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Growing orchids at home requires constant care of the plant from the grower.
A violation of temperature or humidity can lead to the appearance of spider mites, dangerous pests that can cause irreparable damage to the flower.
How to cure the plant and prevent the parasite from reappearing is described in this article.
What is this pest?
Spider mite is a dangerous pest of indoor and garden crops, belongs to the class of arachnids from the family of arachnids, belongs to the subclass of ticks and, unlike insects, has 4 pairs of limbs. This family is considered one of the most widespread and has more than a thousand species living in various climatic zones of our planet.
Difference from other species
Unlike other types of ticks, this pest is able to spin cobwebs, survive in low humidity and high temperatures, and also feel comfortable in direct sunlight.
The tick multiplies rapidly and infects almost all types of plants, causing tremendous damage not only to flowers, but also to other agricultural crops.
What it looks like: description and photo
To see a tick, just use a magnifying glass. An adult tick reaches 0.6 mm, has an oval body, covered with elongated bristles, 8 legs. Females are larger and can grow up to 1 mm. The color ranges from reddish brown to brown, in some cases greenish with dark spots.
The life cycle of ticks does not exceed 4-5 weeks, the optimal conditions for reproduction are high, not lower than 27 C, temperature and low humidity. During the breeding season, the female changes color to a lighter one and lays at least a hundred eggs at a time.
Next, you can look at the photo of the pest:
What is its danger?
Spider mites are dangerous for orchids at a rapid rate of reproduction, they damage not only the upper part of the plant, but in some cases the roots themselves. It is difficult to remove them, because the pest can also settle in the substrate, perfectly surviving several treatments even with the most aggressive chemicals.
In addition, eating the sap of the flower, they weaken it, contributing to the emergence of difficult-to-treat viral or fungal diseases. Such plants no longer bloom, lose their ability to normal photosynthesis and die.
Ticks are quite active; after a short time, all indoor flowers, without exception, will be affected by them.
How does it affect the plant?
Usually, tick eggs can be inactive for a long time. When suitable conditions arise, individuals are born from them and immediately attach with a cobweb to the back of the leaves. By piercing the skin, they absorb the plant sap, causing cell damage and shrinking areas of photosynthesis.
At the stage when the number of ticks increases sharply, they settle on the base of the stem and flowers, braiding the orchid with a thin, but clearly visible cobweb. At this stage, the plant loses its beautiful appearance, the flowers fall off, the leaves turn yellow and curl, and the roots are covered with bloom.
Signs of defeat
The mite feeds by sucking juices from plant cells, which leads to the appearance of small specks first, and then to depigmentation of the entire leaf. It is easy to determine whether a plant is affected by this pest - just look closely at the leaves and flowers, paying attention to:
- the presence of a small cobweb on the back of the leaf, as well as on the flowers;
- brownish dots located on all surfaces of the leaves, and the tips are curled and withered;
- small dots (these are the mites themselves) moving along the surface of the plant or along the cobweb.
Why can a plant be especially vulnerable?
As a rule, most parasites, including spider mites, enter the plant from open windows when ventilated, or with newly brought flowers.
Given the high demands of the plant for light and humidity, any imbalance can lead to rapid reproduction of the pest and the death of the orchid. In this case, the plant can "get sick" and other ailments (gray rot or viral infections), the emergence of which is promoted by the juice protruding on the surface of the leaf at the puncture sites.
How to get rid of at home: control measures
At home, you can fight harmful insects using methods such as:
- Isolate the plant from others and place the pot in a humid place out of direct sunlight. It should not be near a hot radiator or air conditioner, or in a draft.
- Work out the windowsill where the orchid was located with disinfectants, paying special attention to the crevices. It is best to use a dish detergent or powder, adding a couple of drops of potassium permanganate or ammonia. It is necessary to re-process before putting the pot back in place.
If the window sill is not treated, the mites remaining on the window will again fall on the plant and lay eggs.
- Process the plant itself, let it stand for a couple of days, and then put it back in place.
There are many ways to disinfect, from special chemicals to simple products that can be found in any kitchen. If the flower is slightly damaged, and the mite is mainly located on the leaves, you can use folk methods:
- Place the plant under a plastic bag for a couple of days, pre-moistening with a spray bottle. The condition of the flower should be checked daily and, if necessary, re-sprayed.
- Treat the leaves with a damp cotton pad, carefully wiping the top and bottom of the leaf. The treatment should be repeated for at least 5 days.
- Rinse the plant with water with the addition of shavings of laundry soap in a proportion of 30 g per 100 ml of water. You can also use dishwashing solutions by adding a tablespoon of detergent to 200 ml of warm water.
For some types of orchids with delicate leaves, treatment with compounds with the addition of alcohol or ammonia is unacceptable, since it can damage not only the greens, but also the roots.
Biological means of struggle with the help of such drugs as Fitoverm and Akarin are no less popular. Unfortunately, only adult ticks will be successful, but their eggs will not be affected. To completely destroy the pest, it is recommended to treat the plant at least 3 times with a break of 5 days.
Chemicals such as Actellic, Anti-tick, Neoron and Fufanon ensure complete destruction of parasites due to the fact that they have a long-term effect (up to 7 days), and are also highly toxic to ticks. But at the same time, they have a number of disadvantages, such as:
- unpleasant odor;
- ban on use in the apartment;
- and also the undesirability of using near apiaries.
Do not use chemical mite control agents in enclosed spaces, as this can harm human and domestic animal health. When using such preparations, protective masks and gloves should be used.
Despite the fact that the orchid is a rather capricious plant, it is not difficult to protect it from the appearance of pests.
- The first thing to do is to ensure that the air humidity is at least 70%, that is, regularly spray with water from a spray bottle so that small droplets of moisture remain on the leaves.
In summer, it is better to spray the plant in the early morning or late evening. If you moisten the orchid during the day and leave it in direct sunlight for several hours, it will burn the leaves with brown spots.
- Secondly, the accumulation of dust on the plant should not be allowed; experienced flower growers recommend wiping the leaves on both sides with a damp cotton pad at least once every one and a half weeks. This is a great way to get rid of a small number of parasites that have not yet done significant damage to the plant.
- Thirdly, withered foliage and wilted flowers accumulated in the pot will serve as an excellent refuge not only for spider mites, but also for more dangerous pests. Dead plant parts should be removed.
Orchid is an amazing plant that can surprise anyone with its beauty. It is not so difficult to achieve a beautiful appearance and flowering, it is enough to water and moisturize the plant in time. Preventive treatment with folk remedies or special preparations will help not only prevent infection with spider mites, but also cure an already affected plant.
Video about what a spider mite looks like on an orchid and how to deal with it: