Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Garden Foes - Aphids, Spider Mites

Spider mites and aphids...OH MY! The garden foes are alive and well, attacking my innocent plants. 

For the past two years the spider mites have been such a nuisance. They seem to be everywhere, on everything.  The mint plant pictured above is so infested it was pulled out and thrown in the garbage. So sad as it was a new addition which I potted for my husband for his birthday. He loves mint in his tea but the spider mites love it too.

The first sign of spider mites is tiny white spots on the leaves.
If you have great vision, you can see tiny webs created by the bugs. 

I'm told spider mites like hot dry conditions. My Southern California garden is apparently the perfect host as they are thriving. I hose off my plants weekly to try to discourage them as that is what I've read should be done. Is it helping? Hard to tell. I've been reading that rosemary oil will also kill the spider mites but will not kill their natural predators so I may try that as well.

From afar, the melons look amazing, spreading outward with lots of small melons hiding beneath the leaves.
But a closer look shows the truth...aphids galore.
Oh those aphids are such a frustration, aren't they?

Out came the spray bottle. Squirt into it a small amount of dish soap, fill it with water and attack those little garden foes. Soapy water will kill soft bodied pests like aphids and spider mites. The tricky part is the bugs are on the underneath side of the leaves, so you must turn the leaves over to get to them. It turns out killing aphids is a good forearm work out using a squirt bottle. 

It's war!

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