Spidermites, Spidermyte, Spider mites, Spidermights.
(the above for the 'search' feature).
I thought I was going to have to dump all of my CP'S and sterilize everything and start over, until I researched the critter and got some expert advice on this procedure. *I am so happy with the results, I feel I must share this with everyone so that they may benefit. *I feel there is some newbies here that may have this problem and are thinking they are doing something wrong and hopefully this will turn a light on in their head and benefit from my bad experience with these stubborn little critters.
Spidermites, the wingless sucking parasite, are not a global problem as they are generally found in more slightly arid regions, but can be a problem if they hitch a ride *from shipped or traded plants from these regions. *Spidermites WILL kill your VFT'S and practically any other green plant with a slow and hideous death. It is slow and progressive and if you haven't experienced them before, you may believe that you are doing something wrong, like the wrong type of water, etc. They have proven to be very difficult to erradicate entirely, until I had help with the below treatment.
SYMPTOMS: Commons- slow progressive loss of richness in green color of the petioles, usually starting on the outside edges working inward, to a lighter and lighter shade until almost yellow and finally, the petioles become freckled or peppered with tiny dry spots as the last of the chlorophyl is being sucked out. Kinda like a ripe bannana, but with a little green. It may take several weeks to get to this stage. There seems to be NO deformity of EXISTING traps or leaves, and new traps seem to develop normally, but may be stunted and smaller as the VFT is being leached of it's life giving food. There will be an overall look of the infected plant, of a plant that was lacking good light with the freckles; exception being spindly growth.
* * *THE TRAPS themselves, may still be nice and green and is the last to be affected. It seems the spidermites prefer the thinner, juicy flaps of the petioles. *I have heard of looking for a cottony weblike structure at the base of the plant, but I haven't seen this (may be due to destruction of web from misting my VFT'S)
VERIFICATION: If symptoms are bad enough, you can shake the plant over a clean, white piece of paper and smear your clean fingers on the paper; if tiny reddish streaks appear, this is a good indication. *Get a good light source (they hate it and will be more likely to move, making them easier to detect) and a magnifier and look UNDER the petioles (broad leafy part) they are hard to find at first, but once you see what they look like, your eyes will be trained and wont be as hard. You can tease them into moving and are pretty fast for their size. An adult is VERY TINY; less than 1mm and will look like a little reddish crab, transluscent, with its many legs. *You may also see droppings or empty cases from shedding its exoskeleton which will be a rich red color.
* * If you see one; you probably have dozens. *Seeing one is too many! *Avoid having infected plants touching others, so migration won't occur.
With alot of help from Pet Flytrap or Exotic Gardens; I've tried the method described below with fantastic success. *I'll dub it the 'SHOCK AND AWE' treatment; made from household ingredients easily found and is far safer and MORE effective than Malathian or other less friendly and more expensive treatments. Other treatments may be fantastic for aphids and other pests, but I haven't had ANY luck getting rid of Spidermites permanently using these.*I haven't had much luck with the systemic chemicals on the market either, and I wonder about the 'inert' ingredients and what they do to the medium chemistry and PH.
NOTE: *This is from MY interpretation of recommended treatment from professionals and is from my own careful analysis as I have been fighting these stubborn buggers for more than three months now and have finally erradicated them for keeps! *Everyone that knows me, knows that I don't throw around advice unless I have used it on my plants first.
The below treatment was recommended for my various cultivars and common VFT'S (not that it won't work on any other plant, but I will stick with what I have experience with).
HERE IT IS:
32 oz spray bottle
add half pure water (approx. 16oz.)
add half (16oz.) 90% or more alcohol ( I used isopropyl from the grocery store pharmacy). *Avoid hardware alcohol that may contain 5% methyl. *I like the pharmacuetical alcohol. *You can find a 16 oz. bottle for about 99 cents. Just dump the whole thing in. (If you can only find, say 40% then just use it as is and don't add water, common sense here).
THIS FINAL STEP IS THE 'CATALYST' AND IS VERY IMPORTANT. *
ADD 1 GOOD DROP (NOT A SQUIRT) OF 'JOY' BRAND dish washing liquid. *It must be the JOY brand, easily found (U.S.) *I'm told that there is an ingredient unique to that brand and that brand only, that will allow the alcohol/water solution to permeate their exoskeleton and suffocate them; may have to do with surface tension, I don't know, the chemists figured out the hard part. One drop of concentrated 'JOY' is ample for 32 ounces, and more is NOT better.
Hold your VFT UPSIDE DOWN and spray this solution liberally onto the topside, bottomside, traps, crown, everywhere on the plant.
Keep plant upside down for at least 30 seconds and no longer than a minute, roughly. (I waited a minute) letting the excess drip off to the table or floor. With another spray bottle (or bucket) of pure water,(again, holding the potted plant upside down) spray or slosh the plant to remove the first treatment. The idea is to not let too much of the first solution to get into the growing medium; a little is inevitable, but any remaining traces of *alcohol will evaporate very fast, not harming your plant.
p.s. Make sure you give a good squirt to the crown region. This is where they originate.
Don't drench the soil with the solution, just your upside down plant. *Drenching the soil is not necessary.
You will see that this solution will not ball up on the waxy leaves, characteristic for VFT'S, but will have a sheeting action, thoroughly wetting and DESTROYING the pests. *
'SHOCK & AWE'
Check your plants again in 24 hours and repeat. *( I haven't needed to) if necessary.