Help! Spider Mites...entymoligist needed!

Frederick Thum st93mey7 at Dunx1.OCS.Drexel.Edu
Tue Jun 7 23:46:30 EST 1994

Jason C. Wold (jwold at wrote:

: Help! I have houseplants, some of them edibles (herbs), and all are
: infested with SPIDER MITES from the tree in the front yard.  I bought 
: some spray for them but the warnings on the bottle made me cringe.  I 
: refuse to put a toxin on my plants.  I shouldn't have even bought it.

: Are they doomed?  Must I start anew?  
: Someone please tell me there is something I can do that will not be
: poison when I use it later. 

We had quite a problem with spider mites when we were growing transgenic
alfalfa.  They seemed to appear when the plants were badly maintained, and
the growth chamber dirty.  

Once infested, we cleaned the growth chamber, and tried to kill them with
pyrethrins (derived from some flower, forget what...).  Sorry to tell you
this, but they are *extremely* hard to get rid of.  We finally ended up
taking stem cuttings, sterilizing them in bleach and ethanol, and growing
them in media.

These drastic measures will probably not apply to you, but generally, I
would try to maintain a clean plant atmosphere.  If you do decide to use
some kind of pesticide, it is much more effective if you spray it on the
underside of the leaves, as that is where the eggs and mites are.

Good luck.

--Fred Thum
(st93mey7 at

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