There are four techniques on how to get rid of spider mites on orchids successfully. These include prevention, isolation, spray, and the use of insecticidal soaps or insecticides. Keeping them in mind, you get the idea that getting rid of spider mites involves overall management and prevention.
Addressing pests is more comfortable in the greenhouse because of the control you have over the space in the UK environment. Remember that while hand picking of pests is typically the first solution for getting rid of them, spider mites are microscopic and hard to detect. Therefore, the following techniques would be more appropriate regardless if you have orchids indoors or outdoors.
It’s also worth noting that three types of mites infest orchid. Spider mites or two-spotted mites leave the leaves mottled with webbing, hence the name. In contrast, flat mites or false spider mites will have the same symptoms but without webbing.
Lastly, you can suspect broad mites infestation on orchids when you notice the yellowing of leaves.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites On Orchids Successfully
The first solution for getting rid of spider mites is prevention itself. Even if you notice signs of mite infestation, it’s still sensible to do prevention practices for them. For example, the American Orchid Society mentioned that these pests’ preferred environment is warm and dry.
Requirements towards the environment suggest using a polytunnel is advantageous since you can monitor the indoor temperatures and conditions. Society even mentioned that spider mites are more comfortable to address under high humidity, which means you can slow down their activity by controlling humidity and wetness in the greenhouse. To prevent, control, and make their removal more comfortable, mist your plant regularly.
Be mindful not to overwater the orchids, and a short warm shower once a month is ideal for their health and control of spider mites. It will also help if you decrease the temperature. Maintain the ideal growing temperatures of orchids but monitor the conditions to avoid creating an environment that spider mites love.
Once you notice infested orchids, isolate them immediately as recommended by the University of Florida. Isolation will make the spider mite population and activity easier to control as you are doing the next treatments. Allocate an area for isolation, and you can also use this later as a holding location for new orchids.
You also want to check the soil of the infested plants. Spider mites can thrive in the ground, so it’s best to remove the previous medium and repot to prevent recontamination. However, remember to flush the orchid plants’ root systems with distilled water first before repotting.
The most popular homemade remedy for getting rid of spider mites is by spraying or brushing the infested plants. Start first with water so that you can remove the microscopic mites from the orchid leaves. Mites tend to hide under the leaves as well, which means this is an area worth checking.
For this part, use a soft sponge and water to remove hiding mites. You also want to address the webs and eggs as much as possible. Spraying the infested orchids with water can last for up to six weeks as the problem persists.
Besides plain water, you can also use a soapy mixture for the foliage before rinsing them to further decrease the number of spider mites. The American Orchid Society even recommends alcohol and cotton swab on hard to reach areas. If not, spraying alcohol with mild liquid soap works too.
The emphasis is necessary that alcohol is adequate for low infestations and be careful with strong solutions to avoid damaging orchids. If your plants are soft or have thin leaves, it’s better to skip rubbing alcohol. An excellent solution to start with is 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part Murphy’s oil soap, and two parts water.
Insecticidal soap or insecticides
Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils
If the previous three techniques failed, you could consider using insecticidal soaps or insecticides. However, it would be best to constantly study the label instructions on the product before application. Try insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils first since they’re safer and pests’ resistance is lower before opting for insecticides or pesticides.
They are gentler to the environment and will be helpful in the early stages of infestation. However, they must wet the orchids thoroughly as they can only address spider mites upon direct contact. Reasonable consideration is neem oil mixed with water and plant-safe detergent.
With diligence to label instructions, miticides should address mites if the infestation is difficult to control. Check how often you need to apply and how long the intervals keep the insect population at bay. Be careful as not all insecticides are safe for orchids, and always move the plants outdoors to ventilate the fumes.
Seeing pests on orchids is very frustrating and almost puts us in a panic mode. However, there are four ways on how to get rid of spider mites on orchids. Start by preventing further infestation and then isolate the plants with mites to control the pest population.
Afterwards, you can spray the plants with water or alcohol if the infestation is at an early stage. If needed, you might need to use British insecticidal soap or insecticides. The only thing you must remember with these remedies is that it’s crucial to check the instructions before applying.