Yep, you guessed it…spider mites. The most horrifying of all. The deadliest, stubborn pests that never leave once they find their way in. Once they invade the plants, there’s no way to get rid of them unless you’re super determined and match their vigor to counter-attack them. If you’re a victim of spider mites and have lost your precious buds, read on to know how to fight them.
Try to use these methods when your autoflowers are still in the vegetative stage since it’s extremely difficult to get rid of mites in the flowering stage. Mites don’t distinguish between photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis strains – they treat them equally. So, whether it’s a photoperiod or autoflowering strain, the damage should be controlled before the plant begins to flower.
Rubbing alcohol – Not exactly organic, but rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol mixed with water can help. Prepare a 50:50 solution of alcohol: water and spray. Some growers use the alcohol directly without diluting it but that might do a number on the plants. Alcohol tends to evaporate pretty quickly so the plants are pretty safe.
Scrutinize the leaves – Spider mites suck the plant’s sap. They leave small teeth marks that are tough to be seen, but you can use a microscope or a simple jeweler’s loupe to identify the damage. The leaves turn yellow, making it seem like a nutrient deficiency rather than a pest attack, but if you look carefully and see webs, then it’s none other than your friendly neighborhood spider mite paying you a visit.
Most spider mites come from gardens, so change clothes if you’re entering your grow room. It may seem like much, but it’s better to prevent them rather than tearing your hair later. Try not to touch clones or plants infested with spider mites since they may hitch a ride to your grow room.
Typically found on the underside of leaves, they spin webs all over the buds and leaves, making it impossible to save the plants. The webs are meant to protect themselves and their eggs from other natural predators, but the buds are rendered totally useless at the end of it all. As most growers prefer growing indoors, spider mites already have an advantage where you can’t spray anything with abandon.
Here’s a video detailing the life cycle of a spider mite:
For beginners, it’s pretty tough to identify spider mites mostly because they are so tiny. The best way to avoid spider mites is by preventing them. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so keep an eye out for spider mites since it’s easy to get rid of them at the very beginning. Once they build an entire colony, though, your worst nightmares will come true. Therefore, the first step is to detect them early.
General Hydroponics Azamax – Safe and natural to use, growers swear by Azamax. The best part is that it doesn’t hurt the plants or roots but only targets gnarly mites, fungus gnats, aphids, thrips, and several other pests. Spray the leaves, stems and every part of the plant including the soil to kill the eggs. Repeat the process every other day even if the mites are gone because they usually come back stronger.
If there’s anything a cannabis grower is terrified of, it’s the myriad of pests that attack the plants. And talking of pests, most of them are easy
- From another marijuana garden
- Clones were infested with spider mites
- Tracked spider mites in from another marijuana garden
- Any time the spider mites were living on another marijuana plant before they got to your plants
If you already have an infestation, you will immediately want to start hitting them hard with something that will kill them on contact (several options are listed below). But….
These specialized spider mites are incredibly developed at living on marijuana plants, and may already be immune to many common spider mite remedies.
Maintain a Great Growing Environment
- Collect any dead leaves or other plant matter regularly and remove them from your growing space. It doesn’t count if you put them in a neat pile or trash can in the corner, you need to keep 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.
- No dogs, cats, rabbits or any other pets in your grow space. In addition to shedding and possibly bringing in bugs, some cats will happily chew on your leaves and buds, so double reason not to let them anywhere near your plants!
- Wipe up and sterilize everything in between grows.
Chances are you’ll be able to successfully use one of the less harsh home remedies to stop your infestation.
If it’s possible for you to bring your plants outside or somewhere safe, you might even consider spraying off as many spider mites as you can, to get their numbers down before you start your main treatments.
One of the cool things about growing with seeds is you never have to worry that they come with bugs!
Although these guys are annoying as well, they almost seem nice compared to their cannabis-specialized counterparts.
Spider mites are a common cannabis pest that can be very difficult to get rid of. Learn how to spot and treat at the first signs of these nasty pests.