What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are members of the mite family, which includes about 1,200 species, and attack hundreds of species of plants. The best known member of the group is Tetranychus urticae, which is usually found in cosmopolitan areas. Spider mites attack a wide range of plants, including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, corn, strawberries, and cannabis.
Spider mites generally live on the undersides of leaves of plants, where they may spin protective silk webs; they have tiny teeth and extract chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis in all plant life; they cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed. Spider mites are perhaps the most damaging invaders to hit your cannabis plants and can damage an entire crop of cannabis, as plants can become quite infested, mites difficult to see, and webs and eggs difficult to remove.
Spider Mite Damage and How to Tell if You Have Spider Mites
If there are white connections between leaves, chances are your plant has spider mites.
Spider mites eggs hatch within 3 days, and a spider mite can become sexually mature in a only 5 days, meaning they reproduce at a rapid rate, and infestation can become uncontrollable. A mature female can produce millions of offspring within a month’s time.
Prevention and Removal
Organic compost and mulch added to the planting site deters Spider mites from invading cannabis plants by encouraging the presence of predatory mites which feed on the destructive spider mites. Predatory mites including Phytoseiulus persimilis eat adult mites, their eggs, and all developmental stages between.
Ladybugs also feed on spider mites. They can be purchased online, but will more than likely fly away once they no longer have a food source available to them. You may see the sudden appearance of ladybugs if spider mites are present and can save yourself the trouble of purchasing them.
If, in spite of taking preventative measures, you still see evidence of spider mites, spray cannabis plants with a hard water spray three mornings in a row. The water pressure will remove the bugs and their protective webs from the leaves, causing them to fall to the ground and debilitate movement. They will no longer be able to reach the leaves and will die from starvation. Always keep in mind watering outdoor marijuana plants. How to/when to/how often/how much.
Another organic solution to spider mites feasting on your cannabis plants is to take small vacuum and suck spider mites off the leaves. This may be labor intensive, but will remove the spider mites. When finished, empty the contents of the vacuum into a plastic bag and freeze. Spider mites thrive in high temperatures and will die from the cold.
In some cases, the application of Harpin Alpha Beta protein may help in the treatment and prevention of infestation by stimulating the plant’s natural defenses, restoring sap sugar levels and encouraging replacement of damaged tissues.
Since infestations are more common outdoors, things to consider are best place/spots/location to grow marijuana outdoors. Many growers like growing indoors for control, but there are also advantages growing marijuana outdoors. Whether you grow indoors or outdoors, pick the best marijuana seeds for hot climates/cool climates/warm weather/cold weather.
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