Bulb Mites?? WTF!?

Well, I've spent about 5 hours reading up on this and the more I read, the more depressed I get. I've been getting crap harvests for the last 6 months and could not figure out why. A friend of mine recently came over and identified my problem as bulb mites. This friend has been battling them unsuccessfully for the last 3 years. I immediately went out and spend $250 on some Botaniguard, but now I'm reading that others haven't had much success with it. Another friend of mine is recommending SNS 209, so I suppose I'll give that a try as well. The common theme I seem to be noticing is that almost everyone that has contracted these little critters had a fungus gnat problem at about the same time. This is also true of my situation. I'm sure I can easily eradicate the gnats, but I am becoming extremely worried that I won't be able to get rid of these mites. In the great wide world of Google, I am shocked, SHOCKED, that I have not found one single success story. How can there not be a single product out there that just kicks the hell out of these things? Anyone that has had any success with any method, please let me know! I am feeling so anxious about this that I can't even sleep! I don't want to have to move and purchase all new equipment, but if I have to, I will. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
 

Seamaiden

Living dead girl
@bigdaddyg8 -- have you found that the clones had lost a lot of their usual vigor? I had that issue with root aphids, lost a whole stable because of it. They couldn't fight off a *thing*.

I can't believe that even something like Merit or something hasn't been found to eradicate bulb mites, so you can color me shocked, too.
 
As always often the best thing to do is establish clones in as sterile an environment as you can manage. Cull everything and clean the room with bleach and alcohol and anything abrasive and harmful to life you can think of every day for a week or two before putting anything living back into it. Then take your clones and makes clones of them in new soil new pots new everything before introducing them back into the room.

Once you've cleaned the room be anal. Only wear freshly washed clothes into the room after having showered recently. Most of what is getting into your garden is being tracked in from outside by YOU.
 
All these bugs , I cant keep track of em all.... I hear that over a 11 new micro Bt bugs were identified in Colo in 2013. BULB MITES. wtf...

Here is my last resort method that wins bug battles if I'm loosing. I fought an organic battle with Russet Mites this year and lost. I showed my LAST RESORT bug battle trick to a student years ago and forgot to try it on my garden last summer. She had a bountiful organic harvest this year. I asked her what she felt was her success to the bug battle this year. She was using Brighton City Pond water. I went down Webster Lake an loaded up for the fall . I havent scoped a bad Bug since . DONT ADD POND WATER THAT IS NOT TREATED! If you see mosquito larvae in the water this LAST RESORT method may not work and it might make your problem worse. This is a LAST RESORT to a bug battle!

For the winter:
If ya cant afford the BioWarrior, i think that was the name, just go down to your hardware store and get pond water treatment, $8... Treat soil rite away. treat water and Teas ;) every 2 week and you wont need any poison in small washed, clean gardens.

Bacillus thuringiensis - is my focus as other good bugs seem to thrive with them also. Bt is an acronym for Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring species of bacteria found worldwide in the soil and on plants. This is why I have focused on soil grown plants for several years. Nearly 100 years ago, this bacterium was discovered to have pesticidal properties if consumed by the larvae of specific insects. Many subspecies, varieties, and strains of Bt have been identified since then, and it’s likely others have yet to be discovered.
Though genes from Bt have also been used in genetically modified organisms, my area of study has been and will focus only on the use of the microbe as an applied insecticide. Foliar feeding Bt grown in compost tea can be used to keep large gardens organic;
Th e strains of Bt characterized so far aff ect members of three insect orders:
Lepidoptera (butterfl ies and moths), Diptera (mosquitoes and biting flies), and Coleoptera (beetles). Commercially available,
Environmental Protection Agency-registered Bt products include:
B.t. aizawai (Lepidoptera)—used for wax moth larvae in honeycombs
B.t. israelensis (Diptera)—frequently used for mosquitoes
B.t. kurstaki (Lepidoptera)—frequently used for gypsy moth, spruce budworm, and many vegetable pests
B.t. san diego and tenebrionis (Coleoptera)—frequently used for elm leaf beetle, Colorado potato beetle
B.t. kurstaki is the most commonly used Bt formulation, as it will kill many leaf-feeding larvae on vegetables, shrubs, fruit trees, and conifers. There is abundant scientific literature on this biopesticidal organism.
Other Bt isolates have been characterized but not yet registered by the EPA.
These include:
B.t. galleriae (Coleoptera)—used on Japanese beetles
B.t. japonensis and kumamotoensis (Coleoptera)—used on several turf beetle species Local isolates of Bt could represent an anderutilized, yet powerful, biological control resource.

Thus far this winter I have remained Organic with the focus on Bacillus thuringiensis. knock on wood. Scope OFTEN!
 

Seamaiden

Living dead girl
Huh, I've only ever seen Bt israelensis and kurstaki, not any of the others, on offer from the organic suppliers. Gonna have to get in touch w/Arbico and see if they can source the others. Bt san diego..? That one really piques my interest... the Salton Sea is in Imperial Co, but what other biomes might SD have that could generate such a unique species?
 
@bigdaddyg8 -- have you found that the clones had lost a lot of their usual vigor? I had that issue with root aphids, lost a whole stable because of it. They couldn't fight off a *I can't believe that even something like Merit or something hasn't been found to eradicate bulb mites, so you can color me shocked, too.
i have never had root aphids . the clones can be a little slow going .
especially in my case because soon as i have some decent root i cut away mostly any ugly leaf . what squiggly posted is an absolute must to have a chance against those little bastards clean , clean , clean !
 
Well, I've spent about 5 hours reading up on this and the more I read, the more depressed I get. I've been getting crap harvests for the last 6 months and could not figure out why. A friend of mine recently came over and identified my problem as bulb mites. This friend has been battling them unsuccessfully for the last 3 years. I immediately went out and spend $250 on some Botaniguard, but now I'm reading that others haven't had much success with it. Another friend of mine is recommending SNS 209, so I suppose I'll give that a try as well. The common theme I seem to be noticing is that almost everyone that has contracted these little critters had a fungus gnat problem at about the same time. This is also true of my situation. I'm sure I can easily eradicate the gnats, but I am becoming extremely worried that I won't be able to get rid of these mites. In the great wide world of Google, I am shocked, SHOCKED, that I have not found one single success story. How can there not be a single product out there that just kicks the hell out of these things? Anyone that has had any success with any method, please let me know! I am feeling so anxious about this that I can't even sleep! I don't want to have to move and purchase all new equipment, but if I have to, I will. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
DONT BUY SNS 209, IT DOES NOTHING. its meant to be something to deter pests from being on your plants.. it doesnt kill a thing.. its not meant to kill a thing. its meant to deter pests from being on your plants.
SNS 203 is what youd want imo.. its the actual contact killer for the sns line (may be more specific spider mite sprays now in their line that are also contact killers, but thats irrelavent)
 
I live in Colorado and have been battling russets--all those 209-203-mighty wash, liquid ladybug etc are not going to do anything for you

You want to go straight to the goods, people will cry its harmful and blah blah blah.. If you want to get rid of your problem and not waste a bunch of time and money

Plants in VEG

Forbid 4F or Avid ---One of those 2 with a complete douche of all plants everywhere..Drench them throughly and repeat 3 days later and repeat 3 days later

Also mix into your spray Tetrasan Ovicide with your Forbid or Avid. This is important!

Suit up, wear a respirator, rubber gloves you name it -- it can be very harmful stuff but it will solve your problems..Anything else will be a battle you will not win and a awful experience

If your flowering with russets you might as well throw them away, no matter your treatments the final product is pretty shitty JMHO

I learned the hard way trying to be "safe" ..If your problem is in VEG treat it, treat it again, and then treat it again then scope 100x all you want because you will just find your enemies laying dead and you will feel much much better!
 
The guy at my local hydro store recommended nematodes for control of RA and fungus gnats in soil. His supplier told him nematodes would keep for 3 months in the fridge. I spoke with a supplier who advised me to order and use within the week. I suspect people who buy nematodes that have been sitting around too long will not have any success. The nematodes were ineffective but that's because they were dead to begin with.
Before you chop and start over, order some hetero and steiner type nematodes. One type lies in wait for whatevr comes in contact with it, the other type of nematode is a search and destroy. Bugs don't develop immunity to bugs that eat them.
Also, order neem seed meal/cake online and top dress with it or make a tea. The plants love neem meal and bugs hate it. It seems much more effective than neem oil (and without the oil). Neem meal stinks and is hard for me to be around for long. The smell dies down after a week or two. Neem meal should not harm your beneficials or predatory nematodes.
I know you are dealing with a different type of bug than I was but I think it might be worth a try before chopping and starting over.
Black Lab,
I like your advice and your dog. I had 2 lab mixes both lived over 18 years and like where the red fern grows, they died within 3 months of each other, best dogs in the world.
Is there a specific brand of neem meal you prefer? I'm definitely going to get some. I never liked poisons and upon your advice I dumped the hotshots
Thanks,
 
Hi AP, thanks, labs are the absolute best in my book. I used to listen to the Atomic Punks many years ago :)

As far as neem meal; I ordered on line from Dave at Evergreen Farms in Oregon. Nice guy and he ships on time. I have top dressed with the neem meal and no flyers or other pests. The stuff really smells strong but I have grown to like it.

I think it's wise to avoid using chemicals in general and especially pesticides. I don't trust the manufacture to have my best interests over theirs. They also have nematodes that are suspended in an inert substance and they do keep longer in the fridge. Seamaiden is a moderator on this site who really has the organic thing down. I follow a lot of her advice. Happy MLK day!
 
Hi AP, thanks, labs are the absolute best in my book. I used to listen to the Atomic Punks many years ago :)

As far as neem meal; I ordered on line from Dave at Evergreen Farms in Oregon. Nice guy and he ships on time. I have top dressed with the neem meal and no flyers or other pests. The stuff really smells strong but I have grown to like it.

I think it's wise to avoid using chemicals in general and especially pesticides. I don't trust the manufacture to have my best interests over theirs. They also have nematodes that are suspended in an inert substance and they do keep longer in the fridge. Seamaiden is a moderator on this site who really has the organic thing down. I follow a lot of her advice. Happy MLK day!
Thanks for the tip brother. Whats funny is I don't know the Atomic Punks. Back im the day I saw Van Halen 3 times their first album was excellent, Atomic Punk was one of the many great songs on the album.
 
update_plants.jpg



UPDATE- things are good and completely chemical free. Plants are extremely happy/healthy (see photo). Thanks to everyone for the help/input up until now.

FINAL SOLUTION- trashed my sh*t and started from scratch. Seriously. (I had root aphids/bulb mites early on.)

Just to be clear, I am not positive that I officially had bulb mites because I never had them tested, but they seem the most likely culprit based on the plant symptoms and the characteristics of the mites. Fortunately, I haven't seen a single bulb mite or root aphid in a few months, knock knock. Some people believe it's impossible to kill these pests, others say it might be possible with some nastier stuff like Forbid/Avid, but I didn't want to keep fighting an uphill chemi battle, especially after Imidacloprid (the honey bee killer) in high concentration didn't even phase the bulb mites in the last round. So, this is what I did, step by step, to achieve a bug-free space with beautiful plants.

-Threw out the contaminated plants/soil/pots, and basically anything that is replaceable. I didn't save fabric pots, but maybe you could if you are brave and soak them in bleach or H2O2 for some days and then maybe double/triple wash in a commercial washer.

-Cleaned the sh*t out of everything, REALLY well. @squiggly is definitely right on this one. I chose not use bleach during any part of this whole process because it is a terrible substance that bioaccumulates in nature and in our bones/joints. My go-to-products for cleaning everything were 29% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2o2) and citric acid. Supposedly they both dry out bugs & eggs. I used a pretty potent mix for both dunking and spraying all equipment and supplies (I wore gloves for this.) For dunking I used 1 cup - 1 1/2 cups of H2o2 and about 3-4 oz of citric acid (earth juice sells it in granular form) in my full bath tub to dunk everything. Anything that couldn't be dunked I sprayed with a quart sprayer full of water and about 1/4-1/5 full of H2o2 and 3-4 tbsp of citric acid. Once cleaned, I placed everything to dry on clean towels or sheets in an uncontaminated area.

-Cleaned the sh*t out of contaminated rooms. Swept. Sprayed each and every surface of my rooms heavily with the spray mentioned above and wiped all wet surfaces with rags. Mopped the floor with the same mixture.

-Let rooms dry out. Moved fans, trays, and all other equipment that had already been sprayed/dunked back into already cleaned rooms. Sealed off the rooms, turned off exhaust ventilation and bombed rooms with Attain bombs. I kept one or two oscillating fans running to circulate the chemicals in the rooms. I should note that the propellant in these bombs can eat away at plastics. In the past I have had the rings around wall fans break and the front cage fall off after bombings. Removed any expensive electronic equipment or controllers with sensors. Released bombs and left rooms sealed for a few days. Once back in, I wore a dust mask and quickly turned on exhaust systems and left doors a little open to let things air out and dissipate before putting things back together. I guess you can go back in and work as soon as you have 12hrs of bombing and another 12hrs of air-out, but I like to extend both if possible for effectiveness and my own health.

-Cleaned the sh*t out of everything again. Seriously. Sprayed down the rooms again with the same H2O2 and citric acid mix. Sprayed and wiped down any old equipment again before bringing back into rooms.

-Bought Wearwell 222 sanitizing footbath mats and placed in front of the doors to each room. Filled each mat with a mixture of cheap vinegar and water. Bought some crocs to keep as dedicated room shoes, wiping them off when coming and going out of each room.

I know this all sounds really crazy. It is. This whole cleaning process took 2-3 weeks. It was as horrible as it sounds. But, so far it has paid off.


BUILDING THE BIOLOGICAL FORTRESS:

Fortunately, I had access to clean clones. The moment I had new small starts I did a heavy watering/dunk which included: Mycotrol (not as shocking as Botaniguard to plants because it doesn't have petroleum distillates, but same species), CAP's Foliar Pack, 3 varieties of beneficial/predatory nematodes from Arbico Organics (the Triple Threat), and scratched in a few granules of MET52 on surface. I repeat this process as a water-in each time I transplant, mixing MET52 into soil as well. @Ladyv -Predatory mites- Hypoaspis miles (which are now Stratiolaelaps) from Evergreen Growers were added to all plants a few days after the first transplant (into 1 gallon pots), and after the second transplant (into their final pots). They can survive for at least a few weeks in the container they arrive in at room temp, not in the fridge. Yes, it is really weird to ADD 25,000 living bugs to your room, but they are your soldiers. My friend used some as well and saw one eating a fungus gnat larvae—cool. The nematodes can also survive for some weeks, but they need to be refrigerated.

From here on out I am overly cautious- very careful about what I bring in my room. When in doubt, I use the same H2O2 mixture and spray/wipe everything down. I shower and only wear clean clothes. Keep everything sanitized/clean before and after use, I keep the spray mixture on hand at all times. When I refill my water barrel, I add 1-2 tbsp of the 29% H2O2 to clean and disinfect the water/container. I let water sit/bubble for at least 12-24 hrs before use.

On a different note, I found something interesting the other day on the soil surface. It was a MET52 rice kernel with a bunch of the beneficial Hypoaspis mites having a party on it (see photo). I'm not sure if they were eating the growing fungus or what, any thoughts would be nice. The mites are still surviving either way, I saw an adult cruising around on a plant last night. Oh, and btw, you can totally see beneficial nematodes. There are some small worm-like creatures that are about the size of a tiny piece of fiber glass insulation, slowing waving back and forth on the soil surface. I swear they are the nematodes waiting for something to walk by even though Arbico said you can't see them. Maybe I just have a well-trained eye for bugs.

Peace

met52_hypoaspis_miles.jpg
 
I find DE ineffective. It supposedly works while dry, but that's never the case in moist soil.
You need to use the chunky type, Coarse Diatomite, the powder will just sludge up and not cut the exoskeleton. Really only good to put on the floor in front of a door (like borax stuff for roaches i forget the name) so bugs won't cross over.
Or for silica supplement.
Have several hundred pounds of the stuff upstairs. Debating on topping all my plants with it today.
I was saving it for a top feed or ebb and flow.
Originally got it to use with foggers last year but clogs the emitters.
 
You need to use the chunky type, Coarse Diatomite, the powder will just sludge up and not cut the exoskeleton. Really only good to put on the floor in front of a door (like borax stuff for roaches i forget the name) so bugs won't cross over.
Or for silica supplement.
Have several hundred pounds of the stuff upstairs. Debating on topping all my plants with it today.
I was saving it for a top feed or ebb and flow.
Originally got it to use with foggers last year but clogs the emitters.
I have never heard that, quite the opposite. Diatomite and diatomaceous earth are not the same, although they are composed of the same stuff. Diatomite is the rock composed of fossilized diatoms, which are microscopic algae with silaceous skeletons; diatomaceous earth is powdered diatomite. Diatomaceous earth is supposed to work due to the high surface area, coupled with the fact that each microscopic grain is razor sharp. This effect should theoretically not happen with chunks of diatomite and in my experience, it does not. Have you found differently?
 
They are the same, like U and I said one is in rock form and one is processed to a powder. The powder mucks up and is nearly ineffective as a use for natural insect barrier When WET.
 
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