How to Combat Broad Mites

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Broad mites are miniscule, clear or light brown insects that infest a variety of common plants such as azaleas, African violets, impatiens and begonias. The insects are so small that they are almost impossible to see, though they cause considerable visible damage to host plants. The leaves may become purple or copper-tinged and curl down. Broad mites are also capable of destroying new growth as it emerges and causing blooms to become misshapen. The mites can be successfully combated by both mechanical and chemical means, depending upon where affected plants are growing.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking thermometer
  • Leak-proof container
  • Miticide
  • Spray Bottle
  • Take the affected plant or an affected stem if it is growing in the garden to your county extension office for diagnosis. Since the mites are extremely difficult to see and the symptoms of an infestation are similar to a number of other conditions, it's best to get a professional opinion before proceeding with treatment.

  • Fill a leak-proof container with water that is 109 to 111 degrees. Use a cooking thermometer to test the water before beginning treatment, as temperatures above 111 degrees may cause damage. Make sure that the chosen container is deep enough to submerge all of the affected plant's foliage.

  • Submerge the entire plant in the hot water and allow it to remain there for no more than 15 minutes. Broad mites are susceptible to heat and can't survive submersion at these temperatures.

  • Remove the plant from the water and allow it to dry. Keep it away from other plants until you are certain the broad mites have been eliminated.

  • Repeat the process again in two to three weeks if signs of damage continue.

  • Prepare a solution of miticide by mixing it with the recommended amount of water and pouring the liquid into a spray bottle.

  • Apply the solution until the leaves are wet. Pay special attention to the underside of the foliage.

  • Repeat the spraying as needed to combat the broad mite infestation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow directions on miticide products carefully and keep them away from pets and children.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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