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How To Deal With Broad Mites On Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants aren’t immune to pests. However, by acting fast and using the right treatment, you can minimise the damage of even the toughest pests, including broad and russet mites.

Russet and broad mites are tiny garden pests that can wreak havoc on cannabis plants, stunting their growth and destroying your yields.

In this article, we take a look at both broad and russet mites and show you exactly how to treat them.

WHAT ARE BROAD/RUSSET MITES?

Broad mites, also known as Polyphagotarsonemus latus, are a garden pest that can be regularly found on a variety of plants, including grape vines, apple trees, and of course, cannabis.

Despite their name, broad mites are tiny, with female mites measuring roughly 0.2mm and males measuring only 0.1mm. They can be found around the world, especially in greenhouses.

On cannabis plants, broad mites tend to lay eggs on the underside of new leaves. This is usually where they dwell and feed, leaving behind a toxic saliva that causes malformations and stunts the development of cannabis plants.

Russet mites, or Aceria anthocoptes, are another type of microscopic mite that can affect cannabis and hemp plants.

Similar to broad mites, russet mites measure about 0.17mm. However, they tend to dwell on lower parts of the plant, gradually working their way up, feeding off lower leaves and foliage.

Russet mites feed off sap from the plant, slowly robbing it of nutrients. This in turn stunts the plant’s growth, affecting its ability to flower come harvest time. Unlike broad mites, however, they are particularly attracted to flower resin, meaning they’ll often attack cannabis buds.

What makes broad and russet mite infestations so detrimental is the fact that the mites aren’t visible to the naked eye. Plus, the symptoms of these mites are similar to those of nutrient deficiencies or pH imbalances, making them even harder to detect.

The symptoms of russet and broad mites are usually characterised by yellowing foliage and stems, curling and/or drooping leaves, and stunted growth. Foliage affected by these mites might appear glossy or wet-looking, while buds will begin to brown and eventually die.

If left unchecked, both mites will continue to spread and reproduce, ultimately sapping an entire plant.

HOW TO TREAT BROAD OR RUSSET MITES IN CANNABIS PLANTS

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your plants, it’s important you quickly identify the root cause of your problem.

Using at least 60x magnification, closely inspect the affected parts of your plants to identify the mites.

Remember, the symptoms of a mite infestation are similar to nutrient deficiencies and pH imbalances. Hence, you’ll want to make sure you’re 100% sure you’re dealing with mites before starting a treatment.

Once you’ve identified mites as the cause, it’s time to treat your plants. Here are some different treatment methods for dealing with broad or russet mites on cannabis plants.

NEEM OIL

Neem oil is a great all-around solution for a wide variety of pests, including broad and russet mites. It is available from most grow shops and gardening supply stores.

Using neem oil is simple; just mix it in a mister according to the packet instructions and apply to the affected areas of your plant.

Keep in mind that neem oil will leave behind an unpleasant taste, so always avoid spraying it on your buds.

Also, while neem oil is an all-natural form of pest control, it can be very harsh. Hence, you won’t want to use it for much longer than necessary.

To limit your use of neem oil, we recommend applying it to your plants once, then monitoring their progress over the next 1-2 days before applying the oil a second time.

Pay close attention to the areas of your plants affected by the mites and make sure to check them with magnification after your first round of treatment. Then repeat this process as necessary until the mites are gone.

If you’re dealing with a hardcore infestation, feel free to apply neem oil on a daily basis. This will eventually kill off both broad and russet mites. Just remember that it’ll also put your plants under a lot of stress, so they’ll need a bit of extra TLC after the treatment is through.

Neem oil serves as a completely natural way to protect your cannabis plants against pests.

Neem oil serves as a completely natural way to protect your cannabis plants against pests.

ORGANIC INSECTICIDES

If neem oil isn’t enough to protect your plants from mites, we recommend using a natural insecticide like:

  • Essentria IC3: Essentria IC3 is made up of a mix of horticultural oils designed to manage a variety of garden pests. It can be applied directly to the plants using a mister and should be reapplied every 8-12 hours until the mites disappear.
  • Spinosad: Spinosad is an organic insecticide that kills pests on contact. Try applying it directly to the affected parts of your plant once a day for multiple days until the mites are gone.

INSECTICIDAL SOAPS

Insecticidal plant soaps are great for spot-treating parts of your plants affected by russet/broad mites.

This makes them ideal for use on smaller infestations as well as flowering plants. Just make sure to avoid getting the soap on your buds. Consider using them multiple times for best results.

OTHER OILS

Both essential plant oils and horticultural oils are becoming increasingly popular, especially among gardeners looking to avoid the harsh chemicals of regular insecticides. Some common natural oils used to control garden pests include eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, and cinnamon.

Just like neem oil, these oils can be mixed with water and applied liberally to the foliage of your plants with a mister. Just remember that these oils possess strong aromatic qualities that will affect the flavour and aroma of your plants; so avoid getting them on buds.

CHEMICAL INSECTICIDES

Unfortunately, sometimes mites can be so hard to deal with they leave you no choice but to turn to time-tested chemical insecticides.

While these products contain harsh chemicals that’ll stress your plants and produce potentially toxic run-off, they are extremely effective at dealing with a wide variety of garden pests.

Most of these products are designed to be applied to the affected parts of the plants and left to work for extended periods of time. In some cases, you may need multiple applications to ensure the mites have left your plants.

After that, remember to thoroughly flush your soil. Then you can pump-up your nutrient routine again.

PREVENTING BROAD/RUSSET MITES IN THE FUTURE

When it comes to dealing with garden pests, it’s always better to prevent than treat. Therefore, always make sure your plants are growing in a good environment with plenty of ventilation/circulation and the right temperature/humidity levels.

Plus, always make sure to inspect your plants regularly and act quickly as soon as you see any signs of stress. Mite infestations are much easier to handle when caught early.

Russet and broad mites commonly affect cannabis, destroying growth and ruining yields. In this blog, we explain how to treat and prevent broad/russet mites.

How to Prevent Spider Mites In Cannabis Plants

Spider mites can be detrimental to your cannabis plants/ read on for a detailed look at what spider mites are and how you can prevent them in your grow area.

Contents:

Cannabis, just like any other plant, is susceptible to garden pests which, despite their size, can have devastating effects on a plant’s ability to grow and develop.

In this article we look at spider mites, arguably one of the most common pests affecting cannabis plants. We’ll show you exactly what they are, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them coming back.

For more articles like this and the latest cannabis-related news, grow tips and more, bookmark our site and check in with us regularly. Also, make sure to check out our earlier post for more tips on cannabis pest prevention.

WHAT ARE SPIDER MITES?

Spider mites are a common garden pest that generally lives on the undersides of plant leaves, where they may spin protective silk webs to protect themselves against the elements and other predators.

They are less than 1 millimetre (0.04 inches) in size and can be red or black in colour. Spider mites prefer hot, dry conditions and lay transparent eggs which can hatch in as little as 3 days.

Hatchlings are sexually mature in 5 days, and female mites can live for up to 2-4 weeks, laying up to 20 eggs per day.

TELLTALE SIGNS OF SPIDER MITES IN CANNABIS PLANTS

Spider mites feed off cannabis plants and cause damage by puncturing plant cells in order to feed. Spider mites affect both indoor and outdoor plants and can wreak havoc when not controlled quickly.

Spider Mites pest cannabis detection

Some initial signs of a spider mite infection include tiny spots or stippling on leaves (caused by feeding) and thin, silky webs surrounding the underside of plant leaves and branches.

Larger colonies can cause leaves to turn yellow, become limp and eventually, die off altogether. A large spider mite infection can have a significant effect on a cannabis plant; by destroying the plant’s leaves, they may stunt its ability to grow and develop, eventually resulting in lower yields.

Spider mites may also infect the surrounding areas of buds, which can affect their ability to develop and mature properly. Finally, a large enough colony can kill entire plants, although that is very uncommon.

HOW TO CONTROL AND PREVENT SPIDER MITES

We do not recommend using chemical pesticides on spider mites. In most cases, this will only make matters worse by killing off other insects that prey on the mites.

Also, spider mites are notoriously good at developing resistance to common pesticides, so we suggest using some of the organic methods outlined below.

We also recommend addressing any environmental factors first, then following up by pruning and hosing down your plants.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Remember, spider mites like hot and dry conditions. So, before you get started on any kind of countermeasure against a colony, try bringing down the temperature in your grow room (if possible, bring them down past 20ºC or 68ºF but be careful not to damage your plants).

Next, create some extra air circulation in your grow area. Spider mites hate windy conditions.

PRUNING AND HOSING

Once you’ve addressed any environmental factors in your grow area, it’s time to start pruning.

If you’re only dealing with a small infestation, cut down any infected areas well past the mites’ webbing and discard them in the trash. If you’re dealing with larger infections on individual plants, consider destroying them to avoid the mites spreading.

Once you’ve pruned your plants, consider hosing them down gently. This will help remove any remaining mites and will also help prevent another infestation. You may want to hose them down periodically if you find you’re dealing with mites on a regular basis.

Once you’ve done all of that, you may want to use one of the below control methods to minimise the risk of a future infestation. Remember to check up on your plants daily and to repeat treatment at least twice to avoid having the mites coming back.

Note: some growers hose down plants with a mix of water and alcohol (9:1 ratio). This mixture is known to kill mites on contact without damaging plants.

ADDITIONAL WAYS TO CONTROL SPIDER MITES

INTRODUCE OTHER INSECTS

Ladybugs, lacewings and predatory mites prey on spider mites and are generally available commercially. For the best results, introduce these insects when mite populations are low.

Ladybugs are by far the most common insect used to counter a spider mite infestation. For more detailed tips on how to use ladybugs in your garden, click here.

Other insects that prey on spider mites include:

  • Sixspotted thrips
  • Minute pirate bugs
  • Bigeyed bugs
  • Western flower thrips

ORGANIC INSECTICIDES AND INSECTICIDAL SOAPS

There are a number of organic insecticides on the market that can help control a spider mite infestation. Here are some popular solutions we recommend trying:

  • Essentria IC3: Containing a mix of horticultural oils, this organic spray can be directly applied to your plants using a mister. However, the spray only remains active for 8-12 hours, so you may need to use it daily or combine it with another product or control method.
  • Spinosad: These products are completely organic and do not damage plants. You can apply any of these products to your plants during an infestation to kill mites on contact or add them to your plants’ water supply for long-term protection against mites and other pests.
  • NukeEm: This is a relatively new insecticide made from food-grade ingredients. It can kill mites the egg, larvae or adult stage, and doesn’t leave any residue on the plant.
  • SM-90: An organic wetting agent with a beautiful aroma. Mix this with water and apply it to your plants with a mister to kill any mites on contact.
  • Insecticidal soaps: Insecticidal soaps are great for spot-treating infested areas of your plants. They leave very little residue on your plants but you should still avoid getting any directly on your buds. Multiple treatments may be necessary as soaps do not stay active for long.

ESSENTIAL AND HORTICULTURAL OILS

There are a variety of essential oils that can help to kill and control spider mites by attacking their central nervous system.

Neem oil (extracted from the nuts of the neem tree) is considered a miticide and is the most common type of essential oil used to control mites. However, there are plenty others out there, including:

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil

These oils can be mixed with water and liberally applied to your plants. However, many of these oils are very aromatic, so you may want to avoid getting them on your buds to avoid changing their taste or smell.

Alternatively, you may want to treat your plants periodically with horticultural oils. We generally recommend using vegetable oils, such as canola, soybean or cottonseed.

Spider mites prey on cannabis and can have a huge effect on your yields. Click here to learn how to keep your cannabis plants safe from spider mites. ]]>