Like many other plants, marijuana is vulnerable to garden pests.
Despite this small size, these garden pests can be detrimental to your weed’s growth and development.
Spider mites are one of the most common pests you will ever find on a cannabis plant. They are related to the spider family and can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
So how exactly do you get rid of spider mites on your weed plant?
The short and most obvious answer is, you kill them! You can do this in a number of ways, such as controlling the heat and spraying them insecticides.
In the guide below, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the various ways in which you can get rid of spider mites on your cannabis plant.
Table of contents
- What Exactly Are The Spider Mites?
- What Causes Spider Mites?
- How To Prevent Spider Mites?
- Why Is Cannabis Prone To Spider Mites?
- How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
- How To Get Rid Of Spider Mite: And Keep Them Gone
- Related Questions
What Exactly Are The Spider Mites?
Spider mites are basically a part of the spider and tick family. They are one of the most common pests that you will find on cannabis plants.
In most cases, in your marijuana plant stops thriving, you immediately think that it’s possibly due to soil imbalance or low water levels.
However, certain bugs namely, spider mites may be to blame.
While aphids and weevils are pretty common on agricultural plants, spider mites are more commonly found in homes and gardens.
Spider mites are more related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions as opposed to other insects.
These pests can tend to be a big problem since the average lifespan of an adult female is 30 days and they can reproduce approximately 100 eggs during their lifetime.
In fact, spider mites complete their development in just a few days and then at being read to reproduce.
They are a few different species of spider mites and they come in all different sizes and colors.
It’s often hard to identify them with the naked eye since they are practically microscopic.
To give you an idea of size, a spider mite is more or less the size of a period at the end of a sentence.
Indoor Vs Outdoor
Spider mites are found on both indoor and outdoor gardens. The damage caused by these pests appears as brown or yellow spots on the leaves.
Plants that are severely infested stop growing, and eventually, the entire leave will turn yellow and stop growing.
If you notice yellowish patches on the plant, it probably is a spider mite infestation.
Since mites are related to spiders, they also have the ability to produce cobwebs.
The cobwebs help to protect them and also protect their eggs. Ultimately these pests affect the yield of the plants so they must be eliminated.
Over the last few years, due to cannabis cultivation, the spider mites population has increased incredibly.
These mites don’t do well in the wintertime and usually die off during this season.
However, due to the increase in the popularity of indoor marijuana gardens and greenhouses, the spider mite can last up to a year in just one place.
They remain active throughout the year thanks to these indoor marijuana gardens, it is imperative that you know how to identify and treat spider mite infestation.
Spider mites are also active outdoors but more in the springtime, and become dormant over the winter.
Do Spider Mites Live In Soil?
Spider mites are arthropods that means that they can live on plants and in the soil.
What they basically do is feed and digest the residue from plants, then burrow through the soil and place their waste into the soil, which then ultimately leads to fungi and bacteria that improve the condition of the soil.
They’re the most active during the warmer months and can mature from eggs to active adults within a few days.
Mites can actually multiply excessively in the soil during the hot and humid conditions.
Because they thrive in the soil, getting rid of them is a long-term process and involves rebalancing the population ratio of insects to spider mites and using various biological control methods.
What Causes Spider Mites?
Spider mites are tiny pests, and in fact, they are virtually microscopic.
You may even be carrying them around into your garden, or your grow room and not even know it.
They can catch a ride on your clothes, your skin, or your shoes. Your cat or dog might even have mites on them, as well.
However, the most common source of spider mites is actually live plants.
So you might want to quarantine plants, even the ones that you purchase from garden centers or the ones that you are gifted.
A few weeks before putting them exactly where you want them, keep them separately from the rest of your plants in your home.
This is one sure way to catch the pests before they make it into your existing plants.
Getting rid of the spider mites may take some time; however, it’s not impossible.
Your plants will be healthier and thrive once you get rid of the spider mites.
What Are The Initial Signs Of Spiders On Your Plant?
Once your plants are infested with spider mites, you first notice yellow or brown spots on the leaves.
You may even notice that these spots start to grow bigger over time and may eventually cover the entire leaf.
Once it covers the entire leaf, you know that the infestation is really bad and in cases such as these, the leaf will eventually stop growing and die.
How To Recognize Spider Mites?
You probably heard of spider mites; however, most people have never seen one and would not even know how to identify it if they saw it.
The truth is, spider mites are practically invisible to the naked eye.
They looked more like periods at the end of the sentence and that’s the actual size of the spider mite.
However, the damage that they do is easy to spot. Once a plant is infested with spider mites, white spots will be visible on the top side of the leaves.
However, if you look underneath the leaves, you will find spider mites present.
So it’s highly likely that you will discover the damage before you discovered spider mites by examining the leaves.
If you detect them early on, you can control them easier.
If you view them under a magnifying glass, you’ll find that they are oval in shape, pale green in color, slightly prickly, and develop dark green spots as they mature.
How To Prevent Spider Mites?
Spider mites are one at the worst pests that you will probably find on your marijuana plants.
Thankfully, there are ways in which you can prevent spider mites from transferring onto your cannabis plants and here are some of them.
Steps For Preventing Spider Mites
Indoor Spider Mite Prevention
The best remedy for spider mites is prevention.
If you’ve experienced a spider mite infestation in your marijuana garden previously, then you may be doing something to attract them unknowingly.
Various sprays are available on the market that makes your marijuana plants less tasty to these annoying mites.
However, they should only be used in addition to good gardening practices.
The most important part of keeping spider mites out of your marijuana garden is keeping it clean and secure.
In some cases, you may bring in spider mites unknowingly.
Spider mites can be brought in from cannabis clones that are infected, or you could transfer it by visiting another grower whos garden is infested with spider mites.
All you need is to transfer just a few eggs from a clone or a few spider mites from your clothing to start a full-fledged infestation.
This is probably the most common way that spider mite infestations start,
Another important step to remember is to treat and quarantine all plants brought in from the outdoors before moving them indoors.
Keeping your grow space clean is absolutely imperative to keep these bugs away from your precious cannabis plants.
Regularly clean up dead plant matter and remove them completely from the grow room.
Also, make sure that anyone who comes into contact with your marijuana garden is clean, and you should not allow anyone to walk into your grow room directly from the outside.
If you know that this person has visited another grow room recently, they should not be visiting yours just in case they pass on these spider mites to your marijuana plants.
Also, keep pets away. They shed and can bring in bugs. Cats also have a tendency to chew on leaves and buds.
Wipe and sanitize everything in your grow re regularly.
Maintain an excellent growing environment. Spider mites enjoy certain environments and will die off in other conditions.
However, the conditions that are good for your marijuana plants are not great for spider mites.
They don’t enjoy airflow and thrive in stagnant air. So if there are lots of air movement in your grow room, it would kill them.
They also enjoy hot and humid conditions, so keep your room temperature comfy and ensure that humidity is moderate to slow down spider mite infestation.
Outdoor Spider Mite Prevention
If you know that your outdoor garden is infested with spider mites, then never transfer those plants to your indoor garden immediately.
If you purchase a new cannabis plant or clone, use a hand on the microscope to check for spider mites and other bugs.
Remember that spider mites appear as tiny spots and ensure that you check underneath leaves for eggs as well.
New clones and plants should be dipped into room temperature water treated with a sanitizing solution such as Mighty wash or Safer soap.
You can also spray your garden with a proven spider mite cure.
New plants should always be kept separately for at least a week until you are sure that there are no spider mites present.
Change your clothing; if you’ve recently visited another cannabis grower’s garden. Do this before checking in on your own plants.
Ensure that you don’t kill the good insects in your garden. Ladybugs are helpful in getting rid of pests, including spider mites.
Insecticide sprays should be used only if you absolutely need them and try to use specific pesticides that target certain types of pests and not the good ones.
Ensure that your plants also have a good outdoor growing environment.
They should have groundcover and ensure that your plants are growing in an area that gets lots of wind, and not too much heat.
Why Is Cannabis Prone To Spider Mites?
All plants are susceptible to pests.
However, when it comes to marijuana gardens, they are especially susceptible to spider mites.
Spider mite infestations usually start during the vegetative growth stage, and your marijuana plants will be susceptible to spider mite infestation based on their environment and fertilization.
There is no one wrong move that you can make when it comes to spider mites infesting your cannabis plants.
However, there are a number of reasons for spider mites transferring onto your growing marijuana plants.
The good news is that you can get rid of them by following a few easy tips.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
There are a number of natural remedies as well as chemical solutions that you can use to get rid of a spider mite infestation in your marijuana garden.
Spider mites may be resistant to chemical solutions such as pesticides.
However, natural remedies are available, and one of the best ways to rid your plants of spider mites is by mixing one part water with one part rubbing alcohol and spraying the leaves.
This is one of the best remedies to use on plants because while the alcohol kills the mites, it doesn’t harm your plants.
Another solution is to use liquid dish soap. The dish soap kills the mites and will not harm your plants as well.
Neem oil is another natural remedy that can be used to kill mites without harming the good insects.
You can use it on your marijuana garden as far well as the vegetables and fruit trees too. Neem oil can be mixed with dish soap for even better results.
Garlic is also a very effective retardant for spider mite and various other pests.
In order to make a solution, you need to soak whole garlic cloves in water for a couple of days or blend them and then strain through a fine-mesh sprayer.
Spray your cannabis plants monthly with this garlic solution, and it will prevent spider mites and other pests as well.
While this treatment is effective, it’s more effective when the spider mites are in their smaller numbers or when your garden is in the early stages of infestation.
This is not something that you may have thought possible; however, you can also try and vacuum your plant’s leaves.
This will remove spider mites as well as their eggs. You’ll need a small-mouthed vacuum hose, and you need to be gentle, so you don’t damage or break off the leaves.
Alternatively, a gentler approach is to run your fingers over the leaves in order to rub off the mites and eggs literally.
This treatment should be repeated a few times; it’s also very time-consuming but incredibly effective realistically though, it’s practical for small plants only.
You can prevent future infestations by dusting your plants with diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insecticidal product. It is made from fossilized remains of sea creatures that are microscopic.
This is basically a fine powder that you sprinkle on your plants, and it forms a white coat.
It works because it has incredibly sharp microscopic edges on its particles.
So it slices through the protective layer on the mites’ outer shells and causes them to dehydrate.
They are a number of chemical solutions, sprays, and concentrates that can be used; however, spider mites are not actual insects and, therefore, may not be controlled with your traditional insecticides.
So check the pesticide label to see if spider mites are on the list of pests that it kills.
However, spider mites seem to be susceptible to horticultural oils, soaps, insecticidal soaps, and neem oil.
Sulfur-based sprays are also quite effective in removing spider bites.
They can be applied during the summer months when it is hot and spider mites at thriving.
You will need to treat the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves with these chemical solutions.
Insecticidal soap is a chemical that kills spider mites without harming other insects.
Although this insecticidal soap will not kill spider mite eggs, it will need to be applied every week to reduce the spider mite population.
There are no residual effects such as risks to pollinators, and it won’t kill other insects.
Should You Change Your Soil After You Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
The dead organic matter contained in the soil is the ideal breeding ground for spider mites.
Therefore it makes sense that if you remove the plant, you should throw away that soil. If the plant is infected then so is the soil.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Mite: And Keep Them Gone
When it comes to spider mites infestations, prevention is the best weapon.
These are so common, yet they are so detrimental to the good health of your cannabis plants and the quality of your yield.
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your soil or medium is completely free of this pest.
You can try adding fresh organic compost and mulch to your soil, and this will introduce predatory mites that will get rid of your spider mites.
Ladybugs are also predatory mites that are good for your marijuana garden.
So ensure that insecticides and chemical solutions that you use will not harm this good insect which is beneficial for your cannabis garden.
Also, ensure that you regularly spray your leaves with water and keep the leaves wet as much as possible, as this helps prevent infestation.
Spider mites prefer a dusty and dry environment, so if your leaves are moist, then they will not want to latch onto them.
Are Spider Mites Bad For Your Plants?
Yes, they feed on your plants’ chlorophyll and are detrimental to your plants in good health.
Can You Kill Spider Mites?
Yes, you can use a number of natural and chemical solutions to rid your plants of spider mites.
How Can I Prevent The Re-infestation Of Spider Mites?
You can keep your leaves moist at all times, keep humidity levels low and increase the supply of fresh air or wind to your plants.