Sunday, 4 May 2014

Spider Mite - the battle rages on

Some of you might remember this post from September last year when I mentioned what an utter nightmare I'd had with spite mite. Well the buggers are back and this time, they're looking to take down my beloved grapevines.

This is my sunny sit spot. Even if it's too cold to go outside, I can sit in here and get my shot of natural light. I can sit down with the door wide open and watch Pip play outside and it sounds so soothing when the rain hits the roof too, (unless of course it's pelting down in which case it's just plain deafening). In short, it's my happy place at this time of year, guaranteed to make me smile.

..Unless I look up and see this. The first sign of spider mites. They live on the underside of leaves and feed on the chlorophyll which causes the leaf to turn mottled as shown in the picture above. If left untreated, leaves will eventually turn completely yellow and drop off the plant. Fine cobwebs along the stems and leaf corners are another sign. So far I can't find any of that, but a quick search did uncover a fair number of mites and yellowing leaves. They are definitely back and growing in numbers. 

You can use chemical bug sprays and last year I have to admit to being so desperate that I actually tried one. It was fairly effective, but bloody hell...almost a week after I sprayed the stuff I watched a spider crawl across the conservatory floor. It didn't even make it to the other side.
And yes, I had mopped the floor after using the spray! To add insult to injury, it didn't even clear the spider mite, they just regrouped and marched on.

Therefore this year, I'm using a much softer solution. Water and washing up liquid. Easy. 
I've read that it works, but the trick seems to be frequent spritzing. Spider mite thrive in dry, arid environments and that's my conservatory to a T at this time of year. I'm hoping the solution won't just kill the spider mite, but will also be non-toxic to the grapes and of course, allow Pip to play in there safely.

The big question is who will win the war this year, spider mites of me? 

Me. The answer is me.

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