What Should You Do When You Find Spider Mites on Your Cannabis Plants?
Any experienced grower has likely encountered a spider mite infestation at some point. However, it still doesn’t fail to conjure up images of horror in most of our minds.
Although we may put on a brave face, a spider mite infestation is enough to make even the bravest grower tremble.
However, with an appropriate approach, you can get rid of them for good. Plus, we’ve also got a few tips that will help you prevent another infestation from happening again.
That way, you can keep your mind on the harvest. To us, that’s the most important thing of all.
What Are Spider Mites?
Before we begin, it would help to discuss what type of pest we have on our hands. By understanding our opponents, overcoming them in battle will be that much easier.
Generally speaking, when growers talk about spider mites, they are referring to three different species of bug. For our purposes, we do not need to distinguish between the three species.
They all look fairly similar. Plus, they produce the same effects on your plant. Thus, overall, they may as well be the same thing.
How Can You Tell If There Are Spider Mites on Your Cannabis Plant?
Typically, we suggest looking for the following three signs. If you see them, then chances are you have a spider mite infestation. Don’t worry about it too much. At least, since you know what’s going on, you can take care of it promptly.
Spots on the Leaves:
These are the most common signs you’ll see on an infected cannabis plant. Since the spider mites disrupt their ability to grow, the leaves will start to show spots before long. At that point, it’s essential for you to intervene as soon as possible. Otherwise, the damage could become permanent.
As the spider made infestation progresses, they will begin to lay down webs on the leaves. Over time, you’ll begin to see these accumulate in tiny clusters. If you have seen some of these, you’ll need to do something immediately.
After they have lain their nests, the mites begin to lay eggs. If they are undisturbed for long enough, all the eggs will hatch at the same time. If you haven’t seen the spider mites by now, it’ll be impossible to ignore them afterward. The leaves will be swarming with the tiny critters.
How Do You Prevent Spider Mites From Nesting on Your Weed?
So, obviously, this would be something we would rather avoid. Still, how are we supposed to prevent something like that from happening? Well, if you were to ask an experienced grower, they would probably tell you the following.
Maintain a Sterile Growth Area:
First and foremost, in the room where you grow the plants, everything must be sterilized completely. This is not a one-time process. If something comes into the room without being sterilized, then you must re-sterilize everything.
Even a small item could harbor contamination. If it goes uncontained, it can destroy your entire harvest.
Ensure Proper Handling Procedures When Transplanting Plants:
Sometimes, growers like to plant the seeds outdoors while they are germinating. Then, they will transplant the seedlings back inside. Although this may seem like a brilliant way to save space, it could be a serious breach of contamination. If those seedlings harbor spider mites, you’ll wish they were disinfected appropriately. Because, by then, it will be too late.
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Getting Rid of Spider Mites From Your Plants
Now, let’s assume it’s not early enough for you to prevent the infestation. If that happens to be the case, then all hope isn’t lost.
As long as you can follow the tips listed below, we should be able to save most of your harvest.
In the future, try to maintain better sterilization protocols. That way, you won’t have to worry yourself to death again.
Never Bring Outdoor Plants Inside
Above all, if you decide to let the plants into the vegetative stage, then you should leave them outside for the rest of the season. Once they’ve entered this stage, spider mites are much more likely to decide they look like a tasty meal. At that point, you’ll be better off by letting them grow in the great outdoors. At least, you should still reap some of the harvests by the end of the season.
Outdoor Plants Might Harbor Mites:
The longer a plant grows outdoors, the more likely it is for them to become colonized by spider mites. Once spider mites decide to make a plant its home, it’s much more difficult to remove them than you think.
With enough ingenuity, it is possible.
However, in our opinion, it will always be better if you can prevent them from colonizing a plant in the first place.
Sterilize Your Grow Area
Assuming you transplant quickly, you’ll still need to sterilize your growing area. Even a sapling can contain a few spider mites if you are unlucky. As long as you disinfect everything, a couple of them should not do you much harm.
Nevertheless, being a little neglectful in this moment will come back to haunt you in the long run.
Never Let Pets Run Around:
Surely, you probably got a pet for two if you are a fan of growing cannabis. Besides, what could love you even more than a dog? From our experience, we don’t believe such a creature exists.
Still, it would be best if you did not let them inside of your growing area.
Otherwise, they may inadvertently bring some spider mites along with them for the journey. At that point, all your previous precautions will have been for nothing.
Terminating a Spider Mite Infestation
Hopefully, as long as you followed the advice, you’ll never get to this part of the guide. However, if something unfortunate happens, you are not out of luck.
Instead, check out the solutions listed below.
With them, it should be possible to bring all but the most virulent spider mite infestations under control.
Using a Hard Water Spray
Go to the nearest lawn care store, and pick up a can of hard water spray. Then, using the spray, coat the plants that have been infected with spider mites.
Hard water tends to clean the webbing off the leaves as well.
Plus, it removes the mites from the plants, leaving them to fall on the floor. Afterward, they will starve from a lack of nutrients.
Kills the Spider Mites Without Damaging the Plant:
By using this method, you can control spider mite infestations without harsh chemicals. That way, it doesn’t adversely affect the growth of your plants. Compared to other methods, you’ll be happy with how your plants take it.
Grab Your Vacuum Cleaner
After knocking the mites off your plant’s leaves, don’t just leave them sitting there. Instead, go and grab your vacuum cleaner. With the mites on the floor, suck up everything using your vacuum cleaner.
Clean the Dead Bodies, Remove Eggs, and Suck up the Live Ones:
In addition to the mites, you’ll also remove their eggs and webbing. When you are terminating such an infestation, you’ll want to be as thorough as possible.
Otherwise, even a few survivors can kickstart a brand-new colony. Then, you’ll have to go through the entire process again.
What Are the Dangers of Spider Mite Infestation?
Assuming the infestation continues unabated, some pretty nasty effects accumulate. What is the worst you can expect? Well, as long as you follow our advice, it should not ever come to this point.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. That way, if anything happens that is better than this, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Disruptions to Photosynthesis
Above all, spider mites destroy the plants by disrupting their ability to use photosynthesis. Since this is how plants produce food, the plants begin to die eventually. As the attacks continue undauntingly, you’ll begin to notice further effects.
First and foremost, if you notice that many of your plans are dead, it is probably too late for you to save them from the infestation.
Once the mites damage it sufficiently, plants can no longer support themselves with sugar metabolism.
Then, it’s only a matter of a few hours until they are no longer with us.
Before they pass from this world, the weaves on the plant will wilt most notably. If you start to see signs of wilting, then it’s imperative for you to take action immediately. Otherwise, you might be consigning your plants to an inadvertent fate.
Resistant Spider Mite Strains
Suppose you attempt cleansing the infestation. However, once you’ve finished the job, a few stragglers are still around. Afterward, those survivors rebuild a colony, rivaling the first.
Instead, this time, things are much different from the initial encounter.
As you try to terminate these spider mites, you notice they are much more difficult to kill. Since you are unsuccessful at first, these new spider mites are resistant now.
Over time, unless you terminate them completely, successive generations only grow in strength.
Alternative Methods to Treat Spider Mite Infestations
Now, we understand not everyone has the time necessary to contain spider mite infestations on their land. However, that’s still no excuse to let them disrupt your crops unmolested.
Consider a Ladybug Colony:
We suggest using a colony of ladybugs. These are among the most efficient natural predators in nature. If you’ve got a spider mite problem on your hand, they will more than likely take care of it for you with impudence.