Thursday, October 17, 2013

Organic Pesticide sprays For Red-colored Mites On Tomato plants

Dry conditions favor infestations of spider mites on tomato plants.

Growing tomatoes requires regular watering, fertilization and monitoring of plant for pest problems. Occasionally, pest problems can cause damage to foliage and fruit production. A number of chemical pesticides are available to manage red spider mite infestations, but for those gardeners concerned about pesticide effects on humans and the environment, organic pesticides offer safer control.

About Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny, oval-shaped insects with eight legs that live in large colonies on plants. They suck juices from the plant leaves with sharp mouth-parts. Leaves become stipled, then turn yellow and fall off the plant. Their feeding in large numbers can seriously weaken plants and cause reduction in fruit yields if it occurs in early spring or summer, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program. Water-stressed plants are the most likely targets of spider mite infestation. Many types of spider mites can infest plants including the Southern red spider mite, the two-spotted spider mite, the spruce spider mite and others.

Insecticidal Soaps

Insecticidal soaps are available commercially for use to control spider mite infestations, or you can make your own soap. Mix 5 tbsp. of castile soap or any dishwashing liquid that does not contain a degreaser into 1 gallon of water. Pour into a spray bottle, and spray directly on affected areas of the plant. Insecticidal soaps kill on contact and have no residual action. Insecticidal soaps should not be used on plants when temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to University of Florida county extension agent Daniel F. Culbert. Test the soap on a small area of the plant to see if there is any evidence of phytotoxicity.


Sulfur is one of the oldest pesticides that were used to control insects on crops. It works on insects that are susceptible to sulfur compounds, including spider mites, according to Colorado State University horticulturalist Laura Pickett Pottorff. Pesticidal sulfur is available at garden centers.

Nicotine Sulfate

Nicotine sulfate is a substance made from tobacco plants that is used to control insects on plants. It works by interfering with the transfer mechanism between nerves and muscles. It is sold commercially under a number of names. Use gloves when working with nicotine sulfate, as it can be absorbed through the skin. Some plants, like roses, are sensitive to nicotine sulfate. Do not use on plants when temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and weather is dry.

Natural Enemies of Spider Mites

Introducing natural enemies of red spider mites is a good way to control the population without harmful chemicals. These include lady beetles, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs and six-spotted thrips. These are available at garden supply stores.

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