Mite Infestation in Roses, Home Guides, SF Gate

Mite Infestation in Roses

Spider mites can quickly infest rose bushes during dry weather.

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Spider mites are parasites that damage rose bush leaves and their flowers. Their name comes from the fact that a majority of these mite varieties spin webs on plant leaves. Spider mites typically live on the underside of rose leaves, but overpopulation will drive them to live on the tops and stems of the leaves. Rose mites are very small, about the size of a pin head, and can be seen with a hand-held magnifying glass.

Two-Spotted Mite

The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) originated from Europe and lives in temperate and subtropical climates. They are oval shaped and can be brown, orange-red, green, green-yellow or translucent in color. Female two-spotted mites turn orange or orange-red in color if they are overwintering in greenhouses. The body of the two-spotted spider mite has two large dark spots near the back end. These dark spots are transparent areas of the mite’s body where body waste accumulates. Mites that have recently molted may lack the two spots directly after molting has occurred.

Pacific Spider Mite

The web-spinning Pacific spider mite ( Tetranychus pacificus) lives in the San Joaquin Valley and along the northern coast of California. They can be light amber to green in color and have red forelegs. When entering diapause (a period of rest where they do not grow) or when they are living together with a high concentration of other spider mites, the female adult Pacific spider mite turns orange to red in color. After feeding, two large spots appear at the front and two small spots appear near the end of the mite’s body.

Strawberry Mite

The strawberry mite (Phytonemus pallidus), also called the cyclamen mite, lives on the mid-vein of young leaves and under the calyx of flower buds. Strawberry mites are very small, with the adult mite being an average length of 0.01 inch in size, which makes them not readily visible without a magnifying glass or microscope. Strawberry mites are a shiny pale pink-orange color. Female strawberry spider mites have whip-like hind legs. Male strawberry spider mites have grasping pincers.

Signs of Mites

Two-spotted spider mites live on the underside of leaves, where they leave webbing and molted skins. They feed on the leaves, which turns the leave tissue white in a bleached stippled pattern. Leaves that are eaten by mites soon turn gray or yellow and then black or dark brown as they die off. Roses infested by spider mites will have brown withering petals. Signs of Pacific spider mites are yellow spots on leaves, which turn into black dead areas. When there is a high population of the mites, leaves appear sunburned or scorched and will be covered with spun webbing. The microscopic strawberry mite damages leaves and causes them to crinkle and grow stunted. This causes a compact leaf mass to form at the center of the rose bush.

Mite Infestation Control

Mites overwinter in pokeweed, Jimson weed, wild blackberry bushes, Jerusalem oak and wild geraniums. Removal of these plants will reduce their numbers. Irrigate the soil frequently to reduce the presence of dust on the rose leaves. Misting the leaves with a spray water bottle will also help to reduce mite numbers, as they prefer to consume dry leaves. Insecticidal oils or soaps that kill mites aren’t very toxic to people or other organisms and are safe to use. Another option is to encourage natural predators to feed on rose mites to eliminate them.

Natural Predators

According to the University of Florida Phytoseiulus persimilis is a predatory mite that consumes rose mites in all life stages, from eggs to adult. This predatory mite is more active than plant mites and can consume five adult mites or 20 eggs per day, which significantly reduces the mite population without the use of insecticides. Phytoseiulus persimilis mites are orange or red in color have longer front legs that face forward. Other natural predators of rose mites include lady bugs, minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus), lacewing fly larvae and the black predatory thrip (Leptothrips mali).

How to Get Rid of Mites From Roses

By: Kenneth Coppens

21 September, 2017

Roses, like most other flowers, are susceptible to mite infestations. These tiny pests inhabit any type of plant that has dry or dusty leaves. In small numbers, mites can cause leaves to curl up and turn yellow, but as the mite population increases, they can kill entire plants. Pesticides are often ineffective in treating mites. The most effective treatment against mites on rose plants is completely natural and inexpensive.

Spray water directly on top of the rose plants. The water will knock the mites off and may cause them to drown.

Spray water on the entire plant three times per day, making sure to also spray the underside of the leaves. Mites are attracted to dry, dusty conditions, so a moist plant will deter them from coming back.

Release ladybugs in the area. Ladybugs, available in most garden supply stores, are one of the best natural pest controls available. They will eat the mites along with many other pests, but will not harm your plants.

Spray neem oil on the underside of the leaves. Neem oil is a natural, vegetable-based oil that repels mites.

Rid Of Wood Mites

Wood mites are tiny, harmless bugs that often live in old, damp wood. Though they pose no direct threat to pet snakes, they should be eradicated anyway for the sake of good hygiene. Wood mites also infest cigar humidors. Inspect the area thoroughly and locate any mites. They feed on decomposing wood, but they are not termites. Purchase an anti-mite insecticide at your local gardening or home supply store. If the mites have invaded your cigar humidor, place it in the freezer for a few hours. Mite eggs cannot survive in cold climates. Available at many gardening supply stores and online, the hypoaspis mite is a predatory mite that will quickly consume the wood mites.

When spraying your roses with water, try not to get the soil too wet as soggy soil can hurt the plant roots.

Test a small amount of the neem oil on one leaf before you spray the whole plant. Neem oil may damage certain types of roses.

How to Treat Spider Mites on Hydrangea

By: Kenneth Coppens

21 September, 2017

Spider mites are common destructive insects that plague many types of flowers and vegetables, including hydrangeas. They often thrive in warm, dry climates and will eat away at your plants until they are brown, deformed, dried out and nearly dead. Getting rid of the pesky insects can be tricky, but it’s important to eliminate them in order to ensure the health of your garden. The best way to get rid of spider mites on your hydrangeas is to keep them moist and to use an insecticide.

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Spray the hydrangeas with cool water. The force and weight from the water may be enough to knock the mites off and prevent them from coming back.

Keep the soil moist at all times. Mites prefer dry, hot conditions, so constant moisture will make the plant less appealing to the mites.

Spray the plant with an insecticidal soap to kill off any remaining mites. Repeat the process once a week until all signs of mites go away.

Collect as many ladybugs as you can find and set them free near the spider mites. Ladybugs feed off of small pests such as spider mites but will not harm your plants.

Spider Mites On Roses

Spider mites are pinhead-sized, eight-legged spider relatives. Species commonly infesting roses include twospotted (Tetranychus urticae) and Pacific (T. pacifica). Yellow Pacific spider mites feed on both leaf surfaces. Roses frequently host simultaneous infestations of both mites. As feeding progresses, the leaves become completely yellow or bronze. In high temperatures, large Pacific spider mites populations can distort a rose’s young shoots with their dense webs. This commercially available mite feeds on eggs, larvae and adult spider mites. Some insecticides kill the mites’ natural predators and discourage their return with toxic residues. Western predatory mites can safely protect roses from new spider mite attacks after the oils dry.

How to get rid of Spider Mites on cannabis plants

Last updated June 1-2019 Published November 21-2017

Spider mites are the most common garden pest to attack cannabis plants. These tiny mites love to make their home on plants in dirty indoor grow rooms or greenhouses, living on their nutritious sap. If left uncontrolled, spider mite infestations can have devastating effects on the health of your plants and the size/quality of your harvest.


Spider mites are a common garden pest. They tend to live on the underside of plant leaves, and leave behind translucent eggs and protective silk webs.

Spider mites can be red or black in colour and can usually only be spotted with at least a 10x microscope. They feed off plant sap, stunting the growth of your plants and ultimately affecting their overall health and the size of their yields.


While spider mites are tiny, you can easily spot them by looking for the following telltale signs of the pest on your plants:

  • Stippling. This looks like tiny white or yellow spots forming on the foliage of your plants.
  • Small white, almost translucent eggs on the underside of leaves.
  • Fragile silk webbing forming around leaves, buds, or branches.
  • Visible mites on plant foliage (usually spotted with a handheld microscope).


Spider mites reproduce extremely quickly (one fertilized female can lay up to 140 eggs per day). Hence, you’ll want to act quickly at the first sign of an infestation.

Here’s how to get rid of spider mites on your cannabis plants:

  • Start by washing down your plants with a strong jet of water. Do this early in the morning. If possible, try to bring down the pH of your water to about 3-4. You can do this using vinegar, nitric, phosphoric, or citric acid.
  • Next, opt for a contact pesticide spray like insecticidal soap. These are safe to use on all kinds of consumable plants, including cannabis. When using contact sprays, remember to directly hit the pests and their eggs with the spray (the key word here is contact). If you’re a DIYer, you can make up your own insecticidal mite spray using water and garlic.
  • Re-apply your spray according to the label instructions until all the mites have been completely removed from your plants. This will usually take multiple applications. Also, remember to switch up the sprays/pesticides you use. Mites are very good at building up immunity if only targeted with one specific spray.

Note: Never use systemic pesticides on cannabis plants. These pesticides enter the vascular system of plants and can be poisonous to both humans and animals. Only ever use pesticides that are safe to use on edibles like fruit and veg.


Obviously, it’s always better to prevent a mite infestation than fight one. Here are some simple tips for preventing spider mites on your cannabis plants:

  • Don’t recycle soil from plants that have been infected in the past.
  • Submerge all new plants in a non-toxic miticide before introducing them into your garden.
  • Keep temperatures low and humidity high. Mites struggle to reproduce in these conditions.
  • Immediately remove and destroy damaged foliage.
  • Introduce predatory mites or insects into your garden. You can buy these online or at gardening centres.
  • Keep your grow space clean. Spider mites love dirty, dusty environments, so make sure you clean your grow space regularly. This includes everything from your basic gardening equipment (like pruning shears) to your high end equipment like extractors.

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites in Your Home

Spider mites are a terrible pest. They can live undetected on the bottoms of your plant leaves, invisible to the naked eye. Even though you may not be able to see them, they are still there, hurting your plants. You will know if you have spider mites by mysterious yellow, red, white, and brown spots forming on your plants’ leaves, and tiny, nearly invisible webs. If these symptoms occur, you are in trouble unless you take the proper steps in response. So what should you do if you have a spider mite infestation in your home? The following instructions will give you a good idea of how to proceed.

Step 1 — Setup

When you realize that you have a spider mite problem in your home, you should do your best to make sure it does not spread. Figure out which plants have spider mites. If you are unsure, check for spots, webs, or tap on the leaves while holding a piece of paper underneath them to check for red spots. If your plant has these symptoms, it has spider mites.

Now that you know which plants have spider mites, separate those plants from the rest of your garden creating as much distance as possible.

Step 2 — Spray

There are a wide variety of products that can be used to kill spider mites. However, since you will be spraying them inside your own home, your options are limited to things that are relatively non-toxic. Additionally, though it is often done in gardens, introducing predatory mites into your own home to control spider mites is not a very good solution.

The best way to kill spider mites in your home is by spraying with a mixture of equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and water. Rubbing alcohol will kill any living animal, but will cause minimal damage to your plants due to the speed at which it evaporates. Once you have filled your spray bottle with the mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, spray your affected plants thoroughly, focusing on the undersides of the leaves, as this is where the spider mites are trying to make their homes.

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You may have to continue spraying for several weeks before all of the mites are dead.

Step 3 — Increase Humidity

Spider mites love hot, dry weather. Therefore, you should make sure that they encounter the opposite conditions. Misting affected plants with a spray bottle will inhibit the reproduction of new mites and the activity of existing ones. Using your spray bottle full of water on plants that have no mites yet will help keep them mite free.

A humidifier is also a great way to keep down spider mites. Whatever you do, you should take care to avoid your plants drying out.

Spider mites also like the heat, so keeping temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is a good way to prevent them from living and reproducing.

Step 4 — Prevent Future Problems

Aside from controlling the temperature and humidity, there is relatively little you can do to prevent indoor spider mite outbreaks. However, as you should be controlling temperature and humidity for indoor plants anyway, this should not present a problem now that you are armed with information and a battle plan.

Spider mites on mini rose

Spider mite on mini rose

I had a very severe infestation of spider mites on my miniature rosebush. One day I just noticed the plant was totally covered in webs and tiny bugs. I mean, it was really really bad. All of the leaves were turning brown or covered in brown spots. I put it in the shower and sprayed down the plant with a medium pressure spray. This removed all the webs and a lot of the spider mites. Of course it also removed about half of the leaved from the plant, mostly the more damaged ones. A few days later I noticed that there were still a noticeable amount of mites tormenting my plant. I filled a small wastebasket with water and added a few tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide. I submerged the entire plant and soaked it for a few hours in there but I’m not really sure how much that helped, since most arachnids can live up to 24 hours underwater. A few days later there were still signs of the mites eating my plant so I took to mechanical means of removal. I spent about an hour repeatedly flicking the stems with my fingers over a piece of paper and squishing anything I saw moving on the paper. Over time less and less mites were coming off, and I took that as a sign that I had eradicated most of them. I wanted to be sure that they were all gone, so I filled a small cup with 3% hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle, and individually dipped the remaining leaves in it for a few seconds. This was a pretty easy task because there were only a few clusters of leaves left. After that I sprayed the plant with water to wash away the peroxide and let the plant dry. This whole time my boyfriend (who gave me the plant) was laughing at how much effort I was putting in to saving this little plant that looked like it was about to die anyway. But during the next few days, with the mites completely exterminated, new leaf buds started appearing all over the plant where the leaves had been falling off throughout the infestation. My plant is now re-growing its leaves and starting to look really healthy again.

I know this is a very long story but I know these mini rosebushes are very prone to spider mite infestations so I wanted to share my success and method in treating a very severe infestation. If I had let it go another day before showering it off, it probably would have died, as there were thousands of the little suckers all over my plant.

Don’t give up on your plants! Dana

3 Responses

Spider mite tip

Flicking off the mites will definitely remove some of them, but definitely not all of them. They’re so small that you can’t exactly where they are (other than seeing the signs of an infestation, such as mottled leaves).

If you’re looking for a better way to disturb their habitat, they REALLY hate water. They’re used to hanging out in dry areas, which keeps their eggs safe, especially under their webbing. If you spray water on them, you can remove a great deal of them.

However, the best way to get rid of them is to spray them with a miticide. Most insecticides will harm your play, so a miticide like Lavamite is the best solution. It’s non-toxic and will destroy the mites upon contact.

*Spider Mite tip
I have found out that SPIDER MITES HATE wind! Once I learned that,(indoors mind you) I eradicated my mites, similar as mentioned THEN put a small oscilating fan blowing on the plants! You might use a bit more water from evaporation, but I’m telling you, those mites were gone for good. Seems they like stagnent envionments and wind is bad for them. It really works. I also use fans in my hydroponic room and once I added a fan…… mites! Cheap fix. It works!

Hey John
Thanks for the tip! It makes sense. I’m going to try it this winter.

But where did they go? I’m scared these things are going to get on my or my clothes lol. Did the fan kill them? Or did they just run off?

HOW TO KILL SPIDER MITES 100%: » Naturally — no chemicals»



By Calibuzz — 30 year grower

Cured Clone — see new growth!

You have Spider Mites? YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. Unless you are diligent and work hard, the problem will not go away, your crop is doomed as one by one they fail and die.

As a Native American, proud of our heritage and ways in keeping with the environment, I give to you a method that is naturally harmonious, and pure. The method is so benign, you may use this method even during flowering — without a single harm to your precious plants.

The best way is not the easiest by far; to do the perfect job takes comitment — so all you lazy bud heads who want a quick fix: «look elsewhere, or coat your precious medicine with chemicals and poison. and remind me not to smoke your herb.»

Editor’s note: One will find a bit of cross talk in this thread, and some rude posts. The Editor aplogizes that many have strayed off the central subject and prefer to haze each other. However, one will find many other concerned members with great suggestions and feedback. — calibuzz

«Now then, for all you fervent horticulturists. «

Spider mites are alive; you can make them dead. All life is fragile, but. «how do I kill the mites without hurting my crop?»

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I will not use pesticides or harmful chemicals on my plants; thus, I have found an all-natural way to rid the infestations that sometimes occur. Curing your plants takes time and care, but you can rid your babies of the mini-spiders that suck your plant’s life’s blood.

Spiders have skin-like exoskeletons; the tissues are sensitive to change. Molecules soak though their pours, skin and orifices; thus, what may bother you — a giant living organism — might prove fatal to a spider the size of a pinhead. This is so when using a common group of proteins found in Nature. I will teach you how to naturally and inexpensively rid your plants of the dreaded spider mites.
The Habanera Pepper (sometimes pronounced Habenero) is the key ingredient in pepper spray. Once you make a batch of CALICLEAN you’ll see why. One may buy habanera peppers in any vegetable section for about 6 dollars a pound. The peppers are light orange to dark red, and are about the size of a bic lighter when fully mature, most are half that size. Go buy a pound, now. If you have mites, time is of the essence.

NOTICE: The spray you make is not harmful to humans (hab peppers are an ingredient in all really good south of the border salsas), but irritating to mucus membranes and soft tissues, it will make you cough — as its like breathing chili powder, so use care.

If you have taken a powerful magnifying glass to the underside of your plant’s leaves you will have seen the little off-yellow dots with a brown center that move about slowly over the plant leafs and veins — the mature mites. These big mites leave web-strands like other spiders. Web strands between leaf and stems (as they cross back and forth to new vulnerable leaves), and between leaf serrations are indications of a healthy infestation and big mites on your plants. You may also have seen almost too-hard-to-see little brown dots crawling slowly about. These are the baby mites that will grow into big suckers. You may also have seen groups of little white dots near the central leaf brachiation and the main leaf veins. These are clutches of mite eggs. They will soon hatch and produce up to 80 mites per clutch, per mature mite. You are screwed if you do nothing. But fret not, you can save your plants, and they will recover and thrive — with diligence.


Making the Calicleaner

1.) Get a sauce pan — fill with one pint of water — put on lowest flame possible (do not boil . ).
2.) Chop 4 -5 Habanera peppers fine. Chop open seeds and central membranes, as the power lies there.
3.) Simmer chopped peppers for 20 minutes — making sure not to boil (you will destroy the active proteins).
4.) When you put your head over the pan and the wispy-steam stings your eyes, the Calicleaner is ready.
5.) Pour the Calicleaner through a fine mesh strainer — a little fine grit is OK — let cool in a clean bowl.
6.) Pour room temperature contents in a mister spray bottle. Your are ready to apply.

HOW TO APPLY Calicleaner
1.) Put on gloves, and wear a mask, or at least put a bandana around your nose and mouth.
2.) Turn off all fans — you do not want this spray in your eyes.
3.) Spray the bottom of EVERY leaf — starting with the bottom leaves first, work up to the top.
4.) After the bottoms are done, hit the tops and the stems.
5.) Squirt liberally in new leaf pods — tightly wound new leaf growth (the small mites hide there).
6.) Get the heck out of the room till it clears.
7.) Repeat procedure with each plant.
8.) Spray the soil, the pots, and the floor or earth around the area to kill dropping mites and stop migration.
9.) Wash hands with soap and water when complete — the stuff will heat-up skin for 4 hours.
10.) DO NOT WORRY. Though the stuff is lethal to mites, the plants love it.

Congratulations! You have successfully killed the mites that you sprayed — on contact!. Plus, the mites are thwarted in biting again as they get a lethal dose of hot mouth. Your plants should be turning green again with in half a day. Though the leaves are scarred, they will recover and work again — producing vital sugars for growth.

However, you are not done. Some mites will escape the spray, though you have killed 95% of them. Thus, you will have to do the spray again tomorrow. As a matter of fact you will have to spray every 2-3 days till you see no more mites — usually up to two weeks. SOME EGGS WILL HATCH. Thus a week after the first spray, do a super job again, the baby mites are likely out and about. Kill ’em right away.

Use your magnifying glass to inspect each plant carefully, when nothing moves and you see no more webs, your plants are clear. YEAH!!

Additional precautions: make sure your containers and pots do not touch, mites migrate. Clean your floors and equipment so live mites do not return (spray them down with Caliclean). Since no person can kill every living mite in their situation, eternal diligence is now part of the equation. One mite may turn into a million in a month.

Other helpful hints: wash your plants with clean water spray between sprayings, this cleans off dead mites and eggs, and refreshes the plant leaf compromised by the vampire sucking mites. Keep the room cool, 78 degrees to 68 degrees if possible during treatment. Mites hate the cold — thus weakened mites will drop dead. If lower leaves are infested with eggs and mites — cut them off! DO NOT LEAVE CUTTINGS NEARBY! Burn or bury your cuttings far away.

Spraying notes: Mites tend to collect where the leaves join at the nexus and overlap. If you can, lay your plants on-end or position upsidedown (be real careful) to make sure all undersides are sprayed. Cut off curled leaves where they collect. If you’re a rich person you may make a full pound to ten gallons of water and dunk them — even better!!

The best part of using Calicleaner is you may use it always — even during flowering. As the solution is all natural, no one is harmed but the mites: «Nature to deal with Nature.» Your money goes to a farmer not a chemical corporation.

Check often; check carefully; your plants will thank you with fine flowering! Be good to your N atural Medicine , and it will be good to you.

Good Luck and best wishes, «How Ni Kan, Megwetch,» Peace be with you always,

Image one: Cured Clone — see new growth.
Image two: Cured Nursery — all plants mite free after caliclean!
Image three: After the Storm — I was out hiking the mountains and witnessed this.

There is hope at the end of every rainbow; don’t give up!

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