East of Scotland Begonia Society

Tarsonemid Mite Update 2005

February 16th 2005

                   Bleach Treatment The first Pips were seen on the tubers on the 23rd January so I thought the time had come to get a start to try to eradicate the mites. The tubers were immersed in a 10% Domestos bleach solution for 15 minutes and then were flushed in fresh water for another 15 minutes. They were then placed in new trays to dry in the house for a few days. I was very wary of this treatment but felt I had to do everything in my power to get rid of this pest. Only the large tubers were dipped as all the cutting tubers had been binned as too many of them had shown signs of mite. Pipping continued as normal and there appeared to be no damage from the bleach.

                 The small greenhouse in which I start my begonias was them stripped of everything, staging, shelves etc. The bubble lining was thrown in the bin, then the greenhouse inside and out was pressure washed. The staging and shelves were pressure washed at the wash bed and the next day everything was sprayed with Jeyes Fluid, before returning all to the greenhouse. A Sulphur smoke was then used as Fumite, although available to commercial growers, is no longer available to amateurs. The tubers were then returned to the greenhouse and placed in their trays on the staging.

April 16th 2005

              Some of the tubers were started up at the end of February and the rest in Mid March. They appear very slow to start although most of them are OK. The biggest of the plants are now potted up but two thirds of them have still to grow a bit before potting is possible.

            The polytunnel was completely emptied including the shelves and staging, swept out, then pressure washed, then washed again with Jeyes Fluid solution. I then waited for a night with no wind to fumigate the tunnel after replacing shelves and staging. The doors were sealed with expanding Styrofoam to stop the escape of smoke. Fumigation was carried out on the 9th April so it is now ready for the begonias that go in there in early May. The pots have also been washed in a solution of Jeyes fluid

        Majestik. I discovered that Certis have brought out a new material to control Mites, Aphids and Whitefly. Our Society has purchased a supply of it for members and I am spraying my begonias at least once a week with this material and, because of the way it works, the pests do not build up a resistance to it, as they can do with most chemical treatments. Full information can be found on the Certis (formerly Hortichem) website at

http://www.certiseurope.co.uk/ If the link does not work try typing it in the address bar

          At the minute there is no sign of mite damage on my plants

June 7th

            Most of my plants are now in the final pots and as there is no sign of mite damage I have discontinued using Majestic on a routine basis, although a close, daily scrutiny is still being carried out.

September 30th

          The season is now finished and there has been no sign of mites at any time this year so the precautions I took have been successful in eliminating this pest and I hope never to see the damage they cause again.

(Click here to return to menu)