Scabies is one of those terms that sounds like it must mean something disgusting. Actually, it is an itchy skin condition caused by a microscopic mite. Scabies has been around for more than 2,000 years and was the original inspiration for the phrase “the seven-year itch.” The female mite burrows into the skin, laying eggs as it tunnels. The body develops an allergic reaction to the mites and their waste products, causing extreme itching.
The spidermite is a very common garden pest that can cause serious damage to your indoor or outdoor vegetable garden. These microscopic spiders are found on the underside of leaves. They extract fluids vital to your plants’ survival from the leaves, leaving noticeable traces of yellowish white spots, known as stippling, on the top side of the leaves. Further inspection of your plants should reveal tiny spider webs on stems and leaves. If you mist your plants, before inspection, it will make the webs easier to detect.
With very simple, preventative measures you can spidermite proof your indoor garden by making the living conditions inhospitable. Spidermites thrive in dry (20%-30% humidity), warm (70-80 degrees F) conditions. In temperatures above 80 degrees F, spidermites can reproduce in as little as 5 days, making early detection a necessity.
In order to make the environment uncomfortable for them, before and during the onset of an infestation, use a humidifier to raise the humidity in the room to around 50%-60% humidity and cool the room, with an air conditioner, to below 60 degrees F. This cool, moist air should drive away any spidermites. Outdoors, it is impossible to control the environment, so in case of an infestation insecticidal soaps, pyrethrum sprays and pyrethrin(all described later) should be used to keep an outdoor spidermite infestation in check. Always remember the best preventative measure you can take is checking your plants on a regular basis(every 2-3 days).
By Art Marroquin, Staff Writerdailybreeze.com
The last thing any mom wants next weekend is a pest.
To keep that from happening, federal authorities are preparing for Mother’s Day by scrutinizing an estimated 40 million flowers for bugs, eggs and larvae hiding in shipments coming from South America, Asia and Australia.
“We don’t want anyone’s mom to deal with that for Mother’s Day.”
Armed with magnifying glasses and tweezers, the CBP’s trained group of agricultural specialists constantly search for unusual signs of disease or clues that mites, thrips, miner flies and other critters are feeding on lush shipments arriving at Los Angeles International Airport.
More flowers arrive in the United States for Mother’s Day than any other holiday, followed by Valentine’s Day, Ruiz said. Los Angeles handles 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s blooms, making it the second-busiest flower importer after Miami.
“Sometimes we don’t find anything, but finding something new to us is pretty exciting,” said Yaan Cheng, who has worked the past four years as a CBP inspector at LAX.
On Monday morning, Cheng grabbed a rose bouquet that had just arrived from Ecuador, flipped it upside down and gave it a strong shake.
Cheng gingerly placed the insect into an alcohol-filled glass vial that will be examined to determine whether it is already established in the United States.
If the insect isn’t already present, then the entire shipment of flowers is sent back, destroyed or treated with chemical pesticides.
“One little bug that isn’t from here could wreak havoc in the agricultural sector,” Ruiz said.
The flowers arrive in the belly of passenger jetliners, and then are whisked to massive cold-storage units housed inside nearby warehouses.
Nearly 3.5 million flowers arrived last weekend from New Zealand, Ecuador and Colombia for inspection at Gourmet Logistics Co., which has a cavernous refrigeration unit that’s kept at a brisk zero to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The petals are kept in fresh condition until they are ready for distribution to West Coast flower shops and supermarkets, said Andy Iturrizaga, business relations manager for Gourmet Logistics Co.
“It’s a great business,” Iturrizaga said. “Especially at this time of the year.”
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are a member of the mite family. They generally live on the bottom sides of leaves of plants. They may spin protective silk webs around your plants, this is how they got the ‘spider’ part of their name. Spider mites are less than 1 millimetre (0.04 in) in size and vary in color. They lay small, spherical, initially transparent eggs. Spider mites are known to feed on several hundred species of plants, causing damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed. This is not good news to those of you out there who were hoping to have a nice garden this season.
Life Cycle And Your Plants
Hot, dry conditions are often associated with population build-up of spider mites. Under ideal conditions (approximately 80 °F), the two-spotted spider mite can hatch in as little as 3 days, and become sexually mature in as little as 5 days. One female can lay up to 20 eggs per day and can live for 2 to 4 weeks, laying hundreds of eggs. A single mature female can spawn a population of a million mites in a month or less. This accelerated reproductive rate allows spider mite populations to adapt quickly. Within 2 weeks of growing plants if you are not careful in taking the proper measures for eliminating spider mites it may be too late. You want to attack them quickly before they reproduce to millions. A problem with mites is that they adapt to their environment quickly, including building immunities to chemical sprays.
Natural Spider Mite Eliminators?
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 drops dish detergent
- 1/2 tsp epsom salts
Take a cup of very hot water and dissolve the salts, place all other ingredients in a spray bottle , add the salt and fill with 48oz water. Shake well and get your spray on. The best method is to cover soil with plastic, spray all over, especially under the leaves. Wait 20 minutes, then spray with clean water shaking as much water off the plant as you can. The clean water will remove the solution and hopefully the remains of the mites and their eggs. You may need to repeat, but keeping this on hand will be useful for the mites that may reappear or reproduce.
- Many spiders die in the fall after producing an egg sac, but some live through the winter and mate in the spring then die. Others survive for two or more years, including the wolf spider that may live for several years and the tarantula that has been known to live for 20 years.
- The average female spider’s egg sac holds about 100 eggs, but larger spiders can produce as many as 2,000!
- The egg sac is either attached to a web, plant or other structure, and some mothers protect the sac till the spiderlings emerge. Other spiders will carry the sac on their abdomen and some drag it behind them.
- Most baby spiders hatch when the weather gets warm, but still stay quietly inside their egg sac until spring.
- When the spiderlings first emerge from the sac, they spin a dragline and balloon away.