The professional Orchid nurseries nemesis is starting up strongly for the hot Southern Summer.
The dreaded two spotted spider mite is off and away thanks to Melbourne’s hot super dry summer.
The lack of humidity, thanks to no real rain for months, isn’t helping at all.
These tiny near invisible arachnids (spider and tick relatives) run around madly in hot weather laying down tiny webs and sucking orchid leaves dry.>
They behave like orchid mosquitoes and pierce the leaf tissue and suck out plant juices.
Eventually the leaves lose vigour, turn and dry dusty grey colour and then silvery brown and drop off.
As they are not easily seen, they can invest heavily before you know they are even there.
About the size of a quarter pin head, you really need strong sunlight and a good eye lens to know just how bad they are.
They are near impossible to see ,so a good hand lens is needed.
Once the weather cools off again they go dormant and change colour to a rusty red and hence the name red spider mite, But it’s still really the Two spotted spider mite
As home gardeners are very limited as to what they can purchase these days to control insect pests, it can be very hard to control them.
Should you be in real trouble commercially with mites contact us for advise.
http://www.aos.org/orchids/orchid-pests-diseases/mites.aspx is an excellent article
We sell and recommend kelthane .It has a pleasant small and has been used in home gardens for spider mites for 20-30 years and still is very effective.
Confidor in all forms will not work.
We use miticide called Piranica and at $4.40 per gram trade it’s a horribly expensive yet totally effective control that kills both eggs and all stages.
True control with kelthane requires vigilance and hard work.
Click here to purchase https://www.australianorchids.com.au/products/3796225
Very very few orchid nurseries ever have mite under control due to the expensive and intensive spraying involved.
The most important thing i can suggest is that Two Spotted mite need hot, dry and stressed orchids to really infest heavily.
Plenty of water,humidity,cool and moist conditions will discourage them.
But then, as always a down side. These condistions also lead to bacterial rots and fungal outbreaks.
Who'd own an orchid nursery!!!???