Winter Pests

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stippling on leaves.

When hot, or even pleasant, and dry weather descends on us,

Red spider mites.

there are some things to watch for in the garden. One is red spider mites. These tiny red insects hide out on the bottom of leaves and suck cell sap, creating a stipple effect on the top of the leaves. I am finding them all over the passion vine Passiflora incarnata. They also love soft-leaved orchids. Once you see the stippling, you may need a hand lens to observe the insects on the underside of the leaf.

Treatment is easy: a hard spray of water, or a mix of 1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent that contains no perfumes and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or horticultural oil in a gallon of water. Spray the undersides of the leaves well. Try the water first.

A ladybug will eat them.
Golden oleander aphids on milkweed.

Oleander aphids have been appearing in globs on my milkweeds. They are golden with black appendages. They not only are on the stems, but leaves and seedpods. Ladybugs and their larvae eat them, while parasitic wasps lay eggs in them, which turn them brown and kill them. If you are too impatient for the beneficial insects to show up, use insecticidal soap to suffocate them.

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