.
so I got some Bon-neem spray and applied that last night. I would really prefer some more natural way though I'm very concerned with harming the bees I have in my garden. The spray said not to spray when bees will be present at the same time and I sprayed just before sunset.

Any Ideas will be greatfully recieved

sam

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Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: red spider mites on tomatoes

There's been debate on these forums about the harm to bees when spraying neem oil, but if you avoid spraying it directly on flowers they regularly visit (so that they don't collect it along with the pollen) and you don't apply it directly to them, they should be fine.

You can also rinse away these sprays in the morning if you're still concerned about them. I rinse off neem oil because I don't like how it smells and it makes the leaves oily.

ETA: here's a very long thread about neem oil. I know the spray you used had additives, but I checked the label and it seems pretty much the same as the neem extract I used.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... f=39&t=925

imafan26
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Posts: 11261
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: red spider mites on tomatoes

Spider mites can also be hosed off with water. There are predatory mites and other beneficial insect that control them and if you spray you will be killing them too. Spider mites like dry dusty conditions which is why they appear in summer and not in the rainy season.

Spider mites are usually controlled with a miticide like kelthane, but it is hard to find.

This is a recipe for homemade spray. It needs to be applied every 7-14 days, it does not have residual and does not kill eggs.

1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 drops dish detergent
1/2 tsp epsom salts
water to make 1 gallon.

I use this alternate recipe because vinegar and lemon juice can be phytotoxic, but I will only resort to this if hosing off the leaves daily and feeding the plants does not work.

1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup 70% alcohol
1 tablespoon either neem oil or insecticidal soap. If temp is over 85 degrees, I use the soap as the oil can burn plants.
water to make 1 gallon.



https://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05507.html
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

chubwolf
Full Member
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: los angeles

Re: red spider mites on tomatoes

Thank you.
I'm in so. cal so it's pretty dry and dusty. so if I spray the leaves of plant with the hose when I'm watring do you think that will help? as I said it's very dry here so I don't think fungus or mildew will be an issue, but I'm very new to gardening so I'll take any advice.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11261
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: red spider mites on tomatoes

Fungus and mildew are problems that come from the humidity created by everything drying up after the rain. I thought it was the rain itself, but then I figured out that it could rain two weeks straight but the fungus only appears within three days of the rain stopping in the humid weather that follows.

In the summer, when it has not rained for awhile humidity levels are low and fungal problems are not as bad unless you are watering at night and you have planted too closely to provide adequate air circulation.

I inspect the plants when I water and I have a dial type pistol head. Showering the undersides of the leaves with water is not enough. It is best to use the jet setting so the bugs can be blasted off. this works with aphids, spider mites, and white flies. For mealy bugs, I have to use a scrub brush. Every day I go out to water, I check the undersides of the leaves especially of hibiscus, pepper, corn, and eggplant which are the usual targets. I also keep a zip loc bag in my pocket to bag snails, slugs and infested leaves to be sealed in and thrown in the trash. Sometimes I just cut the plants back because it is just easier to control the bugs that way.

I have not used anything more than alcohol and sulfur on my plants in the back yard for about three years now. I am not 100% pest free and never will be relying on natural controls, but I still am able to get a reasonable harvest and tolerable damage levels and I am not spending a fortune on chemicals that have to be repeatedly sprayed to control the bugs and switched out to prevent pesticide resistance. The only exception is slug bait and the snails and slugs are winning.

Sulfur BTW also kills spider mites but you need to be careful using it on very hot days because it can burn plants. I use the sulfur more to control fungal diseases and I spray within 3 days of the rain stopping.

I also have flowering plants to provide nectar, marigolds, dill, fennel, basil and other herbs to attract beneficial insects. I don't have as many bees visiting as I did a few years ago, but the bees do visit daily so I do not use neem. Unfortunately I don't have a toad or a chicken, hence I use a lot of slug bait.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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