Agave mite?

Use this section to discuss matters relating to any and all issues involving horticultural pest and disease management. This is where one posts unknown pest/damage photos for ID help.

Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#26  Postby Gee.S » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:50 pm

Maybe, but the newest leaf is awful. I wouldn't trust it near my other Agaves until I see three clean leaves.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#27  Postby Melt in the Sun » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:53 pm

yeah, not defending it, but trying to look on the bright side...
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#28  Postby toditd » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:14 am

Uff da! Spination, have you noticed it being in a mite-induced dormancy-like state? Might be hard to tell considering the time of year it is, it could be in a natural dormancy state right now. Or maybe you haven't had it long enough to tell.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#29  Postby Agavemonger » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:39 am

"Dormancy state" ? "Clearing core" ?! You have got to be kidding me!! :lol:

Can we say "wishful thinking" ?

Eriophyoid Mites NEVER go "dormant". They may have slightly reduced activity levels during lower plant growth periods (A.K.A. "Winter"), but they don't ever go dormant.

'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is a valuable plant as an indicator plant for Eriophyoid Mite presence. If an 'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is infested enough to show physical damage, I assure you that there are active mites on the rest of the collection. So, with that in mind, the plant is quite valuable in its ability to show quite clearly the visual proof of the efficacy of an Eriophyoid Mite control program. Rather than destroying mite-infested "indicator" species, learn to clean them up. This will give you direct visual proof that you are actually keeping the rest of your collection "clean". If you cannot clean up an indicator plant, than your control program is woefully inadequate.

Tom, you might look at this little prize in a positive light; I.E. How effective is your existing control program? Can you bring this plant back from the abyss?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Eriophyoid Mites are not something that "goes away" once one beats it back to where it doesn't "seem" to show anymore. Only a comprehensive, continuing, rotational miticide-based spray program can be considered effective, and ultimately is just plain sound business practice.

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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#30  Postby Melt in the Sun » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:12 am

Wishful thinking? All I meant was that the core looks much cleaner than the older leaves, suggesting is has been treated and is responding well.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#31  Postby Gee.S » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:33 am

Agavemonger wrote:"Dormancy state" ? "Clearing core" ?! You have got to be kidding me!! :lol:

Can we say "wishful thinking" ?

Eriophyoid Mites NEVER go "dormant". They may have slightly reduced activity levels during lower plant growth periods (A.K.A. "Winter"), but they don't ever go dormant.

'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is a valuable plant as an indicator plant for Eriophyoid Mite presence. If an 'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is infested enough to show physical damage, I assure you that there are active mites on the rest of the collection. So, with that in mind, the plant is quite valuable in its ability to show quite clearly the visual proof of the efficacy of an Eriophyoid Mite control program. Rather than destroying mite-infested "indicator" species, learn to clean them up. This will give you direct visual proof that you are actually keeping the rest of your collection "clean". If you cannot clean up an indicator plant, than your control program is woefully inadequate.

Tom, you might look at this little prize in a positive light; I.E. How effective is your existing control program? Can you bring this plant back from the abyss?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Eriophyoid Mites are not something that "goes away" once one beats it back to where it doesn't "seem" to show anymore. Only a comprehensive, continuing, rotational miticide-based spray program can be considered effective, and ultimately is just plain sound business practice.

The Monger

Cold causes mites to recede deeply enough within the core to be beyond the reach of translaminar miticides. "Dormant" is as good a descriptor as any.

That plant has had mites and been left untreated for a VERY long time. It probably demonstrated classic symptoms at one time, but they have now run amok. It's actually pretty impressive the plant is still alive.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#32  Postby DesertDweller » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:00 am

Curious, since we're talking about a PDN plant, what folks think of some of the markings in these product photos of theirs:

Exhibit A: 'Blue Rapture' Notice all the plants randomly stained?

Exhibit B: 'Flexidigera' (second photo) Same kind of markings there, and even a couple spots with scarring I think?

I have one of the latter, from last Spring I think, and while I found it seems very susceptible to fungus and I had a heck of a time getting it to stop blackening and dropping leaves, I have never seen any mite signs on it. At present, it's still growing just fine.

I had long assumed that PDN was surely treating somehow, but maybe something has slipped through the cracks? Have an order coming Friday, so will post up pics if anything arrives looking amiss. Will have to be extra vigilant given what Tom has posted. As my boss says at the office, "Not Cool." :?
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#33  Postby Gee.S » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:15 am

'Blue Rapture' has grease staining, characteristic of Agave mite. The other looks fine.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#34  Postby DesertDweller » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:25 am

Gee.S wrote:Tony swears up and down that is mealy bag damage. Not feeling it.


Which are we talking about, Tom's pic or the product photos or both/all?
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#35  Postby Gee.S » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:28 am

Plant in Post #8. In the end it doesn't matter. If there are mites, best to assume they're everywhere.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#36  Postby DesertDweller » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:31 am

Gee.S wrote:Plant in Post #8. In the end it doesn't matter. If there are mites, best to assume they're everywhere there.


Can't argue there. :frown:
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#37  Postby LLR » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:37 pm

Spination wrote:Agave potatorum Verschaffeltii Ikiri Raijin Nishiki as received from PDN. Apparently an unusual example of mite infestation damage on leaves, rather than usually limited to the base of leaves from the core...
2017 12 13 A potatorum Verschaffeltii Ikiri Raijin Nishiki b.jpg


Hi Spination,

In consulting with our Nursery Manager, Meghan, some of our Agave potatorum Verschaffeltii Ikiri Raijin Nishiki show some residual damage from a previous mealy bugs affliction. Plants that show damage are being given a resting period of a year so that their appearance will fully recover. Unfortunately, the plant you received was accidentally selected from this group. We assure you that our plants have been treated and are safe to plant even if damage is still visible, however, if you would like to contact us directly we will be happy to send a replacement. We strive to have both our plant quality at its best, as well as our customer service, so please feel free to call us.

We appreciate your enthusiasm for Agaves!
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#38  Postby Gee.S » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:47 pm

I believe you when you say the plant had, but has now been cleared of mealies. And I certainly appreciate your eagerness to resolve this.

But it also has Agave mite. Grease stains are unmistakable. Do you have much experience with Agave mite? Left unchecked, it will overwhelm the Agave population at your nursery to a degree you probably cannot imagine. I've seen it before, at some very large nurseries. It will start killing small plants and seedlings, and mutilating others, rendering them unsellable. Many Agaves are not as tolerant of mites as the variegate shown above. Insecticides don't harm mites, you need miticides. You should contact Agavemonger. He also had at one time, a commercial presence in the Agave market, and developed a regimen for treatment at commercial facilities you would undoubtedly benefit from.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#39  Postby Spination » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:50 pm

Ditto Ron.

Regarding this:
LLR wrote:
Hi Spination,

In consulting with our Nursery Manager, Meghan, some of our Agave potatorum Verschaffeltii Ikiri Raijin Nishiki show some residual damage from a previous mealy bugs affliction. Plants that show damage are being given a resting period of a year so that their appearance will fully recover. Unfortunately, the plant you received was accidentally selected from this group. We assure you that our plants have been treated and are safe to plant even if damage is still visible, however, if you would like to contact us directly we will be happy to send a replacement. We strive to have both our plant quality at its best, as well as our customer service, so please feel free to call us.

We appreciate your enthusiasm for Agaves!


Appreciate the concern, and reply.
Note
http://www.learn2grow.com/problemsolver ... ybugs.aspx

The damage I'm focused on does not remind me of that. I'll bet if you could fold those leaves back around the core one at a time (I know impossible, but you can visualize), you would find that the damage begins on the outside in a particular area, and goes though leaves as they are lined up inside towards the core. For me, it's easy to visualize, because I've seen this before and had the benefit of watching over time this exact described scenario, as new leaves opened up and revealed damage on the inside towards the center of the core (which is the preferred feeding material of the eriophyid mite), one leaf at a time... . Once the leaves are open, and spread appropriately in their predestined rosette form, it's hard to imagine damage spread out all over the leaves as possibly having actually been localized in one, or few spots directed internally into the core. You wouldn't actually know it, unless you actually already did know it, from past experience. In the earlier photo posted, you can also see damaged leaves opening up, and even on the inside of leaves not fully open. I'm sorry, but mealy bugs don't reside inside the core, they attack on available outer leaf surfaces. Unless you had a new strain of mealies that attack inside the plant, you need to reconsider your explanation. Perhaps, as suggested, that was a problem found and treated, but the bigger problem still remains (I'll take mealies over mites all day long, every day, day after day - they are infinitely easier to deal with).

So, I am also convinced I'm looking at eriophyid mite damage, because I dealt with this exact form of damage once before a few years ago, and once you've seen it, agonized over it, watched it unfold over time, it's something you will never forget. Especially if you didn't know what it was, didn't use the appropriate chemical treatment, and watched the plant slowly but unstopping-ly meet it's final death. Once core damage has progressed to the point of no return, the plant is finished. Period. I've taken the remains of one such plant, held the crumbling remnants in my fingers, watching them literally become tiny pieces and dust as I handled it, with an unmistakably dead plant as the final product.

If you really think that the damage I'm worried about is only because of mealies, and you treated appropriately for that, I can assure you now that the bigger problem is not solved. In time, without the correct chemical treatments (Avid, Forbid, etc), the mites will not be destroyed, and the end victim will be the plants (eriophyid mites are a one-way ticket to the final destination - demise), and worse yet, spread of the infestation elsewhere.

If it were me, I'd be doing a massive rotational mite spraying regimen. But I'm not you. As such, I can only wish you the best of luck.

As for me, my plant is now treated. It will be treated again, and again. It was not too far gone where I can't save it. Yes, been there, done that too. That goes for the two other plants which shared the box, which show no signs of damage at this point. Their mites, if infected (not leaving it to chance though), will be eradicated too before they can even begin to wreak havoc. Other than not being happy being sent a plant that does not do your reputation justice, and knowing it's going to look like crap for quite some time to come... the plant is here, I have it, it's alive, I will keep it alive, and it will recover. I'm not sending it back. As far as I'm concerned, the problem is solved. After quarantine and remaining treatments, it will reside in a corner somewhere where I don't have to look at it much, and get annoyed having such an ugly duckling polluting my visual sense on a continual basis. In about 1-2 years, I predict it will look quite fetching... and it will definitely be mite-free much sooner than that.

Yes, it's a very nice offering, and the price very reasonable. However, if I had known what the complete price for the good deal was in advance, I would have forgone that deal in favor of another one more expensive, from Thailand, that I won't be hassling with for at least a year to come... Lesson learned. There is no plant I want badly enough to knowingly accept mite infestation. The risk is too great, and the cure too lengthy. That is one thing I really like about Ebay. A savvy buyer looks at multiple photos of the exact plant being bought before even bidding on it, and knowing what to avoid like the plague. Even so, a plant can look fine in the beginning stages of mites. However, such a specimen can be easily treated with a precautionary spraying and be cured without even ever knowing it was diseased. An undamaged plant will not have mites entrenched deep within the plant, and even a single precautionary spraying of Avid as a protocol for all new arrivals will eliminate a potential problem before one even can see it gets started. Anyway, getting back to the Irkiri Raijin Nishiki, looking at a photo of one pristine specimen online, only to receive something else quite sickly, is not something I appreciate, or easily forgotten.

Once again, as I said above, good luck on the "mealy" damage... I am sorry to say though, if you have a batch of plants sharing similar damage, luck will not help, nor the incorrect insecticides they would have been treated with. Don't be surprised either if other plants start materializing mite damage. You can't even see them without a microscope, you can only know they're there after the fact, when the damage is done, and the infestation spread about like a mysterious disease - by the wind, by insects (ants are very bad), etc.

Lastly, I am going to give you the gift of an unsolicited favor. A gift of knowledge, because I know some honcho over there is going to read this and think I'm full of it, and don't know what I'm talking about.
Study this fresh photos, taken not 10 minutes ago. Look, and learn. Mites. M-I-T-E-S. Shall I say it again? Eriophyid mites. They're bad, you don't want them, and they won't go away without appropriate action.

Note the two circles marked on those two newish leaves. The leaf on the right shows brown damage after the fact on the inside of that leaf, in precise and exact correlation to the damage on the outside of the leaf on the left. The left leaf was wrapped around the core, and the right leaf was wrapped over on top of that one. The damage goes through one leaf, inside and through the leaf below, precisely in that exact same spot. by the way, the damage does not appear brown immediately, On very newly opened up fresh leaf, it appears more chlorotic depending on the extent of the damage, and turns brown soon afterwards as the leaf ages. As such, it is easy to miss ongoing damage on the newest barely visible interior of leaves as they unfold from the core.
Anyway, and the bottom line is - Mealies don't do that. Mites do. They bore into the interior of the plant into the core where new and fresh delectable tissue resides to feed on. Mealies reside on the outside of leaves. That's all you need to know. I expect this now concludes the matter, and any question of what is what. Never mind the white residue you see on the leaf surface. That is my own concoction from concentrates of: Bayer 3 in 1 Mite Control, Sevin, and most importantly Avid (don't forget the Turbo Sticker Spreader!). I alternate Avid with Forbid, because it is known that mites can become resistant without rotational insecticide use. The last thing one wants to do is create an insecticidal resistant super bug! My concentrations used are at the top end of manufacturer recommendations, and stronger than the store-bought sprays bearing the same names. Let's just say I don't like to mess around. Don't breathe it, don't get it on skin! The plant will live (most probably), but the mites will not.
Inked2018 01 10 A Ikiri raijin Nishiki MITE DAMAGE a_marked.jpg
Inked2018 01 10 A Ikiri raijin Nishiki MITE DAMAGE a_marked.jpg (71.34 KiB) Viewed 98 times
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#40  Postby Agavemonger » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:05 pm

I would agree that the 'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' (post #8) could easily have had severe damage from a mealy bug or cottony scale infestation previously. However, there appears to be Eriophyoid Mite damage as well.

M.I.T.S., not trying to single anybody out here, especially you. I see obvious damage marks on the "core" and on the leaf immediately adjoining the "core", and for that matter, extreme damage on every leaf of the plant. Hence my (probably un-necessary) ascerbic commentary.

All three of these insects, when very young, seem to be able to somehow sneak under overlaying leaves, and possibly even into the core space itself at the tip where the terminal spines overlay (although I highly doubt that), probably by following a maze of minute crevices between the leaves of Agave species, where there is occasionally some limited space for them to live. (See Agaves, Yuccas, and their Kin, Seven Genera of the Southwest by Jon L. Hawker, Texas Tech University Press, 2016. On page 5 of this tome is a superb photo of a living Agave cut in half lengthwise through the entire plant. This photo graphically illustrates a cross-section of the "core" of an Agave.) Certainly any damage created inside the "core space" could manifest itself for years to come. It should be noted that all of these creatures are absolutely incapable of boring through leaves, or "prying" their way between leaves; they can only sneak around and set up shop in the very minute spaces inside, if these spaces are even available. Generally, that means they can only get under the newest 1 or 2 unfolding, immature leaves as they start to unfold.

A comprehensive, continuing regimen of rotational miticide spray applications, supplemented with the appropriate adjuvant, will eventually build up enough systemic pesticides within all structures of the plant to where the inner delicate parts of the "core" itself will be too poisonous to allow establishment by any of these insects. However, it appears to take time (at least several-to-many applications over many months) to build up enough pesticide within the plant to preclude these critters, especially once established. Hence, the need for a continuing, comprehensive, preventative, rotational spray program. Mites, mealy bugs, scale, aphids, thrips, weevils, etc. will never give up trying to colonize your plants. If you quit your spray program, they will soon start to re-colonize your collection, and will inevitably be successful.

The Monger

P.S. Kudos to Tony @ P.D.N. for immediately responding to these threads.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#41  Postby Azuleja » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:34 pm

LLR, I'm not sure if the Blue Rapture plants linked above were being treated as well but they also show the random greasy looking patches associated with eriophyid mites on agaves. These symptoms along with the rusty scars on Spiney's plant are the exact red flags I look for when visually screening for infestation.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#42  Postby Gee.S » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:40 pm

^ Yes, I had mentioned that in a prior post. Certainly gives pause as suspicious, but I've also seen odd patches like that on mite-free Agaves. So a red flag as you say, but not necessarily mite-related.
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#43  Postby toditd » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:37 pm

Agavemonger wrote:"Dormancy state" ? "Clearing core" ?! You have got to be kidding me!!

I was referring to the AGAVE going into a dormancy-like state, NOT the mites. Mite infested agaves will often show very little to no growth while infected.
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Re: Agave Mite

Post Number:#44  Postby Spination » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:50 pm

I was going to be done with this subject, but after reading your post, wanted to chime in one last time, in support of what you mentioned quoted below.

Agavemonger wrote:
'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is a valuable plant as an indicator plant for Eriophyoid Mite presence. If an 'Ikari Raijain Nishiki' is infested enough to show physical damage, I assure you that there are active mites on the rest of the collection. So, with that in mind, the plant is quite valuable in its ability to show quite clearly the visual proof of the efficacy of an Eriophyoid Mite control program. Rather than destroying mite-infested "indicator" species, learn to clean them up. This will give you direct visual proof that you are actually keeping the rest of your collection "clean". If you cannot clean up an indicator plant, than your control program is woefully inadequate.

Tom, you might look at this little prize in a positive light; I.E. How effective is your existing control program? Can you bring this plant back from the abyss?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Eriophyoid Mites are not something that "goes away" once one beats it back to where it doesn't "seem" to show anymore. Only a comprehensive, continuing, rotational miticide-based spray program can be considered effective, and ultimately is just plain sound business practice.

The Monger


You've educated me on this exact nuance of eriophyid mite detection a few years ago. I am quite certain of the validity of your theory regarding "indicator plant", and I do not use the word "theory" in any negative light, but only to ascribe to you this revelation, as I've never heard it from anyone else. If is a fact that some plants (species/cultivars) are highly affected by the presence of the mites, while others not so much, to the point of appearing immune.

The answer to your question to me is yes, I'm sure I can bring it back. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. The solution is simple - exactly as you have done your best to educate regarding the use of "a comprehensive, continuing, rotational miticide-based spray program". Agaveville has many threads discussing this, and also featuring fine information you have shared, and added to by others. I am a believer, and the fact that I did stop a developing mite infestation in it's tracks and have maintained a clean collection of agave now for years following pretty much speaks for itself. I also know that the time involved from stopping an infestation within a plant, to eventually owning an absolutely clean plant devoid of any evidence of damage can be measured in years. That's how long it takes for new clean growth emanating from the core, to completely replace damaged leaves until they all dry up at the bottom of the rosette. That in itself almost screams of the more sensible solution - throw away the plant and find another that doesn't need time intensive rehabilitation. I guess the reason I did not throw away my first patients of mite infestation is because I'm pretty stubborn, refuse to accept defeat, and like the occasional challenge. Nowadays, it's a challenge I don't really need any more... but.. I guess one more time I will test my abilities and use the knowledge acquired here, and much from you.

In terms of proof that I have been able to maintain a clean collection and using an indicator plant as a benchmark, I offer up this relatively recent photo of another Verschaffeltii in my collection I've had for several years. It's in perfect condition, and has never seen a mite apparently, in spite of the fact that other plants I have previously rehabilitated and refused to throw away were in proximity - much closer than the 30 feet Gee referred to early on. I am reasonably confident this plant would show evidence of mite damage, if I still had the problem on hand waiting for the opportunity to wreak havoc if I drop my guard.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this one speaks volumes. It's about as perfect a specimen as one could ever grow. It's a joy to behold, every single time I am near it, which is at least for a few minutes here and there, nearly every single day. D))
2017 10 09 Agave photos a.jpg
2017 10 09 Agave photos a.jpg (98.52 KiB) Viewed 69 times


Furthermore, I have a great many agave, representing hundreds and hundreds of specimens of the thousands of plants I care for - which in this day for me are mostly aloe now. Nevertheless, you won't find a single plant on the premises that resembles even in the slightest way that mess I got pictured here earlier. I have other Vershaffeltii as well, including several of 'Becky' - all in perfect condition, not to mention I've sold pups of on Ebay which I've been growing for years. I absolutely could not, and would not, sell a single plant if I knew I had an active eriophyid mite infestation in my collection. I have lived through the horror of dealing with that crap, and I could never in good conscience inflict that on another person/collector. After all, I have to be able to sleep at night, and spreading around that kind of mayhem would definitely interfere with my ability to sleep. ::wink::
This is all testament to the efficacy and value of an appropriate miticide spraying program. The best cure is the one that prevents the problem to begin with. Another advantage I have now compared to years ago is that I rarely acquire new plants any more. I have pretty much all that I want, so I am not tempting fate by bringing in possible carriers to reinfect my collection. Also, new arrivals are sprayed as prevention protocol and quarantined until I am comfortable they are clean, whether they show sign or not (I don't buy plants with visible damage).

The new Verschaffeltii was acquired because the stock photo on PDN shows a plant that looks somewhat different from what I have already. I wanted to grow it and compare it to what I have already. It's unfortunate my immediate plans have been derailed, and that I expect it will be at least 1-2 years before it has any value to me as something I can compare side by side with what I have. Also, I would have to be a lunatic or brain-dead to put in anywhere near any of my other plants I value for the foreseeable future. Risking the health of clean plants by proximity to a problem plant would be sheer insanity, knowing what I know, and what I have learned.
It's set aside where it can't do any harm, it's been treated and will be treated repeatedly within appropriate time intervals, until it shows by clean new growth that it too is clean. Also, I'll err on the side of caution.

In conclusion, my thanks to you and others who know and recognize mite damage when they see it, and for all of the information provided right here on this site for years. The value of it is easily illustrated by this happy collector who enjoys a clean collection, and well.... until this incident, has no such plants here to be found.
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#45  Postby Agavemonger » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:59 am

Toditd: Sorry for my ascerbic commentary. I really didn't want to embarrass anyone or single anyone out. It is just that the plant was so mangy as to preclude any possibility of it not having had, and probably continuing to have, a very serious infestation from possibly multiple different pests.

What I should have said was: Regardless of conditions, Eriophyoid mites (and nearly all other sucking insects, for that matter) will continue to infest a plant until they have been dealt with appropriately, on a continuing basis. I see obvious initial damage on the core and on all other leaves of the plant. Undoubtedly, the plants have been treated by P.D.N. However, a plant with this severe of an infestation would certainly need to be on a continuing spray treatment program if one was to have any hope at all of curing it.

Just because a plant is "dormant" or even if it is "not showing current signs" of damage, it still needs to be on a preventative spray program to eliminate any pests that might still be present under leaves or in the egg stage. Only by building up resistance poison thresholds within all parts of the plant by maintaining a continual rotational spraying protocol can you be reasonably sure that the problem is being eliminated. You cannot simply spray the plant and "call it good". You would certainly "damp down" the infestation with a single spraying, or even by spraying "a few" times. However, what typically happens is that with renewed growth of the plant in spring, the infestation will come roaring back to life with renewed vigor.

My sarcasm was directed at the fact that a plant in such morbid condition must absolutely be on a continuing spray program if there is to be any hope of saving it. The thought that there could be any positive view of such a horribly disfigured specimen struck me as comical in the extreme.

With the current ubiquity of eriophyoid mites in most environments and many commercial nurseries, the only truly effective protocol is to put your entire collection and all plants in your yard on a rotational PREVENTATIVE spray program to eliminate the threat. Random, occasional spraying of selected "infested" plants will most likely only have the effect of allowing the mites to exist on other plants in your collection, and may very well contribute to successive generations of mites building up resistance to the pesticide(s) being sprayed.

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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#46  Postby Spination » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:42 pm

This here is a lesson on the consequences of careless introduction of eriophyid mites via infected plants, and how they can infect other plants nearby.

Looks like it's now going on 5-6 years since I had to deal with my own personal learning experience/nightmare with eriophyid mites. Here is a plant that was subsequently infected, because I didn't know what I was dealing with, had no idea the danger lurking out there waiting to be brought in via many agave purchases. It was one particular group of plants in a package that brought the troubles, and because I had no preventative spraying protocol (and had no knowledge at the time that what was required was heavy-duty miticides such as Forbid, and Avid), and no quarantine protocol...those plants which looked clean out of the box, soon began exhibiting some disturbing damage. I knew something was wrong, so started spraying only those plants with Bayer 3 in 1. Ineffective, and wrong - because that was not the right product to be using, and I should have already been spraying everything in the vicinity. By the time I learned what it was, and how to properly deal with it, those plants had already been in proximity to other plants previously acquired in my collection.

This plant was acquired as A. parrasana 'Meat Claw' Variegated. It was about 8 feet away as the crow flies (and up on a platform 4' in the air) from the problem plants, yet within a few months of the infected plants' arrival, I had a shock and that terrible sinking feeling once I noticed this...
Inked2012 12 12  A parrasana Meat Claw Variegated a_LI.jpg
Inked2012 12 12 A parrasana Meat Claw Variegated a_LI.jpg (42.29 KiB) Viewed 46 times


This would be one of what Monger refers to as an "indicator plant". In other words, parrasana is one of those which is highly susceptible to eriophyid mites. If mites are present in a collection, there's a good chance you'll notice something amiss first with a parrasana. And, for microscopic miscreant insects, they have their own effective methods of getting around. A breeze, hitching rides with ants... anyway, they "found" this plant within a few months, and went to work.

I went on a Forbid spraying regimen (probably overdid it) with 2 sprayings of every single plant in my collection, a week apart. Leaves were sprayed above and below, until they were soaking wet. It was done in the evening to minimize evaporation, and allow the translaminar (did use sticker spreader to increase coverage, absorption, and efficacy) poisons to soak into the tissue. With the recommended dosage range, I used the highest % of Forbid recommended to mix with water, in a gallon sprayer (With the 'Meat Claw', the damage was caught early, and no further damage ensued on that plant). I followed up with another complete spraying (meaning every plant I owned) a month later, and afterwards acquired Avid to "rotate" miticide chemical treatment. If the Forbid left any stragglers around, the Avid should have finished the job later. Rotating miticide treatments reduces the chances that survivors are going to left behind with increased tolerance to the chemicals.
Here is that same plant today... 5 years later, and still clean.
2018 01 11 A parrasana Meat Claw Variegated b.jpg
2018 01 11 A parrasana Meat Claw Variegated b.jpg (146.53 KiB) Viewed 46 times


What I find of value is that aside from being an "indicator plant", it was also infected itself. If mites were still present, I would think a repeat attack would have occurred at some point. Additionally, it has produced pups with no mite sign whatsoever, and even the pup's pups are clean... As I understand it, that all would be very strong evidence that the original mite infestation had been thwarted.

The original plants that brought in the mites were: A. parrasana 'Fireball', and A. americana Lemon Lime, and A. americana 'Aurea'. 'Fireball' and 'Lemon Lime' were cured - I still have those plants today. The 'Aurea' was especially hard hit, and one day I gently tugged the plant up, and it literally fell apart in my hands, leaving litter of pieces and dust in the soil. I destroyed all that was left. What clued me in was that those 3 plants in particular started showing what I later learned was typical mite damage, and then I finally put it together that they had been received in the same shipping box... and so obviously were the culprits that originally introduced me to the invisible to the eye but highly destructive eriophyid mite.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be careful bringing in new plants, even if they don't show signs at first, and to have some sort of protocol in place where new acquisitions are kept separate from the rest of the collection, and it sure doesn't hurt to give them a treatment with Forbid or Avid, as a precaution. After a few months, if the plants are clean, then they are likely OK to join the general population of plants in the collection. Also, don't bring in suspect plants showing suspicious damage. I just did, but not knowingly... but one look at the culprit plant, and that one and the other plants which came in the box were immediately sprayed, isolated, and even the shipping box was immediately destroyed. Eriophyid mites are an epidemic, they are the last thing you ever want to deal with, but it is important to deal with it immediately and effectively. I would say, that if a collector acquires enough plants, sooner of later, you're going to come across them. No agave collector should be without Forbid or Avid on hand, and some routine spraying at least yearly is not a bad idea either...
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#47  Postby Gee.S » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:20 pm

My extensive experience with mites mirrors your own, so far as contradicting the notion that mites can be controlled, but not eliminated. This was my very first (of about 50 or so) mite-stricken Agaves.

Image
Ghastly, eh? It got this bad because I didn't know what the problem was, and neither did anyone else. I finally encountered someone who suggested Agave mite, so I picked up a miticide and treated. That was many years ago. I still have that Agave, and it is gorgeous. I stopped treating it long, long ago. I have plenty of other Agaves as well, that do not require continuous treatment to remain healthy and presentable. So to me, proof is in the pudding, and my pudding suggests that Agave mite can be eliminated, not just controlled.
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#48  Postby DesertDweller » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:57 pm

Just wanted to throw an update in here. I got a shipment from PDN today, including five agave. Only one had any suspicious marks on it, but there was a clear core and the next leaf in, where the core was unfolding was also clean, far as I could tell. Not quite 3 clean leaves, but getting there. Also I noticed the marks on prior leaves went from about 2" down to less than 1" and then nothing on these two newest. Opposite of what I'd expect if it was actively infested, should be getting worse, no?

Nevertheless, I opted not to take chances and doused the living crud out of all of them with Forbid. D)) Good weather for it, low wind, cool temps and I had nice isolated spot with some shade to quarantine them and let them soak it up. I also took the opportunity to douse my surviving bamboo (previous summer was not kind, many loses unfortunately) for spider mites.

When I was done with that, I called up PDN and chatted with them about the marks, curious to know what treatments they were using. I was able to glean, and I hope they don't mind me repeating, that Avid was in use. Last spray with Avid on the agaves was within the last month. Not sure how often it normally gets applied, but that's something at least. To be fair, it gives me some peace of mind to know there's at least one decent miticide in use, and would perhaps explain why some stuff seems to be in recovery. It also makes me feel better about hosing it down with Forbid just now. One-two punch can't hurt, right? :U

I did mention Forbid to them, seeing as how they also sell bamboo, on which it also works spectacularly (and on which spider mites will spread like wildfire, especially the dreaded bamboo mite and especially in cultivation). Would be awesome if someone over at PDN started incorporating it into the routine.

In any case, I hope this information is helpful. I've gotten many plants from PDN, probably too many, but this is the first time I've had one that gave me pause when un-boxing. For whatever it is worth, I have never preemptively treated and quarantined anything of theirs before, and I've never had anything crop up down the road. Maybe that's luck, but I highly doubt it. I'll still order from them if I see something I want, but I understand everyone's risk tolerance is different, and that not all of us have Forbid lying around to hedge our bets.

I appreciate their willingness to indulge me with details of what treatments they were using, not just what but when it was last applied. As Randy Pausch used to say, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Being nice about it doesn't hurt either. ;)
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#49  Postby Stone Jaguar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:57 pm

Howdy, all.

I had not intended to wade in here, since I thought the forum had more or less resolved how to control these critters. Because it appears that there is still some misunderstanding about a recommended and widely-accepted protocol that calls for at least three miticides known to be effective against eriophyid mites to be used in rotation in order to eradicate (at least until the next exposure) it seems worth repeating.

Of products discussed and readily a available to nurserymen and dedicated amateur growers in the US, these would include Pylon, Forbid, abamectin (Avid and generics) and Sevin.

Personally, I assume every new aloe, agave and related plant that I acquire to be infested no matter how clean they look, and quarantine AND treat accordingly. In my case this involves at least two full cycles x three unrelated products at recommended app rates. A single application of one or two miticides is not accepted in any peer-reviewed study that I have read as being an effective control measure.

Although Gee and others have provided excellent photographic guides and visual “tells” indicating an eriophyid infestation (controlled or active) in agaves and aloes, positive proof requires a leaf section and a good microscope. Unlike spider mites, which are often visible to the naked eye or identifiable to species with a low magnification hand lens, AFAIK, eriophyids require >100x to be ID’d with certainty. Over the past 18 months I have received very suspect plants from nurseries I like and patronize frequently. As a long time grower, I am sympathetic to things occasionally slipping through the cracks, even by the best. While I understand and sympathize with people getting pissed when they receive substandard plants, I would be reluctant to make specific claims about eriophyid infestations without having proof beyond symptomatic evidence.
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Re: Agave mite?

Post Number:#50  Postby Spination » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:16 pm

Gee.S wrote:So to me, proof is in the pudding, and my pudding suggests that Agave mite can be eliminated, not just controlled.


I wish I could say that I had continued continuously mite treatment on some sort of schedule after I felt the situation had been completely beaten down or appearing to be eliminated, but I can't. I did a follow up the following year, even though I saw no further evidence, and that's been it. As such, like you, the problem did not come back. So, I have to agree with your statement. After several years with no recurrence, I would have to say that they were in fact eliminated - so I too believe that they indeed can be eliminated, and one need not feel that once they have them, they have them forever.

To that, I would add two thoughts.

First - one should feel quite certain it's over before discontinuing treatment, and the bombardment my plants received a few times followed with another follow up treatment the following year is not an unreasonable expected period of time to eliminate such a problem, given that the evidence to date is that it appears to have worked. After several years now not dealing with them, I have no reason to expect them to come back, given that I never had them in the first place until I brought them in via infected plants.

Two - presumably having learned one's lesson, one should not bring them back again via infected plants. One should avoid mite damaged plants like the proverbial plague, and I feel it is very wise to have a preventative treatment and quarantine protocol in place for all new arrivals to avoid reintroducing the problem in one's collection.

To this, I'll just finally mention that I had to learn my lesson twice. Once with agave. The second time with aloe.

With the agave, I was very alarmed and concerned when I saw my first damaged plant, and did not rest until I had the problem diagnosed and proper treatment effected, so it did not get out of hand before I did something. In your case, I think you had to deal with it before there was extensive information and advice out there - so you were more on the pioneer end of having to deal with it. I was fortunate to have the advantage of coming across the problem after sufficient information and treatment information were made available, and particularly right here on Agaveville.

With the aloe, I was a bit more savvy by then, so when I finally and inevitably came across that problem, I dealt with it even quicker that time around. The difference is the first time around with agave, other clean plants got mites before I figured it out, and with the aloe, the only mite damage I ever saw were the actual plants infected that apparently came that way. I think given I have a good methodology to prevent recurrence, and now know what to watch out for, and what to do with no delay (like this new plant) if something infected does come my way, I feel like I should still be done with it now in terms of any danger to my overall collection.

Perhaps too, it should be noted that there's a big difference between an enterprise with plants perpetually coming and going, and someone like me with very few new arrivals coming in nowadays. Amazingly, I now have more plants leaving that arriving, which is kind of cool. D)) In the case of someone receiving plants in quantity from elsewhere, then Monger is right that the only way to keep things under "control" is through an ongoing
rotational spraying regimen.
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