Orchid plants and orchid mites do not get along. They can be very damaging to your plants and can even kill them. Orchid mites are not really an orchid disease but an orchid pest. Let's look a bit closer at these difficult pests.
There are many different types of mites. Some of them are actually good for plants and get rid of the bad mites but most are not good for plants. The plants can be orchids but also many other plants are susceptible.
There are two primary mites that affect orchids. You may know one of them as spider mites. Even though some can lay a silky web they are not related to spiders. The spider mite that causes the majority of problems for orchid growers is the two-spotted spider mite.
This mite is usually yellowish-green with two black spots on either side of the body about half way down the body.
The other common mite that affects orchids is the flat mite. Flat mites are usually found in tropical and sub-tropical climates.
Even though we can give you the two different types of mites they are very hard identify and sometimes need an entomologists. The orchid mites are very small measuring 1 mm or less.
Mites can go from orchid plants to orchid plants very easily. They are light and can float on air currents.
From eggs to larva to nymphs and then to adults. The cycle can take many weeks to complete and orchid growers need to viligent.
The orchid leaves can be affected by the mites. Yellow speckles or brown spots are what can be the give away to mites. But remember there are other reasons for this as well like a fungal disease.
You may also see some "spider" webs. These are not caused by spiders but by "spider" mites.
If you suspect mites you need to isolate your plants from the others as mites can travel fast and easily from orchid to orchid.
Start simply. Water can rinse most of these pests off the orchid plants. Misting orchids regularly can prevent mites. Remember, the mites have a long life cycle, it won't just take one treatment but over weeks you will win.
For more persistant infestations a mixture of rubbing alcohol and dish detergent sprayed on the leaves will get rid of the mites without damaging the orchid leave. I would suggest treating the plant in one week and again the following week as well.
Mites are a menace and can kill orchid. They primarily attack the leaves but the treatments are pretty easy.
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