Mites are tiny, eight-legged, sometimes microscopic invertebrates that belong to the class Arachnida. Most species thrive in locations with high organic matter and moist conditions. Some species, however, live freely but the dangerous species are parasites of plants, animals, and mold.
Parasitic mites feed on plant parts, reduce plant vigor and spread dangerous diseases and viruses to greenhouse plants. Some species such as spider mites are easy to recognize because they produce light nets on leaf tips and stems. Other signs of infestation are galls, bronzing or blisters on the leaves. Continue ready below to find out how to organically remove harmful mites from your greenhouse kit.
1. Prune or uproot affected plants
If you detect signs of attack on the leaves or stems, prune the affected parts well below the last sign of webbing and discard the pruned parts in a trash can. Remember, such pruned parts must not end up in the compost pile. If the mite attack is serious, uproot the most affected plants and discard them.
2. Dust the leaves and water plants appropriately
Dust on plant parts such as branches, leaves, and stems encourages mites attack. However, mid-season spraying can help remove the dust and minimize plants’ vulnerability to attacks. Moreover, water stress also increases plant susceptibility to mites attack so, ensure you water your plants often accordingly to their own specific needs.
3. Beneficial Insects
Beneficial insects such as lacewing, ladybugs and predatory mites are effective in controlling mites’ infestation of greenhouse plants because they attack mites, feed on them and decimate their population.
4. Use rosemary oil or soap solution
Rosemary oil works well, especially against spider mites. Moreover, the solution is not harmful to predatory mites so you can use it in combination with other biological control measures. In addition, soap solution (three tablespoons of dishwashing soap in a gallon of water) applied to foliage and more so, the undersides of the leaves can effectively eliminate many species of harmful mites.
Do note that some plants may react poorly to a soap solution especially the hairy-leaved plants since these hold on to the soap solution for considerably longer periods. However, gardeners who buy greenhouse kits with better air circulation need not worry.