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Common household remedies request

I can't keep houseplants alive because of the extreme temperature fluctuations from my woodstove, but my lack of houseplants is not the subject of this post. I have a friend, however, who does have houseplants, and those house plants seem to have mites on their leaves -- which have also become sticky. (The first plant I saw with this trouble was a peace plant, but this seems to be true for a spider plant as well.)

So, mites? Something else? And what's with the stickiness?

And how to get rid of whatever they are and it is? Neem oil?

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affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

The spider mites feed on plant sap - and that's probably the source of stickyness (many household plant pests feed on sap and produce stickyness - e,g, scales, aphids, whiteflies). Can treat with insecticidal soap, Neem oil products (Azamax contains the same active ingredient = Azadirachtin from Neem), or hot pepper wax. All of these require repeated application. A friend of mine was able to save supposedly unsalvagable spider-mite-infested plants that were being discarded from greenhouses by using hot pepper wax (applied repeatedly every few days). Spider mites can be hard to get rid of - all the treatments listed above require direct-contact - and if you miss some mites, they'll come back. Insecticidal soap can be "homemade", but I prefer Safer's product. Also, spider mites do worse at higher humidity (they prefer dry conditions).