Tips and tricks on taking care of your cannabis plants
In general, care and maintenance of cannabis plants are similar to taking care of regular plants.
Whether you are using photoperiod seeds, auto regulars, or autoflowering female cannabis seeds, your plants are equally susceptible to garden pests, which even though are miniscule in size, can have threatening effects on the capability to grow and develop. Continue reading this article for more information about spider mites and how you can avoid them.
What are Spider Mites?
Spider mites, belonging to the Acari family Tetranychidae, are famous from feeding to thousands of plant species. They usually can be found living on the underside of leaves where they produce silk webs and causes damage by puncturing plant cells that they feed on. They have sharp little mouths that pierce the plant cells and the suck out all the nutrients, which for our human eyes are interpreted by visible yellow, orange or white speckles.
Spider mites are common cannabis pests and more prone to grow when you use soil. Though they are less to grow when using hydroponics, it still can happen. A major difficult thing that cannabis growers have to deal with is detection. Because they are so small, the infestation has been boosted before growers get an idea. Some uneducated growers see the tell-tale white spots but think that they just equate to nutritional deficiencies, not realizing it is a disaster waiting to happen.
Why You Should Stay Away from Spider Mites
- Spider mites have extremely fast reproduction. – One single mature female mite can produce more than a million baby mites in a couple of weeks.
- Spider mites are almost always invisible. – Sometimes after treatment, it feels like you have permanently got rid of the mites, but they appear after a few days or weeks.
- Spider mites have huge appetites. – These parasites can eat your entire plant in a short amount of time, and they are known to be able to kill plants overnight.
- Their webbing is hard to dispose of. – These tiny insects can cover the cannabis leaves and buds will its silk-like webs that gave them their namesake. These webs can ruin your plants even after you have killed all the mites.
- Spider mites have dangerous resistance. – Spider mites can easily become immune to different pesticides and treatments. If you are unable to eradicate the entire population of spider mites, you can even make them “super mites” because of their immunity.
How to Get Rid of a Spider Mite Infection
- Kill every spider mite that you can find. Start using proven spider mite home remedies or organic repellents
a. Control the heat in your grow area. Spider mites cannot survive in the heat so that can control them from reproducing.
b. Have lots of air blowing over your plants.
c. Try spraying the spider mites off of your plants.
2. Follow up the treatment after two to three days with the first method, and then insert another method to ensure your kills.
3. Repeat the use of two methods again and extend the treatments to the entire growing area at least once to ensure the spider mites will be completely gone.
4. Once you have thoroughly cleaned your plants for mites, parasite-proof your area to protect them against future attacks.
How to Prevent Spider Mite Attacks
- The best spider mites remedy is prevention. Review your growing methods in the past because you might have been unintentionally doing something that attracted mites.
- You can purchase preventative products like organic sprays or repellent.
- The most important and organic insect prevention method is maintaining the cleanest grow room that you can.
- Be careful in bringing new plants or clones in your grow area as clones might have been previously exposed by their previous growers.
- Never move clones or plants that you have taken from the outside world without quarantining them first and having them undergo treatments.
- You can opt for growing autoflowering female cannabis seeds so you will never have to worry about clones with spider mites.
- Never allow dogs, cats, and other house pets into your grow space, as they might be parasite carriers.
- Maintain a great airflow in your growing room as well as proper temperature regulation with a moderate humidity balance.
- Try sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth on your soil and your grow area because it has properties that work against mites.
Some Countermeasures You Can Use to Protect Your Plants
- Essentria IC3 – This is an organic insecticide that is a mixture of horticultural oils that are safe even for humans. It is often marketed as a bed bug killer, but it is effectively used against spider mites. You only have to take note that the effect only lasts for 8 to 12 hours, so you might have to apply them daily.
2. Bleach solution – You can mix one tablespoon of bleach to a pH balanced water in a spray bottle then spray to your plants and your grow area.
3. Alcohol and water – You can mix together 9 parts of water to 1 part of alcohol to kill parasites and not hurt your plants.
4. SM-90 – Mixing one part of SM-90 to five parts of water can kill spider mites on contact. This is also organic and even smells good.
5. Neem oil – Taken from the seeds of a neem plant (Azadirachta indica) and works against spider mites upon contact. Neem oil doesn’t taste quite as nice as expected and leaves an unpleasant taste and smell to the buds.
6. Insect predators – Ladybugs and predatory mites can provide some control against the numbers of your spider mite population. This is most effective against small problems but not in full infestations.
7. Diatomaceous Earth – In simple terms, this is like fossil dust. You should just scatter the dust on the top of the soil and any other places in your room. This substance is harmless to animals and humans but it is incredibly sharp at the microscopic level.
Taking care of cannabis plants can come with some challenges, but there is no need to worry, as these problems come with solutions, too.