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How to Identify and Treat Spider Mites on Orchids?

Spider Mites are microscopic creatures, they’re impossible to detect until they’ve wreaked their damage. A plant under attack will have a silvery shine on the underside the leaves, indicating the loss of sap. It is important to use a spider mite treatment as soon as possible on an affected plant in order to keep the plant looking its best and healthiest.

Types and their Identification:

Brevipalpus Californicus: The first observable injury from this mite feeding on orchid leaves appears as silvery areas that eventually become sunken and brown. Individuals of B. californicus are difficult to see because they lie flat against the leaf and move slowly.

Phalaenopsis mite (Tenuipalus pacificus): This is one of the false spider mites, which do not spin webs. This mite is a pest in California, Florida, Panama and some European countries. Feeding by these mites causes dark spots on leaves and eventual tissue death.

Two-spotted Spider Mite, also known as the Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae) These mites are greenish-yellow, wingless, eight-legged creatures with a dark spot on each side of their bodies. They feed on leaf undersides and suck the chlorophyll out of plant cells. These mites thrive when plants are stressed under warm, dry conditions, but they are less of a problem under conditions of high humidity. Two-spotted spider mites are most often found on new growth and on thin-leaf orchids.

A good way to tell if you have mites is to wipe a white cloth or tissue over both sides of a leaf of a plant suspected of mite infestation. If mites or their eggs are present, reddish or brownish streaks will be seen on the cloth. Another test is to tap a leaf ov