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Sad Cathas spidermites still my problem???

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The big ones are two years old and the littles are less than a year. All of my new growth is coming out shrunken, dry, and brittle. In the past I have had mite problems with these results, but they have cleared with insecticidal soap/ neem oil spray. These plants have been getting treatments weekly and yet they still are ailing. Healthier looking leaves do sprout sometimes but they are misshapen and often speckled yellow. I'm out of ideas...

Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks!











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Hi Woodferret,

Spidermites have had a go at my Cathas aswell. I've not used anything other than misting them with a plant mister with plain water over a course of a week or so when I notice the little webs appearing. This seems to either stop them breeding or makes them move on. I'm not sure what they do but my plants have survived any noticable damage and are still thriving. Just make sure not to get the potting mix too damp for long. One of mine died due to that, very easily done.


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I would think it might be the treatment that is causing the damage ?

If the mites are gone stop applying the neem/soap. Just check the underside of the leaves and poke the little mites with a toothpick - if they don't scurry around then it is just carcasses.

There is a product called pyranica that I get from my local indoor gardening centre that is safe for use on food crops ( so they say anyway and the withholding period is very short too ) It is a kickass miticide that really knocks the mites for a six but does not harm the plant.

Alternatively with a plant so small, just manually rub the underside of the leaves on a regular basis, squashing any eggs or mature adults that might be present.

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the last 2 pics look like very much like broad mite damage. they love glossy/smooth leaved plants like chilli, capsicum, sapote and... catha it seems.

they are tiny, very hard to see with the naked eye, much much smaller than your common red/two spotted mites. Pretty hard to get rid of as they dont seem

to be affected too much by pyrethrums/insecticidal soapmixes, spinosad neem etc.

I think they are very sensitive to heat- something like submerging the foliage in 40degC for 15 mins kills all + eggs. (you'd need to research this for accuracy)

Also i think Bifenthrin insecticides knock them but has to be every 3 days to break the cycle.

...or I could be completely off track, in which case i advise to follow tipz advice :P

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Fact Sheet: Gardening Australia Expo - PERTH 08Sophie discusses solutions to common garden woes

Presenter: Sophie Thomson

Developing a holistic understanding of garden pest and disease problems is the key to becoming an environmentally aware gardener.

The key principle when looking at pest and disease problems is to understand that “Happy, healthy plants don’t get sick”. When we accept this fact, then the opposite is also true - that plants under stress are far more vulnerable to pest and disease attack.

In this way, plants respond in much the same way as humans - if we neglect proper nutrition and let ourselves get 'run down', we are more likely to succumb to a cold or flu. In just the same way, in most cases when plants have pest or disease problems they have been or are still under some form of stress before they succumb to the infestation. The appropriate use of water, mulch and fertiliser will in many cases have a beneficial effect on plant pest and disease problems, by preventing them happening in the first place, reducing the severity of the infection, and improving the plants ability to recover from any damage caused.

The principles of pest control are the same for every situation

1. Firstly you must identify the problem correctly

2. Then, you must decide to control the problem or not. If you understand the pest or disease, its consequences, the severity of the problem, the possibility of natural predators keeping the pest under control, and cultural changes which may improve growing conditions allowing the plant to naturally overcome the problem, then control may not be necessary.

3. Finally if you are going to control the problem, you must select the appropriate controls, with the lowest environmental impact. Control options include physical and biological methods, as well as chemical control.

If you have a plant which is troubled by a pest or disease, go through a mental checklist to establish an underlying cause.

Ask yourself:

Have I chosen plant that is appropriate to my local area?

Have I planted the plant in the correct situation in my garden?

Have I planted the plant at the appropriate time?

Have I fulfilled its water requirements, until it is established?

Have I nourished the plant adequately?

Are there any other cultural factors that I need to consider?

Once you have answered these questions you can then decide whether or not to control the problem.


1. Aphids The healthier the plant the less likely it is to be affected. The best method of control for aphids, and the option which is the most environmentally friendly, is to encourage natural biological control. Aphid predators include ladybirds, lacewings, parasitic wasps, hoverflies and birds. With roses always make sure they are in full sun with no root competition from large trees and shrubs.

2. Caterpillars As much as we love butterflies in the garden, caterpillars can be an absolute menace. There are many different forms of caterpillars that are common in the home garden. Woolly bears are the larvae of a native tiger moth. They appear in winter and love to eat a wide variety of garden plant, but especially oyster plants, daisies, chrysanthemums, cinerarias and pelargoniums. Numbers can be reduced significantly on individual plants by picking them off regularly, before they inflict significant damage. Cabbage Moth and White Butterfly larvae emerge from eggs laid on the undersides of leaves and can make a quick mess of winter flowering vegetables, annual flowers and weeds. If intervention is necessary, the most effective and least toxic sprays are bio-insecticidal sprays, derived from naturally occurring bacteria, that are effective at controlling a wide range of caterpillars.

3. Snails & Slugs One of the best methods of control is to collect them by hand and squash them. Other options include providing a barrier around plants that they do not like to cross. This can be done using wood ash from the fire, sawdust or sharp sand. You can also set traps with hollowed out skins of oranges or grapefruit, or saucers of beer. Sometimes snail pellets or baits may be necessary, but the main concern with these products is their toxicity to pets, birds or native animals. Use iron based brown pellets or copper based sprays.

4. Scale This is a common problem on a number of plants and again it is more likely to affect plants that are under stress. There are many different species of scale insects attacking different plants, but generally they are small rounded, sap sucking insects which look like an inanimate black, brown or white lump. They exude a sweet honey-dew secretion and it is in this secretion that an opportunistic fungus sooty mould grows. The mould gives the leaf and stem a dirty black appearance and eventually it can actually block the sunlight from reaching the leaf and thus affect the plants ability to photosynthesise. Scale is carried onto plants by ants which farm the scale to milk the honey dew secretion. The treatment for scale is to spray with garden oil, improve the growing conditions of the plant (which resulted in it getting the scale in the first place) and watch out for ants.

5. Whitefly These tiny little sap sucking insects can cause quite a bit of damage despite their size. Greenhouse whitefly is a common pest in the vegetable garden, loving to suck the sap from a wide variety of plants including tomatoes, beans and mint. Use whitefly sticky traps or simply spray the affected plants thoroughly with garden oil.

6. Mealybugs These troublesome pests attack plants that are under some form of stress. Their oval shaped bodies are covered with white powdery wax. They are found in protected places on the plant, often clustering where leaves sheath a plant stem or where leaf stalks join the plant, as well as in the soil. They are notoriously hard to control and prevention is always the safest option. Keep plants healthy by regular feeding and watering. If there is an infestation spray it several times with a low toxic systemic insecticide and follow this up with a soil drench of the same product, as well as improving its growing conditions. If the infestation on a pot plant is bad, it may be best to throw it away. Biological control, using a native ladybird, can be a very effective method of control in a shade house or indoor situation.

7. Mites There are a number of these tiny sap suckers that cause problems in the garden. Two spotted mite, also known as Red spider mite, affects a wide range of ornamental plants, especially roses, fuchsias and azaleas. These mites thrive in hot dusty areas, and especially where there is reflected heat from paths, pavers, fences and walls, and they primarily affect plants under stress. Ultimately, unless you take a holistic approach, treating the underlying cause behind the infestation, it will reoccur. If necessary use a low toxic miticide such as an insecticidal soap spray. Biological control, using predatory mites can be effective depending on timing. Tomato russet mite affects tomatoes and related plants such as capsicums, eggplants and petunias. The first sign of infection occurs on the lower leaves, which become dull grey or yellow and start to die off from the bottom up. This happens very rapidly once the weather gets very hot. Keep plants as healthy as possible and spray with an insecticidal soap spray or wettable sulphur.

8. Black spot on roses is a disease that causes concern for many home gardeners. Affected leaves will eventually become yellow and fall off. The roses will develop new leaves, however continuous defoliation of a rose may reduce its strength and vigour, however conversely if roses are healthy and well nourished they can fight off an attack without the need for intervention. The growing conditions of the rose play a big part in the plant’s susceptibility to this fungal disease. If spraying is necessary, use milk or an organic fungicide containing potassium bicarbonate.

9. Mildews affect a number of plants in the garden, ranging from roses to vegetables and fruiting plants and especially grapes. Prevention is the key for susceptible varieties such as grapes. Spray with a copper based spray or low toxic fungicide to guard your vines against downy mildew. Milk spray is very effective against powdery mildew.

10. Weeds. The best thing to do for weeds is to pull them out, and then, try to prevent them reoccurring. Remember that ‘One years seeding is seven years weeding!’ Mulch is essential here.



i've highlighted point 7 which seems relevant to your predicament mang.

I'd put them in a spot with more air flow and away from that wall/pavers in the picture.

Also if you treat them with something do not put them in direct sun or out in the heat until a few days after the treatment. Personally, they seem pretty small - i'd grab a bunger for ya pie hole and rub em out first.

sorry for such a big slab of info but it does contain some nifty tips for a range of issues.

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im with lok broadmites for sure

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Yeah I'm with Lokstok too, sounds like he is on the money.

I have only ever encountered Red mites indoors - totally unfamiliar with broadmites.

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Thanks everyone. I'll look into the broadmite possibility as I don't actually see any mites (you said they are really small).

These plants are against a hot dry wall and it is really dusty too! Maybe I'll move them for a bit to see if they bounce back.

I really was hoping that someone would point out that this was some disease or nutrient issue so that I could work on a different issue besides mites, since I feel like they are getting the better of me. No other plants in my yard look afflicted like these.

Thanks again!

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Ive always had pretty good results using flowers of sulfur to combat red spider mites. Not too sure if this works equally well for broadmites but the sulfur is super gentle so no harm trying it. I mainly grow Tulsi and she's super sensitive - sometimes neem oil burns her, but she has no problems with the sulfur.

I've also heard increasing the humidity can help too, because they multiply like mad in hot and dry conditions

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