Spider Mites Organically Controlled
Controlling Spider Mites Organically
Spider mites are the worst possible invaders getting into your marijuana crop. Organically controlling Spider Mites is your safest solution for your cannabis crop.
They’re a common cannabis pest, and can be hard to get rid of. Spider mites are not actually insects, but rather arachnids (like spiders) since they have eight legs and lack antennae. Spider Mites also have an oval-shaped body and are related to ticks and other mites. They are called spider mites because of the web that they spin on your plants’ leaves and flowers.
What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are so devastating simply because of their extremely high reproductive rate. Eggs hatch in just three short days, and five days after that the spider mites have reached sexual maturity. At this point, they will begin reproducing rapidly. A female spider mite could lay millions of eggs in one month. Do you see the issue here?
Spider mites like your marijuana plants because they eat the chlorophyll, the substance all plants need to achieve photosynthesis. They have little teeth that bite into one plant cell and remove the chlorophyll. Imagine that happening from millions of spider mites at one time – this is how entire crops are destroyed. Spider mites can appear in any setup, but they are less common in hydroponic growing systems. They are especially common in soil because there is more dead organic matter.
Spider Mites can kill a plant overnight
Spider mites can destroy your plants at an incredibly rapid speed. Bad infestations have been known to actually kill a plant overnight. They also are extremely adaptable, and they grow immune to your method of killing them. This happens if your method hasn’t worked completely, and some spider mites were left. Then you will soon end up with an army of super spider mites that are immune to whatever you method you tried using. Two-spotted spider mites are especially resilient to insecticides. They specialize in eating marijuana and are often called “the Borg” by marijuana growers. Prevention instead of trying to rid yourself of these bugs is a better way of controlling Spider Mites.
Spider mites are perhaps the most damaging invaders to hit your marijuana plants. Considered arachnids rather than insects, spider mites have eight legs and no antennae. They are minutely and extremely hard to see with the naked eye. Spider mites typically make their homes on the underside of leaves and will spin a silky web as a means of protecting their colony and eggs from predators. If you see fine white connections between leaves, chances are you have spider mites.
Spider Mites Life Cycle
Eggs hatch within three days with the spider mite becoming sexually mature in a mere five days. This means they can reproduce at a rapid rate, thus causing major damage to your crop. Spider mites have little teeth with which they can puncture a single plant cell and extract chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis in all plant life. Because they reproduce rapidly, spider mites have the potential of causing major damage to your marijuana plants. A mature female can produce literally millions of offspring within a month’s time. Astonishing that something so small can be so detrimental and in such massive numbers! Controlling Spider Mites at all stages is essential.
Uncontrolled Spider Mites
Uncontrolled spider mite infestation can cause major crop damage and/or failure. By following the planting practices mentioned above, you can deter the infestation of spider mites. Organic compost and mulch added to the planting site deters these microscopic warriors from invading your marijuana plants by encouraging the presence of predatory mites which feed on the destructive spider mites. Ladybugs also feed on spider mites. They can be purchased online, but will more than likely fly away once they no longer have a food source available to them. You may see the sudden appearance of ladybugs if spider mites are present and can save yourself the trouble of purchasing them. Mother Nature works that way!
The spider mite life cycle is what makes them so resilient as a species. When adult females lay their eggs, they will hatch within a few days (or sometimes weeks). The hatched organisms are called larvae, and they have round bodies with three sets of legs instead of four. These larvae will feed on your plant for several days until they choose a spot that is protected or sheltered and then molt, thus entering their first nymphal stage. This first nymph has four sets of legs instead of three.
Nymph Spider Mites
A first nymph follows a similar pattern: it eats for several days, then finds somewhere to rest and mold into the next phase – the second nymph. The second nymph follows the same pattern. It eats for a few days, rests, then molts into the final adult stage. They have thus reached sexual maturity.
Adult Spider Mites
Male adults remain roughly the same size as a second nymph, and their abdomens are pointy. Females’ abdomens are round, and they are larger than males.
Due to this unique life cycle, if you kill off all the adult spider mites then you might think you have eradicated the problem altogether. Unbeknownst to you, the less mature spider mites could still be happily chomping away at your plants, about to enter their own adult stages of life.
Spider Mite Infestation
Spider mites can be tough to notice right away, making it difficult to get ahead of the game when it comes to eradication. They will appear like little dots to the naked eye, no bigger than the tip of your pencil lead. Many growers don’t notice that there is anything off until the infestation is big enough that it’s impossible not to see.
This is why it’s extremely important for you to do routine leaf inspections. Check both sides of the leaves to see any spider mite damage. Do this often, because you will need to have enough time to act faster than the speedy spider mites.
Spider mites generally live on the undersides of your marijuana plants’ leaves. Much like a “normal” spider, spider mites spin a web to keep their eggs and colony safe. You should be able to notice when a spider mite is making its home beneath a leaf because you will see fine white strings between leaves.
If you do, you will know there’s a problem to be dealt with. You also might see the fine silk on your plants’ foliage. This sticky silk will collect dust and dirt and will make your plant look dirty. It is especially common in a flowering room to see buds covered in this fine webbing.
The first signs of a spider mite problem will be seen on the leaves. Tiny specks will begin appearing – these specks are actually little bite marks from where the mites took a chomp of your plant. These spots might be yellow or white in color.
If a plant is badly infested with spider mites, the whole thing will start looking sickly and discoloured, and could eventually just die. Not sure if spider mites are causing the damage to your marijuana plants?
How to get rid of Spider Mites
There are several ways you can prevent a major infestation of spider mites. If you use an organic compost mulch, for instance, you will be unknowingly adding predatory mites to your plants’ defenses. These beneficial mites eat the spider mites.
Other tips for prevention include never bringing in plants from the outside into your grow room. This is the most common cause of a spider mite infestation. If you have an external clone or a marijuana plant from elsewhere, keep it under quarantine for a minimum of two weeks. You can even check it with a handheld microscope.
You also shouldn’t allow old, dead leaves to sit in your marijuana grow room – ever. Pick up any dead leaves on a regular basis and put them in a totally new location. Just make sure you move them out of the grow room! Cleanliness is also key – don’t ever walk into your grow room straight from the outside; ensure your cleanliness first. Don’t let any pets into the grow room, and keep the airflow nice and consistent.If you have air coming in from outside, apply a filter of some kind to keep bugs out. It’s best to start your crop out with seeds instead of clones, especially if you are only growing for personal use. Keep temperatures on the lower side, since spider mites love the heat.
Ladybugs also eat spider mites, although if you purchase them they will fly away as soon as their source of food is gone, so they don’t work as well preventatively. They often show up to your crop naturally when you have a spider mite problem, in which case you don’t need to buy any ladybugs. Mother Nature can be awfully helpful sometimes. If you were unable to prevent an infestation from occurring, there are a few steps you can take to handle the problem before it destroys all of your plants. First, use a hard water spray to hit your plants, three mornings in a row. The water pressure alone should take care of the bugs and their webs. They will fall to the ground and, unable to move anywhere else, will eventually die from lack of food.
Another option is also deceptively simple. Try using a handheld vacuum cleaner to simply suck the mites straight off of your leaves. This takes a bit more time, but should be an effective way of removing the mites. You should then carefully put the contents of the vacuum into a sealable plastic bag, then put that bag into the freezer. The mites will die from the cold since they live in higher temperatures. Then simply get rid of the bag with the rest of your trash on garbage day.
One potential problem you could run into is an apparent resurrection of the spider mites. This is every marijuana grower’s worst nightmare. Of course, it is not actually the same spider mites coming back to life. It is actually their millions of eggs that all hatched within a few days or weeks of when you thought you had gotten rid of these pests. If you bought ladybugs to take care of the problem, this could occur after they have already flown away in search of more food. You will have to use a different method or buy a new set of ladybugs – but you better do it quickly!
You can also go to your local gardening center and see what sprays they have to get rid of the mites. An additional option is to use Safers soap. You should shake your plant and then kill them by spraying your marijuana plants with Safers soap or another product that will kill the spider mites on contact organically. Be careful with using a chemical solution that may be harmful to humans if ingested. Safers soap kills Spider Mites on contact so you need to heavily spray your cannabis crop. Controlling Spider Mites with Safers soap requires multiple applications over several weeks.
Some other options are using a bleach solution made of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water that is 95 degrees Fahrenheit and pH balanced), or alcohol and water (30% or more of the solution should be water to avoid hurting the plant itself).
You could also make a homemade pepper spray (9 parts water, 1 part dishwashing soap that doesn’t have any additives, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper),
Nicotine Tea Spray
nicotine tea (15 grams of organic tobacco, steep with hot water overnight), dichotomous earth (fossil dust that can be sprinkled over your plants), or insecticide. Only use insecticide for extreme cases, and do it by treating your entire grow room with broad spectrum insecticide.
After two or three days of using one method, follow up with another method as well as re-using the original method. Repeat the entire process one more times – or more! Once you think you’ve taken care of the spider mite problem, treat the area a minimum of one more time.
Because spider mites like to stick around and resurrect their numbers after you have treated your crop already, make sure that you continue treating after the infestation appears to be gone. Always assume they are hiding away, preparing secretly to destroy your plants as soon as you turn your back. Kill them before they can. Use multiple methods when you are exterminating the spider mites so that you can ensure they all die. Constant, varied attacks are the best way of handling this mighty foe.
Marijuana plant symptoms
– Brown, dark spots
– Mottling or mosaic pattern
– Slowed growth
– Webbing on leaves
– Slowed growth
– Wilting or drooping of plant
If you’re growing indoors, it’s important to determine where exactly your spider mites came from. This is a good thing to do before you start using everything in your power to destroy them.
Were the spider mites just randomly brought into your grow room from the outside? They could have come from a vegetable garden, from animals or your pets, or from another plant that isn’t marijuana. If they were just tracked in from outside, they most likely they are your standard non-super spider mites, so you can go ahead and use a simpler home remedy to take care of them.
However if they came from another marijuana grower, you may have a tougher time killing them. If they came from clones you used, or maybe were somehow tracked in from someone else’s marijuana garden, or any other situation where the spider mite was living on someone else’s marijuana plants, then this is not a run-of-the-mill spider mite.
This is a marijuana expert. If they are two-spotted spider mites, you will have a very difficult time with them. They are probably already immune to lots of eradication methods. You should, therefore, use the strongest remedies immediately. Don’t wait around and play games, or your entire crop could easily get destroyed.
Sterilize Grow Room
After harvesting your crop, you need to completely sterilize your grow room with a solution of bleach and water (1:2). Ensure you wipe down all your equipment, walls and floors. Bleach is a great sterilizer but may leave a residue so you need to swipe it afterwards with a rag with a water.
A clean grow room makes for happy marijuana plants. Prevention instead of trying to kill Spider Mites is a ultimate way to control Spider Mites. An ounce of prevention is worth an pound of cure. This is so true when it comes to your cannabis crop.