How to Deal With Spider Mites on Cannabis Plants
It can be challenging to get rid of spider mites on cannabis plants. Spider mites are so small and can become a significant infestation before the grower notices. They are more common in soil than hydroponic growing systems because the soil has dead organic matter. Spider mites affect both outdoor and indoor plants and can cause havoc when not controlled quickly. They disrupt photosynthesis, gradually starving and killing the plant.
Moreover, they develop resistance to most killing methods and have a high reproduction rate. These abilities make it extremely hard to get rid of them. Read on to find out how to identify spider mites, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from coming back.
Signs and Symptoms of Spider Mites Infestation
Spider mites are small, and it takes a thorough leaf inspection to see them. They spin a web on the undersides of leaves; therefore, a grower will notice white strings between the leaves. The spider mites use the web to keep their eggs and colony safe.
The grower might also see fine silk on the plants’ foliage. Yellow or white spots will then begin appearing on the leaves. The leaves can also have brown and dark spots and mottling or mosaic pattern. Spider mites on cannabis leave specks when they bite the plants and pierce the plant cell walls to extract nutrients. The plant experiences slowed growth with the buds not fattening. In a bad infestation, the cannabis plant looks sickly and discolored and may eventually die.
Treatment of Spider Mite Infestation
There are many methods at your disposal to eradicate Spider Mites from cannabis Plants. They include:
Pruning Infected Parts
When dealing with a small infestation, growers can cut down infected parts of the cannabis plants and destroy them. In more extensive infections in individual plants, the plants can be destroyed to prevent the mites from spreading. Growers must check on the plants frequently to deal with re-infestation early.
Using a Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner is used to suck spider mites on cannabis plants’ leaves. This method can be time-consuming but is effective in removing the mites as it targets all the life cycle stages of the spider mites. The mites are then put in a sealable bag and disposed of properly. An effective way is putting the bag in a freezer to kill the bugs with cold temperatures. The bag is then put away in the trash with other garbage.
Use of Homemade Killing Solutions
Growers can also use homemade killing solutions to get rid of spider mites on cannabis plants. They can make a homemade pepper spray with water, one part dishwashing soap, nicotine tea, and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper. They can also use a bleach solution made of one tablespoon of bleach, one gallon of water that is pH balanced and heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Another solution a grower can use is three parts of water and seven parts of alcohol.
Using a Commercial Spray
Growers can also use commercially available contact sprays. Using these sprays requires precision as they are only effective on the spider mites they reach. Growers can use a hard water spray to hit spider mites on cannabis plants three mornings in a row. The water pressure makes the bugs and eggs fall to the ground and finally die from lack of food.
Using Predatory Insects
Ladybugs eat spider mites and often show up naturally to crops when there is a spider mite infestation. Growers can also buy ladybugs. However, the ladybugs will leave after it eats all the mites, so growers will have to buy another set in case of another infestation.
Prevention of Spider Mites on Cannabis for Both Indoor and Outdoor Growing
Many indoor and outdoor cannabis growers get spider mites from infected clones or visiting infected cultivation rooms or gardens. It takes a few eggs on the clones or some spider mites on the grower’s clothes to start an infestation. To prevent this, plants and clones from outside should be quarantined and treated first before moving to the growing area. Growers must check for eggs and spider mites using a handheld microscope and spraying the pant with a proven spider mite cure. Growers must also avoid going directly to the growing room from outdoors to prevent bringing in spider mites. The grower must change clothes and shower first before checking on the plants.
It is also essential to keep a clean, grow space to prevent spider mites on cannabis plants. Growers must remove any dead leaves and other plant matter frequently. Growers should also keep pets away from the growing area and ensuring people who visit the growing area are clean. Additionally, the grower must wipe and sterilize everything used between the cannabis plants.
Maintaining the right cannabis-growing environment also prevents spider mite infestation. Spider mites flourish in stagnant air; therefore, growers must ensure their growing areas have high airflow. A hot, dry environment is good for spider mites. Maintaining moderate humidity and room temperature prevents a spider mite infestation. Air intakes from outside must be filtered to keep the pests away. Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth on top of the soil or using a soil cover helps kill tiny spider mites while enabling the plants to grow.
The Bottom Line
Growers can rotate various eradication methods to prevent the spider mites from developing resistance to one particular method. Spider mite eggs hatch in millions in a few days or weeks, and the new mites are resistant to the old treatment method. Insecticides can be used in extreme cases, but it is not advisable to use them as they are harmful to humans, especially those containing Abamectin or Lindane. Cannabis plants with strong genetics are less vulnerable to spider mites; therefore, growers should consider using seeds from a trusted seed bank.
At Greenpoint Seeds, we offer high-quality cannabis seeds. Buy our premium seeds today to get plants that are resistant to pests and diseases. Of course, you can always contact us to learn more about how to prevent and treat spider mites on cannabis plants.
Do you have any tips for treating and preventing cannabis infestations? Let us know in the comment section below.