Sad & Ugly Plants? How to Spot & Treat Mites

As a fairly experienced grower of five years, it was embarrassing.

This past summer, my Venus flytraps weren’t thriving like they had the year before. In fact, they looked REALLY bad. I gave them a dose of a systemic insecticide that helped wiped out my mealybugs earlier this year (imidacloprid). No improvement.

When I had more dead leaves than live ones, I knew I had a problem I had to tackle fast.

This is what my plants looked like. 🙁

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

My once-gorgeous FTS Crimson Sawtooth looked like crap. 🙁

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

New traps were dying before fully developing! I wanted to cry.

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

 

From what I read in books and searched online, my best educated guess was spider mites as the culprit. I took photos of my damaged plants and posted in the FlytrapCare Forums to get feedback from other growers, and my suspicion was confirmed. I had pretty gnarly mite damage.

The bad news: Mites are tough, and many systemic insecticides don’t work on them. To truly take care of them, you specifically need a good miticide. And the best miticide on the market is expensive and comes in a huge quantity. 

This is where I really want to sing the praises of FlytrapCare.com. Their store offers small doses of miticide at an affordable price. They are all $19.95, so you might as well buy Avid, the best one.

This is the dose of Avid that I received. Yes, that tiny little bottle can create five gallons! More than enough for me!

Avid Miticide available in small doses!

As mentioned in the description, Avid is effective on mobile life stages of mites, but not on eggs. To best eradicate all life stages, apply once every three days, for a total of three applications. Avid is a toxic pesticide, so be sure to use proper protection and read the label when handling it, even in small doses! 

And, oh man! I saw my flytraps bounce back to life almost immediately! Check out these shots from last week!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

The traps are alive! No more 90% dead leaves!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

 

You can see some of the old damage on these typicals. I’m waiting for the whole leaf to die off before trimming!

Dionaea muscipula, Venus flytrap.

Dionaea muscipula, Venus flytrap.

So how do I know if I have mites? 

Mites tend to attack when the weather is hot and dry, which was definitely the case here in California! If you have damage that looks similar to mine, and hot, dry weather to match, chances are good that you have them. The mites themselves are very hard to see and nearly microscopic. They look like tiny red or white specks. Spider mites may also weave web-like structures around your plants.

I’m bummed that my flytraps aren’t as glorious-looking as last year, but this was definitely a valuable lesson! I know what to look for and can hopefully stop damage sooner next time! This is also my wake up call to take preventative action against pests during dormancy this year.

Final note: I don’t receive any kind of commission from Flytrapcare.com. I wanted to share what worked for me, and hopefully you guys will benefit from the info too!

If you did find this post helpful, please share it with the buttons to the left! Everyone should have the knowledge to treat plant damage at an affordable cost!

Thanks for reading! Til next time,

Maria

8 comments

  1. Brandon says:

    Your plants are so gorgeous ;__; all but my two nepenthes and one of my sweet pitchers died this year and even that sweet pitcher is looking really sad like it’s seriously struggling. It’s doing basically what you described here: leafs dying before they even develope completely. The same thing happened to my young red dragon… I’ll really have to look into getting some of that insecticide….

    • Maria says:

      Sorry to hear that, Brandon! 🙁 I’ve learned that prevention is the best method. Give them a good soak of insecticide with dormancy coming up and they’ll be better defended in the spring!

  2. Annabel says:

    My new traps are dying before they are fully developed too. I have no large traps and very weak small ones. They appear to be growing stunted as soon as I can see new leaves! I don’t know what is happening, my plant doesn’t look like yours as its just the trap heads that are suffering.
    There are annoying little white insects in the soil though.
    My plant is suffering bad, recently tried to grow a stalk in this condition which I quickly removed.
    Advice?

    • Maria says:

      Hi Annabel!

      The best way to find a solution would be to post a clear photo in a carnivorous plant facebook group. Mention your conditions (water, soil, light, how long you’ve had the plant) and the community should be able to help you out. White insects could be mealybugs, white flies, or something else. Good luck! I hope you find an answer!

      • Annabel says:

        Thanks. I’m just worried because the new traps are turning black before they even develop and don’t open, but the leaves are surviving. I use only distilled water and the soil is peat moss, I’ve had the plant about half a year… It wasn’t in the best shape when I bought it and it soon looked better when I started caring for it, so I don’t know why it’s not doing so well now. :-/
        I can’t find anyone with my exact issue on forums.

  3. Mad Maxine says:

    I used a microscope and some tape and confirmed I have mites. I have some Avid now. Are you mixing the Avid to the right concentration and then spraying it on?

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