Spider Mites on Cannabis: Identification and Cure
Do you see webs on the buds of your flowering plants? Is there microscopic movement across the foliage? You might be dealing with spider mites on weed.
Like most marijuana pests and bugs, these crawlers consider the crop a delight. Their activity damages the leaves and significantly reduces harvest size and quality.
Read on for a complete guide on this mini menace. We discuss ways to recognize, remove, and prevent spider mites in weed gardens.
What are spider mites, and what do they look like?
Spider mites are cannabis pests from the Tetranychidae family, related to mites, spiders, ticks, and scorpions. They’re common in North America, living in colonies beneath plant leaves in indoor and outdoor environments.
These crawlers enjoy dry climates. They mainly appear during fall and winter when people start heating their homes. They’re not entirely inactive during any part of the year, though.
Marijuana spider mites appear in all gardens but are most frequent in indoor soil. They pose a significant danger to crops because of their minuscule size. An entire colony could develop before you catch a single specimen on your weed flowers.
With a length of 0.01–0.03 in (0.25–0.8 mm), most species are hardly visible without a magnifying glass.
Common mites on weed have eight legs and spotty eyes. They’re oval and covered with bristles, sporting a sucking mouthpiece on the front. The color varies between species, seasons, and host plants. You usually see orange, red, and brown specimens.
These creatures love dry weather and reproduce quickly in the right conditions. A single female may lay hundreds of eggs beneath plant leaves.
Eggs need only several days to become fertile adults, propagating the colony of mites on cannabis.
Several species attack household plants, but in the case of cannabis, you’re most likely to see two-spotted spider mites. Known as cosmopolitan pests, they’re common in cities and consume over three hundred different crops.
What does spider mite damage look like?
Due to their size, spider mites on pot plants are often noticeable only after they attack the crop. Two main signs of their existence are spotted leaves and silky webs.
The damage starts discreetly, with tiny orange, yellow, and white spots on fan leaves. Cultivators often believe they’re dealing with a nutrient deficiency at first.
Like mealybugs on cannabis, spider mites suck the water and nutrients out of the leaves. The foliage becomes dry and weak, quickly losing its healthy greenery.
Symptoms start with specks, but they don’t end there. Like a spider on weed, this pest produces silk webbing on buds and stems if allowed to linger and feed.
It’s rare to see spider mites on buds, but they can wrap the entire internode into the web.
These symptoms result in weak, dry leaves incapable of performing photosynthesis. The consequences range from smaller yields to dead plants, depending on the attack time and severity.
How do you avoid the worst-case scenario? Let’s discuss solutions.
How to get rid of spider mites on weed
Spider mites on cannabis are quick to reproduce and take over the plant. They also become resistant to standard removal methods after a bit of exposure. As a result, act quickly and combine several strategies.
Another vital factor is to get rid of the entire colony at once. Otherwise, the lingering specimens are soon immune to your previous methods and ready to continue breeding.
To ensure you’re as efficient as possible, apply these techniques of cannabis mite control to reduce their numbers:
- Reduce the heat: Keep your grow room at the minimal acceptable temperature for cannabis plants.
- Increase the ventilation: Use powerful fans to make it harder for mites to reproduce. Ensure the breeze is hitting the canopy and the soil surface.
- Raise the humidity: Regular foliar feedings and high RH make mites want to escape the suddenly moist area.
Once you’ve weakened the spider mites on marijuana, it’s time for the killer blow. Get a mister and spray your crops with a specialized pesticide. If you’re uncomfortable using artificial chemicals, the following solutions offer effective alternatives:
- Alcohol and water kill bugs on contact.
- Canola oil and water are organic, sweet-smelling, and fatal for mites.
- Neem oil and water keep your plants organically safe and free of pests.
Continue applying the solution every other day for two weeks to ensure the infestation is gone.
Remember when we mentioned a variety of tactics for killing spider mites on weed plants? These sprays and climate control methods discourage and remove the pest, but they can return if you don’t introduce additional protections.
Wipe surrounding surfaces with bleach or treat the entire room with pesticides. That way, the mites can’t withdraw and return as soon as the solution wears off.
These two methods can also discourage a further spread:
- Insect predators: Ladybugs and predatory mites are certified spider mite killers. As a bonus, they also hunt whiteflies.
- Diatomaceous earth: This dust is super-sharp on a microscopic level, tearing and dehydrating the pest. Sprinkle it on top of the soil to discourage an infestation of mites on marijuana.
How to prevent spider mites on weed plants
Spider mites aren’t the end of the world, but prevention is always better than cure. What can you do to nip the issue in the bud?
If you’ve recently faced an infestation, there might be something you’re doing that’s attracting the crawlers. Let’s explore ways to deter spider mites from indoor and outdoor spaces.
When using indoor marijuana seeds, keep your grow room clean and well-sealed. Many cultivators unintentionally bring in the pest by introducing infested clones into their gardens. After all, it only takes a few eggs to launch a full-fledged invasion.
These hygienic protocols prevent mites on weed plants:
- Quarantine new crops or clones for a week
- Use a microscope to inspect each new plant for mite eggs
- Never enter the garden directly after spending time outdoors
- Shower and change clothes after visiting another cultivator
The grow room climate should also be unfriendly to mites. They like hot, dry weather and stagnant air, which isn’t beneficial to you or your plants. Make your space comfortable with moderate temperatures, humidity levels, and excellent ventilation.
Besides these prevention techniques, keep your grow area clean. Collect plant matter from the floor, don’t let pets in, and wipe and sterilize between grows. Mites thrive indoors, but they’re not native to homes, so the key is not to let them in!
When sowing outdoor marijuana seeds, manipulate your garden to make it unwelcoming to mites. Don’t skip inspecting new crops and clones before bringing them close to existing ones. The same goes for companion plants, as this pest attacks multiple types of flora.
Outdoor environments already contain a population of predatory insects. It’s excellent gardening practice not to eradicate the native animal life, especially since many kill mites on weed. If tackling another infestation, use narrow-spectrum pesticides to avoid reducing biodiversity.
Treat the soil with diatomaceous earth and weed nutrients. Spider mites thrive in old and dry ground, and fertilization can make the environment unsuitable for their development. Sow in a ventilated and shaded area for natural climate control.
FAQs about spider mites
Do you have any additional inquiries about weed and spider mites? Below are common questions and our expert answers.
What happens if you smoke weed with spider mites?
These pests could go unnoticed on buds at the time of harvest. What happens if you dry and cure infested flowers? Is it bad to smoke spider mites? Unfortunately, consuming infested pot could be a health hazard.
You’d be inhaling mold from mite webs and their bodily fluids. These substances aren’t lethal but could make you feel sick, so you’re better off avoiding them.
Do spider mites eat trichomes?
Weed mites mainly munch on the foliage, damaging the crop’s structural integrity. While they don’t feed on the trichomes, they could reduce the aroma and potency by stressing the plant. The buds usually end up small, shriveled, and faint-smelling.
How can I detect spider mites at early stages?
Bronze and yellow leaf spots are the first sign of spider mites on cannabis plants. You might also see webbing on the foliage and stems before the situation gets dangerous.
How to get rid of spider mites during late cannabis flowering?
Marijuana mites may attack in late flowering. In that case, immediately quarantine the plant to stop the spread. Then you should remove all affected leaves and treat the rest with pesticides. Put the foliage in a sealed bag before disposing of it.