Webs covering top of plant leaves curled and dead.

Asked August 31, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

Can you tell me what is wrong with my plant and what I can do if anything . I have sprayed it with a botanical insect killer spray. I was going to spray with milk and water solution but I am Not sure that that's going to help at this point. What should I do with it? Thank you in advance, Judy

Dane County Wisconsin

4 Responses

Looks like two spotted spider mite. See http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/twospotted-spider-mite or http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/twospotted_mite.htm for details on this pest. Because it is a mite, and not an insect, regular insecticides will not be effective against it. Milk will have no effect; just a stream of water will help knock some of the mites off, but won't really control them. You meed to use a miticide, or insecticidal soap (which kills by suffocation so is not limited just to insects, despite the name) to control it. Soap will work well (but don't use dish soap, as that can have additives that can injure plants) but needs to actually coat the mites, which means you need to spray both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. Also, it doesn't affect the eggs, so it will need to be reapplied about every 3 days in order to kill the newly hatched mites. I can't tell what the plant is from these pictures, but it might be more effective to cut off the affected parts and let the plant regrow. If it's an annual there may not be enough time left in the growing season for it to do anything worthwhile and it might be best to just get rid of it. If it's a perennial, when it comes back next year keep an eye out for the same infestation - the first symptom is tiny white speckles on the leaves, with tiny black dots (the mites) on the undersides, long before the webbing shows - and begin treating with insecticidal soap early to suppress the population before it gets this bad.

Thank you, it is a morning glory plant. It is in a pot on my deck since I'm in an apartment. Really saddens me the blooms are still so pretty. Now I have to figure out if the mites can harm my cats. Thank you for your answer. Judy

Morning glory is pretty vigorous, so I'd try cutting off the worst, spray with soap, fertilize and see if it will grow more and continue to bloom. The mites only infest plants; they're not the same type that get on animals, so your cats won't be affected.

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