Garden Word of the Day
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Miticides kill mites and protect rhinos. I’ll get to the rhinos in a moment.
When temperatures are high and humidity is low, mite populations can quickly get out of hand. They suck the life from your garden plants, reducing crop sizes, and making plants more susceptible to other problems.
Miticides are also known as acaricides. These pesticides specifically target members of the arachnid subclass Acari. If your garden plants are suffering from infestations of mites or spider mites, you may want to consider using miticides. Or you may not.
Researching various miticides for this post, I ran across some very hard to pronounce words and some scary warnings. I started to list the most commonly used miticides, their targets and toxicities and realized it made for tedious reading (and writing). Bottom line: not all miticides are safe to use on edible plants. Many of these chemicals are dangerous to beneficial insects, honey bees, and us. Whenever using chemical treatments, be sure to read the label completely and follow the instructions.
Organic mite control
Diatomaceous earth (DE) can also be used against mites and spider mites. It desiccates them and kills them without leaving any chemical residue. Other food-grade dusts that also kill these pests without chemicals. These other dusts have an advantage over DE in that they do not contain silica. Breathing in silica dust is bad for us, too.
There are also predatory mites that prey on mites and spider mites.
Whichever treatment you decide to use, don’t apply it on a windy day. It and your money will simply fly away on the breeze. To be effective, sprays and dusts must coat the underside of all the leaves affected by mites or spider mites.
Now, about those rhinos
Rhino poaching is being deterred by drilling holes in the horns of sedated rhinos and packing those holes with miticides. It doesn’t hurt the rhinos, but it brings on nausea, diarrhea, and convulsions in anyone who eats the horn, thinking it will provide them with some magical powers. And it won’t kill them. I think it’s the least punishment they should have to suffer for needlessly killing an endangered animal, don’t you?
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