Spider mites on orchids are an issue that can happen due to dry conditions, not taking care of the plants, using nitrogen fertilizers, and the absence of natural mite predators. If you do not know the reasons for your orchids, our experts are here to help you!
Read on as we discuss these reasons in detail and help you resolve the crisis.
Why Are There Spider Mites on Orchids?
There are spider mites on orchids because of dry growing conditions, the plants not growing healthy, using abundant nitrogen-rich fertilizers, and the absence of predators to consume the spider on orchids, you should check the underside of the leaves.
– Dry Conditions
The spider pests, especially red spider mites, thrive in dry and hot conditions, so common orchids near a sunny window are most likely to receive them. Temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit are considered the optimal growing temperatures for the pest.
Furthermore, they complete their cycle in four to 14 days and develop faster, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a high reproductive potential, with seven to 10 generations if dry and hot weather conditions prevail. Their populations grow extremely fast with humidity below 70 percent and temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Insufficient Requirements
Orchid leaves become wrinkly and leathery because of dehydration caused by less watering. And the pests like it when the plant is suffering from water stress. Over-fertilization can also damage the leaves and make them brown, and this is where the pest attack would be encouraged even further.
Spider mites on Phalaenopsis orchids can spread to other plants. The flowers of the affected plant start shrinking with time if they are not getting enough light, water, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. Which means that when these are being given in an insufficient way, the plant is in a vulnerable position and weak.
The foliage may change color with the change in lighting conditions. Too much sunlight can cause the tissues to turn yellow or purple, depending on the species. Not getting enough light usually causes dark foliage to develop. If your orchid leaves are very dark green, it’s a sign that they are not getting enough light. Healthy orchid leaves are usually olive green in color.
– Excessive Use of Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizers
Applying too many nutrients can also increase the likelihood of indoor plants attracting pests, especially if the plants are given too much nitrogen. Over-feeding with nitrogen-rich fertilizers can also make your plants more vulnerable to the dreaded pest. They will attack more, because this is the mineral they are going to be after.
Plants fertilized with nitrogen fertilizers are more likely to be attacked by spider pests and other pests like mealybugs and whiteflies. It happens because excessive nitrogen leads to small compounds known as “funny proteins” for them. These proteins do not help the plant; they sweeten the sap, making it more vulnerable to attack by sucking insects.
– Absence of Natural Predators
Pesticides eliminate natural predators that are present in outdoor growing areas. They increase the nitrogen content in leaves, making plants more vulnerable to pest attacks. Now you will see that, various pesticides are available worldwide, and choosing one can be invincible. When selecting a pesticide for the pest, be aware that some types can increase the mite population.
Problems related to spider pests can often occur after an insecticide is applied to a different pest. They have many natural enemies that often limit populations. Insecticide applications may reduce the number of mite predators, which allows the pest population to increase rapidly and potentially causes yield loss.
The unavailability of sufficient irrigation could be better because water-stressed plants are most likely to be damaged. Broad-spectrum insecticide treatments for other pests frequently cause pest outbreaks, so these pesticides should be avoided when possible.
What Are the Solutions for Spider Mites Tackling Orchids?
You can eliminate spider mites on orchids by ensuring that you care for your orchids, using the potting medium correctly, using miticides to control the pest population, and applying biological methods to promote natural predators. This way they will become eliminated from the plant.
– Ensuring Basic Orchid Care
We all want to know how to get rid of spiders on orchids. To reduce orchid pest problems, implement sanitation and plant inspection strategies. By doing so you must adjust the plant to proper conditions, such as the correct amount of water, temperature, light, and humidity, can reduce potential pest problems.
Be sure to adopt practices specifically used for growing beautiful flowers. Regularly cleaning your plants’ leaves is an easy way to prevent infestation, and when you adjust this, they will decrease in their number.
By ensuring that your plants have a sufficient water supply and humidity in the air, you can discourage most pest species from feeding on your plants. You can also try to check a humid greenhouse as a good alternative, but for most orchid owners, spraying down their orchids regularly works.
Spray a fine water mist on leaves, then hold the plant to light to detect the web and any pests. Kill the pests with soap and water, dish soap solution, and rubbing alcohol. Spray these treatments onto your leaves once a week for at least three weeks to ensure the elimination of all pests.
Maintaining an adequate humidity level around your orchids also helps, as most orchids prefer humidity levels between 50 and 70 percent, which is almost possible with a humidifier, humidity tray, or other supplemental means. Make sure you manage the temperature around your orchids, and do your best to keep temperatures from getting too high. You may need to use a cooling fan near your orchids to keep the heat under control.
What you must also do is to move your orchids to a place where it receives plenty of bright yet indirect sunlight. If your plant’s leaves are white, it means your orchid is receiving too much light, and in the heat, the pests will increase. Move it to an area that does not sit in bright, direct sunlight, and apply a balanced percentage of nutrients only when your plant needs it.
Sanitation is another helpful strategy to prevent orchid pests from recurring. Inspect your plants regularly to check for pests by looking underneath leaves.
Rinsing off your orchid or using high-pressure water to eliminate the pests in the orchid is another option. If your orchids can handle it, use a high-pressure blast of water to rinse off the orchids. Do this early morning so the orchid potting media can dry before nightfall.
– Fix The Potting Medium
Proper potting is also important for successfully getting rid of lingering pests, and here, the plant’s roots need room to breathe in their containers, which is why orchids normally come packed in moss. As the medium or moss ages, it breaks down, squeezing the air pockets between areas ever smaller, reducing orchid growth and giving plants a generally unhealthy look.
Even when you decide to repot the plant, it is vital for orchid health as fertilizer and consistent temperatures are. Moreover, always inspect new orchids and other houseplants, for there might be mites on orchid roots.
– Miticides for Orchids
Many chemicals are developed especially for mite control. These are useful in controlling large populations of pests. Use these chemicals with care, and do your spraying cautiously so that you can get the maximum effect, however you must use them in an efficient way.
Most insecticide treatments will not be effective against pests because they are not considered insects but are part of the mite family. To eliminate them in your orchids, use a miticide or horticultural oil such as Neem. Spray a miticide treatment on your orchids in the fall and spring seasons. The treatment corresponds with when the pests are most active regarding reproduction and growth.
Furthermore, spray early in the morning and outdoors when using miticide sprays. Avoid spraying your orchid during noontime or when the sun is brightest and hottest. Spraying your orchids at this time could cause the orchid leaves to burn.
– Use Organic Pesticides
You can also use horticultural oil such as Neem, and this oil is an organic and natural treatment option for dealing with pests. It works by scorching the pests so that they cannot move around. Regular inspection of your orchids and early interventions can help keep the infestation from taking over and killing your orchid.
Neem oil must be applied to all infected areas for effective results, ensuring good coverage. You may need to repeat the Neem oil treatment once a week for a month to make sure you kill all the pests.
The general rule is that this is a safe choice and can be repeated treatments because of how it works incredibly and effectively as well. It suffocates the mites and other pests, such as aphids, and paralyzes them. Other horticultural oils can be used to kill the spider pest, as they are organic too, and work wonders as well.
You can also use Azadirachtin, a neem derivative, meaning it is derived from Neem tree seeds. However, it does not control pests the way Neem does. The major way Azadirachtin works is by eradicating the hormones of pests. It has a similar structure to a group of hormones known as ecdysones.
When insects come into contact with this pesticide, their natural hormones are eliminated, and when ecdysones are eradicated, the affected pests cannot complete metamorphosis. That means the spider pests cannot turn into adults, their life cycle is disrupted, and populations crash.
– Biological Methods to Encourage Natural Predators
Predators cannot eliminate an infestation, but they may be able to prevent one from occurring in the first place by preying on small populations of mites. To keep the predators around, you must release them more than once.
Another natural remedy is to release natural predators of spider mites around the plants. These include lacewing, ladybugs, minute pirate bugs, and predatory thrips. If you have a large outdoor orchid collection, live ladybugs are certainly an option that can be beneficial. In short, predatory mites effectively deal with a spider mite infestation for indoor and outdoor orchids.
Understanding why your orchids have spider mites is simple now that you have read our article and even learned how to solve the issue! Let’s sum up the main points so that you are fully prepared to help out your orchids:
- You can prevent the infestation by thoroughly inspecting your orchids daily, especially under the leaves.
- Ensure that your orchids receive the needed care to prevent pests from attacking.
- Using natural remedies like neem oil is an effective orchid mites treatment.
After reading our recommended techniques, you know how to get rid of orchid bugs and can certainly go a long way in ensuring that they never return. Now, let’s get rid of the mites!
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