Cannabis Spider Mites: What You Need To Know
Whether you've been growing your own weed for decades or it's your first time out, there can sometimes be challenges that come up during the process. Aside from taking general care of your plants, you'll also need to keep an eye out for pests and other disturbances, specifically cannabis spider mites. These little creatures can create a huge problem if gone unresolved, so let's learn more about how you can keep your crop safe.
What Are Spider Mites?
Imagine an arachnid with eight legs, just like a spider, but one that's as small as a mite - that's your basic cannabis spider mite. One or two on a leaf may be nearly impossible to spot, but once a larger infestation occurs, you'll notice them on the underside of your plants. Sometimes small white strings will extend from plant to plant, as these creatures make webs just like a normal spider. As small as the tip of a pencil, they can go unnoticed until it's too late.
The main source of fuel for cannabis spider mites comes from the chlorophyll of your plants, so they literally feed off of the very thing that helps your crop to grow and thrive. A handful of spider mites may not pose a huge threat, but a large group of them could quite possibly kill a plant overnight.
Why Are They So Dangerous?
Aside from the obvious fact that they can wipe out a marijuana plant with ease, spider mites are such a threat because of their specific lifecycle. A female spider mite can lay around one million eggs per month, with each only taking a few days to hatch. Unless you stop the infestation early on, you have a pest that is reproducing faster than you can kill it.
Spider mites in weed can kill a plant quickly or in some cases could wipe out an entire crop. The problem is that once you've become infested, they're hard to get rid of. If you've ever had fleas in your home, it's a similar process in terms of killing all pests and eggs. It's crucial to treat each plant repeatedly to make sure you've caught each stage of life.
Bringing a plant from an outside grow set-up that's infected can also jeopardize your entire indoor crop. Cultivators often aren't aware of this when moving plants around, and it can create some huge problems.
Identifying And Removing Cannabis Spider Mites
The key to stopping an infestation boils down to constant vigilance. Growers should routinely check their plants for spider mites. Take a look at the top and bottom of your plant leaves and notice any white or yellow specks. More obvious signs of an infestation are white weblike strings in and around the flower and leaves. If an infestation has gone too far, your plants will start to discolor and eventually die.
Once you've noticed a problem, you must act quickly. A preventative measure of using organic compost mulch should be implemented every time moving forward. You'll also want to avoid moving plants from outdoor to indoor environments. Cannabis spider mites love leaves, even dead ones. Make sure to keep your grow room clean of all dead leaves on the ground. Lastly, don't ever let pets enter your growing area and make sure you are clean before handling your crop.
A few other methods for keeping spider mites at bay include:
- Using an air filter in your grow room. Keep the temperature low and start with seeds instead of clones if possible.
- Ladybugs eat spider mites and will naturally gravitate to outdoor bugs. Inside infestations might require a purchase of these cute insects.
- A water pressure system can help to knock bugs off the leaves. Spray them at least three times a day to get a handle on your spider mites.
- Vacuuming your leaves seems silly, but it works. Take some time to cover both sides of each leaf, then dispose of the contents.
- Some bug sprays are formulated for cannabis spider mites. Explore what options you have at a gardening store if all else fails.
Planning For The Future
As unfortunate as it is, you'll never forget the first time you find spider mites in weed. Remember, an infestation is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to handle. First-time growers don't have nearly as much experience and may not even be aware of these creatures. However, after successfully handling an infestation, you'll know what to do next time.
Be sure to take the time to learn more about other pests that can damage your crops or inhibit growth. Unfortunately marijuana isn't a plant it and forget it type of crop. Educating yourself on the various issues you might encounter will go a long way toward your success!