Mites

mcpesq817

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So it looks like I have a mite problem. They aren't spider mites, as these are a dull brown and not red. They also don't live in the foliage - they congregate right underneath my fertilizer cakes (I did the white paper test to make sure they weren't in the foliage, and none showed up).

I went ahead and removed the fertilizer cakes, and used a mite oil spray on the soil surface as well as on the canopy just to be safe. Given that these guys seem to only live under the fertilizer cakes, I had a couple of questions:

1. Is there something I can put on the soil (or water into the soil) to get rid of the mites? I'm not sure I'm getting them all just by spraying the surface, and not to mention, it's not cheap to spray all my pots every few days.

2. If I use fertilizer cakes in the future, is there some sort of insecticide I can put into them to avoid this from happening in the future?

The interesting thing is that I got the infestation across all my benches, even one that is about 30 feet away from the others, and in all my pots, regardless of species. The only common element I can think of at the moment is that I put the new batch of cakes on my trees a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps the cake mix was infiltrated with mite eggs before I made the cakes and put it on my trees?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I'll remember to wear gloves next time I spray, since my hands reek like that oil spray :( Thanks!
 

bonhe

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Hi Mcpesq817, a picture of this insect may help. Do you see any change on your trees? I wonder if this "mite" will cause the problem for your tree. You can look around, there are so many living things in the garden, and that doesn't mean that they will cause a harm to the trees or human. Bonhe
 

greerhw

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How can you be sure they're mites ? Collect a few and expose them to different chemicals and see what kills them.

keep it green,
Harry
 

mcpesq817

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Hey guys,

I'd take a picture but the things are so tiny that my camera probably won't be able to pick them up well. I'm pretty sure they are mites - I brought a sampling to a friend who's very knowledgeable about bonsai, as well as to a garden center, and they both were pretty sure they were some type of mites.

I don't think they are causing damage to my trees - the biggest infestation seems to be in the section of my benches where my pines are, but my pines are looking really strong at the moment. I'm hoping that they were just interested in my fertilizer cakes, and that by removing them, they'll find someplace else to camp out.
 

bonhe

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Hey guys,



I don't think they are causing damage to my trees - the biggest infestation seems to be in the section of my benches where my pines are, but my pines are looking really strong at the moment. I'm hoping that they were just interested in my fertilizer cakes, and that by removing them, they'll find someplace else to camp out.
So, you don't need to spray them out. If I was you, I would continue using fertilizer cakes.
Bonhe
 

head_cutter

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Bohne is probably right. What you have is a common mite and not the two spotted red spider mite, they only run at about half the speed of the red. At least you know what they like to eat!

I've never had them do any damage to anything I have except, they will really get active and destroy the blossoms on my Tea and Jasmines. The ants seem to like them, the lizards and gekeo's seem to enjoy the ants--I don't have to pay my dedicated 24/7/365 pest control team.

Bob
 

mcpesq817

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Hi guys, thanks for the response. A friend did a little research and believes they are oribatid mites, a type of soil mite:

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/soil_mite.htm

Looks like these aren't deadly to plants like spider mites. I was just a bit concerned because (1) I've never seen a spider mite, so wasn't sure if what I had could be spider mites (didn't know if "red" meant bright red or reddish brown), and (2) there were tons of them in my fertilizer cakes.

I ended up removing the cakes and spraying with an oil-based mite spray, and they seem to be practically gone now. I doubt it was from the spray, since I only sprayed one time, but it's likely that I removed the food source.

In any event, I won't freak out if I see these guys next time I use cakes. Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

treebeard55

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There's one other kind of mite that -- brace yourself -- you actually want to welcome. That's the predatory mite: it's carnivorous, and it likes to be carnivorous with the mites that munch on your trees (among other menu items.)

There are several species of predatory mites. You can recognize them by three characteristics.
They're bigger than the others, by about half.
They're more active -- have to be to run down a moving lunch.
And, they have incredibly bright color, red or orange. So vivid is the color that the first time I saw one, my first thought was that a fleck of bright-red plastic was moving somehow!
 
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