CANNABIS Spider MiteS
Spider mites are among the most common cannabis pests that growers have to deal with. There are many different varieties of spider mites, but the two-spotted spider mite occurs the most frequently and can take out entire cannabis grow operations in a matter of weeks.
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What are Cannabis Spider Mites?
Cannabis spider mites often go unnoticed at first because they are so tiny that they look like spots to the naked eye. Male spider mites measure about 1/50th of an inch long (.5mm) and are larger than their female counterparts which are about 1/64″ (.4mm). If you look under a microscope, you can see that they have four pairs of legs, no antennae and a body shaped like an oval. They have tiny sharp mouths that pierce individual plant cells and suck out the contents. This is what results in the tiny yellow, orange or white speckles you see on your plant leaves.
Two-spotted spider mites are probably the most prevalent bugs on marijuana plants, especially when growing in soil. Although less common in hydroponics, cannabis spider mites can still show up in any setup where cannabis is being cultivated and can invade your processing facility and grow rooms before you even realize that they’re there.
life cycle of Cannabis Spider MiteS
Cannabis spider mites have a life cycle that helps them to re-populate quickly and effectively, even after much of their population has been destroyed. So if you want to eradicate two-spotted cannabis spider mites from your grow operation, you need to understand their life cycle which begins with adult females laying their eggs in cannabis host plants. In days or weeks, an egg will hatch and become a larva, which is the first stage of life.
Larvae are round-bodied and have only three pairs of legs. The larvae feed for a few days, seek a sheltered spot to rest and then molt into the first nymph stage. The first nymph has four pairs of legs and feeds for a few days, then rests and molts into the second nymph. The second nymphs then feed, rest and molt into the adult stage. Overall, it can take days or weeks for cannabis spider mites to go through their whole life cycle.
Why Cannabis Spider Mites are the Worst Cannabis Pests
While there are lots of cannabis pests that can cause you problems, two-spotted cannabis spider mites are the most feared. Here’s why:
- Fast reproduction rate – a single mature female spider mite produces up to a million cannabis spider mites in less than a month
- Disappearing act – cannabis spider mites often appear to be gone completely, but then they come back with a vengeance days or weeks later, right when you thought you’d gotten rid of them for good
- Big appetites – cannabis spider mites can eat up your tender plants in an amazingly short amount of time; a bad infestation has been known to kill plants overnight
- Webbing – cannabis spider mites cover leaves and buds with a fine mesh of silk webbing, ruining whole crops even after you get rid of the spider mites
- Zombie-like resistance – cannabis spider mites quickly become immune to whatever you do to try to kill them; if you don’t take care of your spider mite problem by eradicating them completely from your grow room, you may soon find you have a population of ‘Super-mites’.
Signs of a Cannabis Spider MiteS Infestation
The two-spotted spider mite which loves cannabis seems to be particularly resistant to insecticides and can be almost impossible to get rid of! When cannabis spider mites attack a particular spot and you see lots of speckles near each other, the leaves may start looking yellow or bronze. Badly attacked leaves often die prematurely.
Although a cannabis spider mites problem starts with just speckles, this destructive marijuana pest has certainly earned the “spider” part of its name from the distinctive silk webbing they spin on vegetation, leaves, and flowers once an infestation really sets in. Web-producing cannabis spider mites may completely coat the foliage and flowers with the fine silk, which collects dust and looks dirty. With flowering plants, you may even see entire buds get covered in fine webbing from a bad two-spotted spider mite infestation.
How to Eradicate Cannabis Spider Mites
Early detection of cannabis spider mites is key! Spider mites are difficult to spot at a glance and can be detected only by a completely thorough leaf inspection (on both sides of the leaf). If you find cannabis spider mites or eggs, you must act fast and hit them hard. Spider mites can be very quick to take over your plant, and even quicker to develop a resistance to almost any method you use to get rid of them – except when you choose organic cannabis pest control.
At Ant & Garden Pest Control in Beaverton Oregon, your cannabis plants stay protected with my proprietary organic spray that eradicates cannabis spider mites and prevents them from coming back.
1. Identify Source of Infestation
It can help to identify how and where the cannabis spider mite infestation in your grow operation began. There are several possibilities, including:
- Tracking them in from outside
- Cross-contamination from a vegetable garden
- Brought in by animals and pets
- Transference from another plant, not necessarily a cannabis variety
- Cross-contamination from infected clone plants
- Cross-contamination from tools and equipment that haven’t been sanitized
- Transference from another cannabis grow facility
It is possible to bring in cannabis spider mites from any of these sources, but given the fact that two-spotted spider mites are specialized feeders of cannabis plants, it’s far more likely that your cannabis spider mite infestation started from infected clones or a trip to another cannabis farm. That’s why it’s so important to quarantine any new clones before integrating them into your grow operation. You should also change your clothes every time you enter and leave your facility to mitigate against the possibility of contamination from outside sources.
2. Pre-Treatment Measures
Cut down their numbers! There are a few things you can do to reduce the cannabis spider mite population in your garden. Keep in mind that these methods don’t actually eradicate your two-spotted spider mite infestation but simply slow down its progress until you can reach an organic pest control expert who can map out a more thorough pest management plan for you.
- Control the heat
- Have lots of air blowing over the plants and top of growing medium
- Spray spider mites off the plants if you have a spider mite spray on hand
Cannabis spider mites like the heat and hate a windy environment. Use an oscillating fan to provide a cool breeze in your grow space. This won’t get rid of the spider mites, but the breeze will make it harder for them to reproduce so your other control methods are more effective. They can’t mate in windy conditions so a strong fan can help keep the infestation from getting worse. A breeze also helps organic pest control measures perform better because fans help dry out spray treatments on the plant.
If you have some extra space outside your grow room, it will be wise to bring infected plants outside and spray off as many cannabis spider mites as possible. That way, you can lower their numbers before starting with your main treatments.
Because of their variable growth process, it’s common to think that you’ve eradicated the cannabis spider mites in your grow room while they’re secretly building up numbers in one of their immature stages. This is why it’s so important to keep treating your grow room after a spider mite infestation even if it appears that all the cannabis spider mites are gone. Just pretend they’re hiding and doing pushups, building their numbers for a second infestation. Treat your grow room like a war zone and don’t allow the cannabis spider mites to build in numbers and attack again!
At Ant & Garden Pest Control, I use a proprietary organic food grade spray to treat your entire facility, eradicating cannabis spider mites and their eggs on the spot! By focusing my treatment on every inch of your processing facility, I also keep eggs and mites hidden in tiny cracks and crevices from reproducing and coming back.
With traditional cannabis spider mite sprays, you often find that the problem recurs, often within a few short weeks. Cannabis spider mites are great at adapting to any treatment used on them and build up resistance quickly, so they can often come back with a vengeance despite treatment. However, at Ant & Garden Pest Control, I follow a custom plan for each client. I rotate the best OLCC approved products for two-spotted spider mites every three days for a period of 21 days. I also treat all your buildings with my proprietary building spray four times – by the time I’m done, your operation will be free of cannabis spider mites, from your garden and grow site to your outbuildings and processing facility.
Prevention Against Future Infestations
Once cannabis spider mites are gone, you need to worry about prevention. With spider mites, the best offense is a good defense! If you’ve had spider mites attack your grow room in the past, you might be unintentionally doing something to encourage or attract them.
There are many preventative organic pest control products such as sprays which make plants less tasty to annoying cannabis spider mites. However, these should only be used as a supplement to good gardening practices. Really, the most important aspect of cannabis spider mite prevention when growing indoors is to maintain a clean and secure grow room.
Never Bring Cannabis Spider Mites into Your Grow Room
Many indoor growers get cannabis spider mites from bringing in cannabis clones that are infected, or from visiting another grower or grow room with spider mites. Even just a few eggs on a clone or a few spider mites on your clothes is all it takes to start a full-fledged infestation. This is the most common way people get spider mites, especially the cannabis spider mites variety which can be almost impossible to kill!
Implement Strict Quarantine Procedures
Never move plants or clones from the outside world into your grow room without treating and quarantining them. If you get a new plant, keep that plant away from your other plants until you know that it’s clean.
For every new plant or clone, follow the guidelines below:
- Get a handheld microscope and use it to look for common cannabis pests on new plants. Check closely for tiny spots on the leaves which could be bites from cannabis spider mites. Also, check for eggs and tiny bugs underneath the leaves. It’s easiest to find marijuana bugs when the plant is at its smallest.
- Spray new clones with an OLCC approved cannabis spider mite spray.
- Keep new plants in quarantine for at least 14 days and check regularly to ensure they have no bugs before you bring them around your other plants.
- Never go directly into the grow room from outdoors to avoid tracking in cannabis spider mites. If you’ve visited another grower or grow room, it’s especially important to change your clothes and possibly shower before going to check on your plants.
Keep a Clean Grow Space
Try to keep everything clean and tidy. Not only does this help prevent cannabis spider mites, but it also protects buds so they don’t have fibers and dust all over them!
- Collect and remove dead leaves or other plant matter from your grow space regularly. It will not work if you simply stack them in a neat pile in one corner – you have to bring dead plant matter out of your grow room.
- Make sure that you or anyone who comes into your contact space is clean (don’t let anyone walk into your grow room directly from outside). Be especially cautious if the person has recently visited another grow space.
- Don’t let dogs, cats, rabbits or any domesticated pets enter your grow area. In addition to shedding and possibly bringing in cannabis spider mites and other marijuana bugs, some cats will happily chew on your leaves and buds, so that’s more than enough reason not to let them anywhere near your plants!
- Wipe up and sterilize everything in between grows.
Maintain a Great Growing Environment
Cannabis spider mites do better in some environments than others. It’s a good thing that the conditions that make your plants healthy and happy are not that attractive for cannabis spider mites. So if you’re taking care of your plant’s environment, you’re also helping to prevent marijuana bugs and mold.
- Always ensure optimum airflow in your grow room as cannabis spider mites thrive in stagnant air. Providing lots of circulating air will not only help prevent spider mites, fungus gnats and mold – your plants will be thankful as well!
- Cannabis spider mites like hot, dry weather. Prevent or slow down a spider mite infestation in your grow room by maintaining a comfortable room temperature and a moderate amount of humidity.
- If you have an air intake from outside, make sure you have some sort of filter to keep bugs from getting in through it.
Keep a close watch on your plants, and react quickly at the FIRST sign of cannabis spider mites!!!
If you’re growing just a small amount of marijuana for personal use and are really worried about cannabis spider mites, you might consider starting with seeds instead of clones. That way you don’t have to worry about accidentally getting cannabis zombie mites when starting from seed (plus you can choose to grow any strain you want!). Another way to help prevent cannabis pests is to grow hydroponically, since cannabis spider mites and most common cannabis pests are much less likely to thrive in a soilless environment!
If you’re dealing with an impossible cannabis spider mite problem, call Ryan at Ant & Garden Pest Control in Beaverton Oregon for a free consultation. Let me help you eradicate cannabis spider mites and get your cannabis grow operation back on track!
Ant & Garden Pest Control Beaverton is the most trusted and reliable pest control company in Oregon, and for good reason! I care about helping my clients as though they’re members of my own family. Whether you’re in need of urgent treatment for an existing ant pest problem or are looking for the best prevention methods for your home or business, I am committed to bringing you only the best ant and pest control Beaverton for your complete peace of mind.
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