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Thread: Velvet/Spider Mites and Gnats- What to Do?

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    Charlatan lizasaur's Avatar
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    Velvet/Spider Mites and Gnats- What to Do?

    So, I've never had this problem before.
    I grow outside. 50/50 peat and perlite. I've had the same bag of Canadian peat for probably 3 years. It's been kept in a shed and sealed up.

    Anyway, this year is my first year with seeds.
    First immediate question- what to Sarracenia look like when they're first popping out of their seeds? Like look like regular little sprouts, which contradicts the unidentified seedling I bought with an old order elsewhere. The little seedling looks like a mini Sarracenia of some sorts. These look like short versions of my tomato plant seedlings, minus the furry look.

    Moving on, the problem has popped up after planting my seeds. I have a 1020 tray full of little peat pots which have various Sarracenia seeds in them, now there's like...always gnat/fruitfly looking things buzzing around and crawling out of the soil. Freaks me out.
    They're being grown on my lanai, to protect them from pollen showers and rain, under a light.

    Outside, with my established plants, I've noticed the gnats and those little red bugs scurrying all around the entire table, which hosts Sarracenia, Neps, Sundews, and my Cobra Plant. Actually, I believe my Cobra plant hasn't been affected. They're mostly on the pots, but occasionally on the true plant. I haven't noticed webbing, or holes in my plants, or any damage. I just don't like them and they freak me out.

    In addition, can anyone tell me what causes wavy/curled pitchers? Since last year, my Dana's Delights have done that. Some pitchers come in tall and straight and perfect, but others are curly qued or lopsided or squiggly looking. It's only this plant, and all of its divisions. Maybe it's a virus, but it didn't always do that. And wouldn't the entire plant be crippled? I actually have 2 parents plants bought a year apart, how could they both have been infected? I thought it was mites but I've honestly never ever seen mites or anything, I think. Last year there were NO bugs of any kind except mosquitoes. This year is spider mites, but they're all over everything, and it's just that one species.

    I've treated everything with diluted Acephate, to no avail.

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    The first two leaves, the seed leaves or cotyledons are thin, flat blade shaped (like grass) leaves with rounded tips. After those the next leaves should be juvenile protopitchers with closed hoods similar to Sarracenia minor. After 1-3 years the adult pitchers which are typical for each species or hybrids should grow.

    I'll let others tell you about fungus gnats, springtails, spider mites and Bacteria thuringiensis israelensis (control for fungus gnats).

    Or you can Google search the above.

    Twisted, deformed pitchers are usually symptomatic of pests - insects that suck (literally) such as aphids, thrips, mealybugs, scale or spider mites. However Ed Read at CSUF has observed wrinkled pitchers that he suspects are caused by a virus. Identify the pest and use the recommended control - chemical, biological or nuclear.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    PolishJeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    However Ed Read at CSUF has observed wrinkled pitchers that he suspects are caused by a virus.
    It's interesting you posted this NaN, I just read an article about the spread of plant viruses via thrips! I know it sounds like a nightmare, and the last thing we need here is panic. Anyway, here is the link to what I'm talking about:

    http://www.agnr.umd.edu/tospo/txt-info.html

    As for you, Carnivores, I can't offer any advice for seedlings. No experience. But with your pest problem, I have had good success recently with bayer 3in1. A lot of growers are very weary of this 3in1 because it has serious potential in killing honeybees (and everything else). I had to resort to nuking my plants because of a serious outbreak of thrips, aphids, and sooty mold. But I have had good results with zero damage to my Sarracenia collection.

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    Jeff,

    Is the Bayer 3-in-1 a liquid in pump spray form?

    Oz

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    Nep'tard Chris_Himself's Avatar
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    Bayer 3-in-1 is pretty brutal stuff. I used it to control my aphid problem as a contact killer only for my sarrs and it definitely works. Be sure to spray at least 6 inches away so you don't over saturate the plant. I had spider mites on my VFT's, aphids on my sarrs, and whitefly on my developing dews. Spider mites are probably the most difficult pest you'll ever have to combat if you don't know what you're dealing with. They're resistant to many insecticides, the eggs are nigh indestructable, theyre hard to see, and unlike aphids, they will hide in your soil sometimes.

    For my indoor plants I had a spider mite and fungus gnat situation I had a couple weeks ago, I just sprayed my media with Green Light Neem II (Neem + Pyrethrin). I switched because I was nervous using non-organic pesticide to soak my plant's media. I'm sure it would have been ok, but whatever helps me sleep at night.

    If you fertilize organically or use feed that has organic elements to it, the fungus gnat situation will bloom, they feed on organic fertilizer as well. I use MaxSea quite heavily and the problem seemed to manifest itself within a week of receiving a small "starter batch" from a vendor. Easy fix though and they won't be back soon.

    Oz, Bayer does come in a concentrate for like 16 bucks for a 32oz. You'll be nuking bugs forever with that much.

    I used them both properly, thoroughly following the instructions (very important with 'cides), and they both took care of my problem within a week of use. Two for spider mites, I'd see an occasional one after the first week. First time trying Neem, but bayer is my staple for garden pest management.

    I hear BT works wonders and is absolutely harmless to the plants as well.
    Nepenthes Outdoors in CA

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    Charlatan lizasaur's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your advice!

    Knowing that Bayer 3in1 could kill honeybees makes me a sad cookie. I like bees (as long as they're not stinging me) and certainly don't want to add to their plague.

    The only problem would be my tomatoes. I'm growing what's supposed to be the old Jersey tomato. And I don't want anything getting to them. I suppose I out to spring for the Neem then? What's this BT?

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    PolishJeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8oz View Post

    Is the Bayer 3-in-1 a liquid in pump spray form?

    Oz
    The Bayer I have is the concentrated liquid form. It's basically a lifetime supply because I'll never be mixing gallons of this stuff. I don't have a big enough sprayer! The concentration I used was 40oz of distilled water to 1.75 tablespoons of Bayer (I keep a journal for my Sarracenia collection with this kind of data). You don't want to dilute these insecticides/matricides/fungicides according to Barry Rice. He states that doing this will create colonies of pest resistance. Not good if they spread.

    I know they sell the Bayer is a spray bottle form. You can google Bayer and find their website with the products they carry. Most are carried at Lowe's or Home Depot.

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i<3carnivores View Post
    I've treated everything with diluted Acephate, to no avail.
    As a general rule, it's a mistake to dilute any pesticide beyond manufacturer's recommendations. By doing this, you are working to create pesticide-resistant strains of pests...
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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