little mites on plants

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by Kirin, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Kirin

    Kirin New Member

    Hello everyone
    left plant is Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans) right plant is Umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola) i just picked them up from HD got them home to replant them and noticed as soon as i moistened the soil to get them out of the stock pot a whole lotta little mites/spider looking bugs ran out of the soil my question is are these little guys gunna be harmful or attract other bugs and if so whats the best way to get rid of these? would setting one of those raid bug foggers off be an option if i wash the plants off good afterwords?
    thanks for the advice
  2. After some on-line research I made up a batch of soap insecticide.

    I used Dr. Bronners castile soap (baby formula with no added scents) using 2 tbls. soap per quart of water. This mixture will wash any chemicals that may have been applied to the plant as well as killing a substantial variety of creepy-crawlys, including spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids. It works by stripping a waxy layer off of certain bugs, causing them to dehydrate and die. I am now using this mixtures to control aphids on my rose bushes without ruining their fragrance with regular pesticides. One thing to remember when using the soap based treatment is that it is a contact treatment, there is no residual affect. If you see new bugs at a later time you will have to retreat.

    Correction: I actually used one tbls per quart of water. Many recipes called for two, but I wanted to err on the safe side for my panther, Feldmans sake. I tested this dilution on my roses and the aphids were dead the next morning.
    #2 steelheadchaser, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  3. Kirin

    Kirin New Member

    where can i buy this soap would walmart,HD,lowes carry it or is it something you get online? and i'm guessing i would just pour the mixture into the soil spray the leaves and watch them die?
  4. xanthoman

    xanthoman Avid Member

    this is a common problem with pre potted plants and commercial soils in general (even ones that claim to be sterilized) you can buy insecticidal soap at any garden center, but imo, its really not necccesary. what i do before i introduce any plant into a cage enviroment or even chameleon area, is first i remove the pot it came in, then i take a hose and rinse the plant and wash all of dirt off of the root ball till it is just a rinsed plant with bare roots. then i spray the plant & root ball, with a 25% solution of any germicidal liquid dish soap (like dawn). i actually scrub all areas of the plant with a paint brush, then i respray again and let sit for about 15 min (helps to keep the roots covered with a wet cloth and out of the sun) and rinse. then i repot with new lightly fertilized eco-earth, in a new plastic pot that has been pre washed. after everything is watered in, i cover the eco-earth with a cut piece window screen and 5/8" rocks (smaller rocks can sometimes be mistaken for snails). jmo
    #4 xanthoman, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  5. Silkyslim

    Silkyslim New Member

    You can buy Dr. Bronners at most natural food stores. Its some real hippy type stuff, made from organic ingredients. It literally is a soap for everything.
  6. Kirin

    Kirin New Member

    that worked for the Dracaena but the Schefflera must been sitting at HD for a really long time it was so bound that i had to cut the stock pot off in four sections and i couldn't get it clean to the bare roots not event close while i was trying i could hear roots breaking and i got worried so i just stuck it in the new pot as it was pretty much. could i just pour the soapy water into the soil till it starts running through the drain holes or do am i gunna have to replant again I'm afraid ill end up damaging the roots and shocking the plant? i really don't have a green thumb as you guys can probably tell but you mentioned eco-earth is what you use for soil hows is this stuff in comparison
    figured it said Organic it should be ok or did i waste my $$$
    I'm assuming that after 2 months ill have to start adding fertilizer
    thanks for the help guys!
  7. DGray

    DGray Established Member

    the full Silkwood?

    I've got to say, I think giving plants this kind of treatment is unneeded for the sake of the chameleons, and will likely harm the plant.

    I recon that the danger in houseplants comes from the sprays and their residues left on the leaves. I wash repeatedly with insecticidal soaps ( because those are less likely to burn the plant ). This is where the chameleon is going to come in contact with pesticides, and this is where I put my energy on washing and wiping.

    If you put barriers in place over the soil ( screen and rocks ) there is no reason to give the roots the full Silkwood. If you have a dirt-eating chameleon, you don't want it eating *any* potting soil, organic or otherwise. Barriers are the answer. Do your self and your investment in plants a favor, and go easy on the repotting.
  8. I bought it at a vitamin store called Super Supplements. Another are chain of organic grocery stores, PCC also carries it.

    I sprayed it on with a 1 1/2 qt. hand held sprayer, making sure to coat 100% of the plants surface, including the under-side of the leaves. I let it sit for five minutes and then rinsed with clear water. When that was done I replanted in organic soil, getting as much of the old soil as possible off of the roots. I used glazed and fired ceramic pots and fertilized lightly with an organic fertilizer which was 3-3-3.

    I looked at some of the Miracle Grow soils as I have used them in the past with success, but was a bit spooked about the line on the bag stating "continuous feeding for up to two months". I used an organic brand called Whitney Farms. The small amount of vermiculite it had I tried to remove and covered the top of the soil with 1"-2" polished stones. I can rotate the plants between Feldmans' cage and anywhere in the house without anyone being the wiser.
  9. xanthoman

    xanthoman Avid Member

    oh no, dont hurt the plants.

    actually, carefully washing most (indoor or outdoor) plants with germicidal soap is good for them, as recomended by Jerry Baker master gardener at University of Washington , it helps remove pollution, insecticides, bird feces, dirt, and waxy residue, (& i suppose even residue from previously used insecticidal soap). i suppose there are some delicate plants that it would not work well for, but i have used this method on many of the more common cham plants including draceana, asian lily, hibiscus and schleferra, i have never burnt or harmed a plant by doing so and the all seem to thrive afterwards. in fact, my asian lily, flowered 2 weeks after doing this, and the guy at the store told me that it would not flower again until next year. as far as the root bound root ball is concerned, a root bound condition is determental to plants and they only need the tap root and a small portion of the inner root ball to re-establish themselves anyway. it is commonly recomended practice to break up or even cut away overly bound roots when transplanting. if i buy a plant that has overly bound roots, i cut away 70% of the outer root ball. if you have a plant that is severely root bound, and all you do is scratch a few roots when you replant in a similar size container, it will continue to be root bound anyway, and you will be using mostly the same exausted soil it came with which is where the mites came from to begin with. before using insecticidal soap, yes it is safe for plants (but is it safe for chams ?) it is an insecticide, and it is intended to leave a residue, so if you use insecticidal soap, you are coating plants with an insecticide,that is intended to leave an insecticidal residue on the very leaves that your cham may drink from (dish soap rinses clean and leaves no residue). as far as treatment of the plants, i could care less, (with the exception of getting them to thrive for the benefit of my chams). if i have a cham that i have hundreds of $ into, and probably thousands of $ in time, i wouldnt hesitate to throw a $10 plant in the garbage, if i thought it was causing a problem for my chams, and i wouldnt hesitate to stomp on it first , if it wouldnt fit. jmo
    #9 xanthoman, Aug 18, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  10. CarlC

    CarlC Established Member

    With whatever soap you are using just make sure you also spray the undersides of leaves. I don't know if I would use them right away after spraying. I would give them a few weeks and a couple of applications of soap spray before using them. A couple of really good rinses and you should be ok.
    This is why it always good to have back up plants ready ahead of time. You can take the time to treat whatever you have to and not be rushed to get them into a cage.

  11. DGray

    DGray Established Member


    I would not cite Mr. Baker as an expert. His credentials and history are ridiculed in Horticulture circles (I have a b.s. in Horticulture and was a master gardener in Oregon, if that counts for anything). Many of his previous books and practices are used in classes as a negative example.

    Germicidal soaps in particular, would be a danger I would not expose animals to.

    While it is commonly recommended, it is not based in science or experience. The concept of "root-bound" is really overstated. It does present problems with trees, but not so much in houseplants.

    Repotting with minimal root disturbance has been shown to yield better results in several studies, and in also in my years of experience. The roots of the plant will seek out and expand into the new fresh soil. If the roots are damaged by raking or cutting, it takes longer for them to recover and grow into the new soil.

    Insecticidal soaps such as Safer's brand, rinse very cleanly. It is a specially selected soap that washes off the coating of an insect and results in their death through dehydration. The action is direct, and the soap must hit the insect to be effective. It does not have any residual toxicity. This product is approved for organic gardening and can be used up to, and including on, the day of harvest. They are not toxic if ingested.

    Germicidal soaps are quite different. They certainly are not organic. I can not speak to their toxicity to animals.

    That's clear.
  12. Is the Dr. Bronners unscented castile soap ok in your opinion? It was suggested to me by a plant keeper at a local nursery because it did not have pyrethrins that are in the Safers.
  13. solosigns

    solosigns New Member

    Someone on the site had got (nematode) that killed bugs im trying to find the post
  14. Jono

    Jono New Member

    Keep them FAR away from all your other plants until your are 100% sure all teh bugs are gone ;)
  15. Minpin1985

    Minpin1985 New Member

    My plant

    Hello! Well just thought I would let you know how I cleaned the hibiscus plant I bought for my chameleon. I did a lot of looking online and then I went and bought a plant and organic soil that they say they steam to get chemicals or anything else out and it is a good kind of soil to use. I bought a new pot and then went home and rinsed it off well and rinsed all the dirt off of the root ball till the water was clear coming out. Then I took the plant inside and took some antibacterial non scented soap and water in a tub and washed the plant well. Then I put the organic dirt in the pot and planted the bush. I then took medium, large rocks, (big enough that he can't get them in his mouth) washed them, and put two layers of rocks ontop of the dirt so he can't possibly eat any soil and then let it set inside for over a week. That is just what I did. Just an idea!
  16. PeriTanz

    PeriTanz New Member

    ** Most ficus including ficus benjamina (common in cham cages) prefer to be slightly root bound. Many plants don't have a large tap root some have more fibrous aka adventitious root systems. However, all of the indoor plants you have listed are pretty tolerant of what we put them through. so cut away if you wish. add a little vit. B (rooting complex) and they'll grow back in no time.
  17. PeriTanz

    PeriTanz New Member

    nematodes are microscopic. They don't eat mites.
  18. PeriTanz

    PeriTanz New Member

    What i use on my plants to rid of all crawlers (besides the cham!): half gallon h2o mixed with 1 T dawn or an alternate organic dish soap. 1 T Canola oil. and 1 dash rubbing alcohol. You can add lemon (optional) mix well and spray on immediately before separation can occur. In the interest of this being in your chams cage id say after application rinse off several times. And it make take several applications to take care of it. gluck! Mites suck and often arise in areas that are kept too moist so make sure your plants have a chance to dry out!

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