Have you noticed your plant leaves turning russet-colored or greasy-bronze lately? There’s a good chance you may have russet mites on your plants.
However, don’t reach for the harsh chemicals just yet. There are several natural ways you can get rid of these pesky mites and restore your plants to perfect health.
Russet mites are also known as rust mites or thistle mites. These tiny pests feed on plants, causing damage to leaves, stems, and fruit cells.
They’re barely visible to the naked eye . But you’ll know they’re there from the rust-colored spots and misshapen growth.
Russet mites may cause damage to a wide variety of crops and other plants, especially:
- Fruit trees like apples, pears, and citrus.
- Vegetable crops including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
- Other plants include hemp and cannabis plants.
Controlling russet mites in home gardens and orchards requires diligent monitoring and a multi-pronged approach for the best results.
How to Get Rid of Russet Mites Naturally
If you find that you may have a russet mite infestation, take action quickly before these microscopic pests destroy your plant. Below are some home remedies and natural control measures that you can employ.
1. Horticultural Oils
Horticultural oils are commonly used as a russet mite treatment among gardeners. These lightweight oils coat the mites and clog their breathing pores, essentially suffocating them.
If used properly, horticultural oil sprays are very effective at controlling russet mite infestations.
2. Beneficial Nematodes
Introduce beneficial nematodes into the soil prior to planting. This will help eliminate russet mite nymphs in the soil after they have hatched.
You can purchase packets of beneficial nematodes to apply to moist soil. Once the nematodes are in the soil, they will actively hunt down these critters.
3. Neem Oil
Neem oil contains a compound that repels and kills many common garden pests like russet-hemp mites, aphids, scale, and spider mites. It is an organic way to keep these critters away.
Make a homemade russet mite spray by mixing 5 ml of concentrated neem oil with 2 ml of mild liquid soap in a liter of water. Spray the solution directly on the plants at the first sign of damage.
4. Destroy Severely Infected Plants
If the infestation of these mites on your plant is severe, it may be best to remove the plant entirely. As sad as it is, some plants cannot be saved once the mites have taken over.
One badly infested plant can eventually infest the entire garden if not removed promptly and carefully.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is another organic russet mite killer. The sharp edges of this fine powder will cut into the mites’ exoskeleton and dehydrate them, causing their death.
Apply it as a wet solution (4 tablespoons per gallon of water) to infested plant leaves, coating both sides of the leaves and stems. Also, dust it onto the top layer of soil around the base of the plant.
6. Insecticidal Soap
Insecticidal soap is effective at controlling broad mites, russet mites, spider mites, and other garden pests. It’s a very useful pest management tool for any organic gardener.
To make your own insecticidal soap spray, mix 4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap (not detergent) per gallon of water. A good option is castile soap.
Next, add the soap to the water and mix well to combine. The soap should fully dissolve in the water.
Finally, spray the soapy water solution liberally on the infested plant. Alternatively, you can purchase insecticidal soap if the DIY process is too much.
7. Predatory Mites
These predatory mites feed on russet mites, broad mites, cyclamen mites, and other mites. They are very efficient hunters of these mites.
8. Bonide Sulfur Fungicide
Bonide Sulfur Fungicide is an organic powder that can be used to prevent fungal spores from maturing. It is also effective against rust mites and other plant pests.
Mix and apply this sulfur dust according to the instructions that come with your purchase. The sulfur in the solution will naturally stop the mites from feeding on your plants.
9. Agro Pest
This product combines thyme oil and rosemary oil to make an effective pesticide that works wonders against mites, thrips, psyllids, and other soft-bodied pests.
Thyme oil is an excellent endocrine disruptor, and it also works as a repellent. Rosemary, on the other hand, interferes with the neurotransmitter and kills eggs.
Combining these two ingredients makes it effective for all phases of the insect or pest development.
So there you have it: some all-natural solutions for ridding your garden of those pesky russet mites. No need for toxic chemicals—you can fight them off with natural remedies.
Try a few of these methods to find what works best for your situation. The key is to start treatment as soon as you spot the mites, before they get out of control.