DIY-Eliminating Spider Mites On Buds At Time Of Harvest
Dealing With A Spider Mite Invasion On Cannabis
Seeing spider mites on your buds is what every cannabis grower dreads, and it is especially demoralizing when you notice your buds are invaded when you are ready to start drying your babies for consumption. It should go without saying that Spider mite infestation needs to be dealt with ASAP as these little bastards are deadly. So, prevention is the best way to stop this from happening. Also, if you are infested, you need to, pun intended, nip it in the bud and stop it before any more damage can occur.
That’s why this article will primarily deal with prevention and fixing a spider mite infestation. However, I will also go over methods for you to salvage your crops if you do see them when you are drying your cannabis buds to get them ready for smoking.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites, like their name suggests, are members of the arachnid family (”Spider”) and are not insects. Spider mites, live in colonies and are actually are related to ticks and scorpions. Some of these mites also form webs. The most common spider mite, and the one you will likely have to deal with, is the red spider mite or two-spotted spider mite. Other mites that you may deal with are tumid, Pacific, and Spruce. (Spruce primarily affects trees)
Spider mites rapidly reproduce. A female spider mite lives on average for only 30-days. Their breeding cycle though is quite ferocious. During those 30 days, a female spider mite produces around 100 eggs that will hatch in only three days. Spider mites will be able to breed at only five days. So, doing the math, even if a small percentage of those mites survive, a few spider mites can result in millions of these bastards sucking the life juices out of your prize crops. As a result of this voracious reproduction, a spider mite infestation be devastating and impossible to control if it gets out of hand.
Spider mites are like, miniature vampires, in that they suck the juices, out of a plant’s leaves, which cause them, at first, to have tiny spots that are, at first, hard to see. Later, the mites will cause plant leaves to be discolored. And, if ignored the plant leaves will turn yellow and in the final stages the leaves will fall out and the buds will become useless.
PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION
Prevention is the best way for you to stop an infestation or limit its damage to your plants. Luckily, the prevention of spider mites isn’t that hard. Many of the preventive steps are essentially common sense. Additionally, depending upon the size of your crops, it will not take the average person to much time to perform the below practices. Even if it does take you a long time, you need to do the following steps to make sure your time and
- Consider Hydroponics-Spider mites can thrive outdoors, indoors and they show up more when soil is used as a growing medium. They can also show up when you are growing via hydroponics. However, hydroponics will reduce the chance of infestation. So, if you are having problems, you may want to explore hydroponic gardening.
- Inspect Your Plants– It is essential that you regularly inspect your cannabis leaves for any spider mites invasion sign. All you have to do is look at both sides of the cannabis leaf for any damages that could have been caused by spider mites or if you are lucky, you may see actual spider mites, and then you can know exactly how to proceed.
- Proper Grow Room Environment-Spider mites tend to appear more during dry spells. With indoor growing, you can control your growing environment. So, you do not have to worry about dry spells. As a result, you need to make sure your grow area has the optimum humidity, temperature, enough water, proper movement, etc.
- No Outside Plants– Best practice means that you should not put any outside plants in your grow room. If you must though, all pants should be kept separate from your main grow area or room for at least two weeks.
- Keep Grow Area Clean-Keeping a clean grow room will not only work to prevent spider mites, but it will also help prevent other problems occurring. First of all, remove all dead leaves ASAP from your grow room. Also, you need to make sure that any person who walks into the grow room is clean and free of any outside insects, like spider mites. So, if you were doing manual labor outside in the yard, you should change before entering your growing area.
How To Get Rid of Spider Mites
As I said earlier, spider mites breed voraciously. So, if you do have an infestation problem you need to deal with the problem and don’t procrastinate. There are several ways to fix the problem without having to use insecticides. I would first recommend that unless your problem is severe that you try these simple and organic pest control methods first.
Gardening Tools Needed
For a larger garden, I would purchase a garden pump sprayer:
For a smaller growing setup, this will likely do:
Also, I would keep separate bottles for using toxic insecticides and non-toxic DIY solutions.
Simple, DIY, Methods To Eliminate Spider Mites On Plants
● Lady Bugs- Ladybugs are the mortal enemies of spider mites as a group of them can eliminate an infestation in no time. The main problem with using bugs, for outdoor growing, is that the bugs may not stay in your yard. However, with indoor grow space this isn’t a problem as the ladybugs cannot travel, which means they will stay in your grow area until you are able to get rid of the spider mites.
● Spray-Hosing your plants with a forceful spray of water will kill and remove the mites off of your plants.
● Vacuum-Using a handheld vacuum cleaner at low power to suck the spider mites and other insects right off your plants.
● Neem Oil-Neem oil is an organic substance from a neem tree that can kill mites and also prevent a new infestation from occurring.
DIY, Safe, Insecticides
The following recipes are simple and require everyday items and all you need to do is place them in a spray bottle and start spraying.
● A bleach-A simple recipe that all you have to do is add one tbsp of bleach to a gallon of pH balanced water. (Water needs to be 95 degrees)
● Alcohol-Mix water and alcohol. To ensure your plants are not harmed you need to make sure the solution does not contain more than 30% alcohol.
Insecticide (Last Resort)
Chemical insecticides should be avoided as they may kill off beneficial insects that feed on these mites and the long term consequence of certain pesticides is unknown. However, if if you have a severe problem and your cannabis plants are ready to harvest insecticide may be appropriate. There are several, commercial, insecticides that will eliminate spider mites and other pests from your garden. Some of the more popular are the following:
How to Remove Spider Mites From Buds During Harvest
Unfortunately, if you have a problem during harvest, it may be too late. At the final stages of infestation, your cannabis plant and buds will be covered in cobwebs. When this occurs, your options are limited as the affected plant and buds may not be salvageable.
For example, In some instances, a mite will turn cannabis buds into dust and make it unusable. So, assuming that your buds are not that badly affected, you can either spray them with the DIY pesticide recipes that I showed earlier or use a neem oil mixture. Additionally, I have not tried this out myself, but some growers hang the buds upside down (I have not had a chance to try this and the source is from a forum; so, you may want to experiment with a small plant or so, at first) during drying and the spider mites may eventually fall off and die after they run out of food.
If there is one thing that you get out of this article, that thing should be prevention. Preventing spider mites and all other pests is your number one priority The preventive steps are quite easy to follow: Don’t bring plants from outside, keep your grow are clean, and check out your fan leaves constantly for infestation, etc. Also, spider mites breed like crazy. So, fixing the problem ASAP is the key if you do have an infestation. If you follow these above steps you should greatly reduce the chance of your crops being ruined by spider mites or other common pests.
Spider Mite FAQ
These questions were addressed above. But, for your convenience, I’ve included the most commonly asked questions concerning Spider Mite Control.
Do spider mites eat buds? No, they suck the juices out of the leaves. However, if mites destroy a cannabis plant’s leaves; the bud will eventually die.
How do you get rid of spider mites when harvesting? Spray them with a DIY, alcohol/water mix, or a bleach mix. (Recipe is shown earlier) Alternatively, depending on how bad it is; hanging up the cannabis plant upside down while drying may cause the mites to fall off when they eventually run out of food.
Does neem kill spider mites? Neem can kill spider mites on a cannabis plant. However, it tends to work better in preventing an infestation.