How To Get Rid Of The Dreaded Spider Mites On Plants
A spider mite infestation or even a sight of just a few is a cultivator’s nightmare. Despite its tiny size, the damage it can cause is colossal. If not terminated early, it can quickly devastate a single plant or an entire garden. It is one of the reasons why cannabis growers invest valuable time inspecting the floras every day.
What Are Spider Mites
Spider mites are infamous garden pests that reside on the undersides of a plant’s leaves. There, the insects protect itself from predators and elements by spinning silk webs to act as a shield. It especially thrives and breed profusely in hot and dry conditions. The eggs, which can hatch in as fast as 3 days, are transparent. Females live for 2 to 4 weeks and can lay up to 20 eggs each day.
These pests can effortlessly pierce and suck on a plant through their sharp mouths. Cannabis is definitely one of its top choices for food and abode. Spider mites are widespread in marijuana floras growing in soil. But, it could also infest those cultivated in hydroponics.
At less than 1 mm in size, it is challenging to spot until there is already a buildup. Many cultivators also mistake the tiny spots created by the infestation as nutrient deficiency. To avoid or stop these insects from ravaging a plant, growers must learn the telltale signs of the presence of spider mites.
What Are The Signs Of Spider Mites In Cannabis Plants
Spider mites affect plants whether grown indoors or outdoors. If not managed early and swiftly, it can wreak havoc. Here are the most common indications of spider mite habitation:
- Stippling or formation of tiny spots on leaves
- Small white, translucent eggs on the bottom of the leaves
- Leaves with small spots turning yellow
- Fine, silky webs around or on the bottom of leaves, branches, or buds
- Visible spider mites on the foliage
Why Growers Hate Spider Mites
Plant cultivators despise spider mites with passion. It is one of the most notorious agricultural pests around, and here’s a list of reasons why:
- High Reproductive Rate. One mature female spider mite can produce 100 to 200 eggs.
- Comes Back with a Vengeance. Getting rid of spider mites is a laborious effort that may or may not end with a success. Unfortunately, this pest is infamous for reappearing days or weeks after applying pesticide.
- Intense Hunger. As mentioned, spider mites can cause quite a devastation. It typically devours a plant in a short amount of time. A band infestation, though, can kill a plant overnight.
- Crippling Web. These pests can create a fine web that can cover leaves and buds like a blanket. As most experienced growers already know, such situation leads to unusable crops.
- Ability to Build Resilience Fast. Growers must eradicate pest problems swiftly and effectively. Should an attempt to kill spider mites fail, one can soon be looking at a steadily growing community of extra resilient spider mites.
Two-spotted spider mites especially favor cannabis plants. This type of pest has shown great resistance to insecticides, and has earned the moniker “the borg” amongst marijuana growers.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites
Spider mites have developed great fondness of cannabis plants. As a matter of fact, this genus of insects is the most common kind of pestto attack marijuana floras. Growers must act soon after noticing signs of spider mite activity.
Step 1: Go On A 2-phase Kill Fest
- Reduce Its Number and Halt Reproduction. Spider mites love the heat and non-moving air. By dropping the temperature to around 15°C and using a fan to give a breezy environment, it hinders the reproduction. To further cut down the pest population, cultivators can top the growing medium used. Then, if doable, bring the plant somewhere where no other floras can get infested and spray off the remaining spider mites. Use water with 3 to 4 pH level or wash down with citric acid, nitric, phosphoric, or vinegar
- Use Proven Spider Mite Remedies or Treatments. After removing and killing as much pest as possible, it is time to make use of pesticides. Contact pesticide sprays come well recommended. As its name implies, there should be contact, so make sure to hit the pests and the eggs with the spray directly. DIYers can concoct with a homemade garlic and water solution. Cultivators using commercial pesticides must re-apply the spray according to the instructions on the label. As mentioned before, spider mites, especially the two-spotted kind, are resilient to insecticides and are good at building up immunity. Pesticides often require multiple applications to work effectively.
Step 2: Spray With Old & New In 2-3 Days
In 2 or 3 days, cultivators must spray a different pesticide that also targets spider mites and its eggs. By this time, the adults that survived the first purge would have already developed resistance against the first method. As such, using the same insecticide will most likely no longer be as effective.
Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2
When it comes to spider mites, growers can never be too sure. There are spider mite species that take longer to mature and may reappear even stronger and more resistant. For this reason, doing a repeat is completely necessary. Most seasoned growers swear by using a mix of different methods during this stage.
Step 4: Avoid Another Infestation
To steer clear from another spider mite attack, keeping the grow room sanitary is essential. Additionally, even gardening equipment like shears and extractors must be cleaned regularly.
How To Prevent Spider Mite Infestation
There are strains with adequate resistance to common pests like spider mites. However, some variants are also quite delicate and cannot bear up against trauma. As such, it is better to fend off any infestation to assure a rewarding growing season. Even in the case of cannabis cultivation, prevention is indeed better than cure.
- Do not re-use soil from plants that have been infested before.
- Keep the grow space clean and secure. Most often, it is the grower who brings the pest into the grow room. To avoid this, it is crucial to change clothes or even take a shower before visiting the plants. Spider mites can be picked up from other plants, other grow rooms, or the outdoors.
- Quarantine new plants before bringing it to the grow room.
- Keep the environment unideal to spider mites – with low temperatures and high humidity.
- Get rid and destroy damaged parts of a plant or even the whole flora if necessary.
- Try utilizing and introducing predatory mites or insects into the garden.
Defense Is The Best Offense
Despite the widespread spider mite infestations, many cannabis cultivators still achieve a fruitful harvest. That only proves that, with ample knowledge and proper care, crushing these tiny gardening terrors is possible. As with all issues, prevention or defense is the best offense. Also stay hawk-eyed, and do what is necessary in case of pest attack.