April 6, 2017

Spider Mites and Marijuana Plants

April 6, 2017
Picture of spider mites on a marijuana plant. Find out how to prevent spider mites from destroying your cannabis today.

There is no shortage of lurking potential problems for those cultivating high-quality cannabis. Some problems are related to environmental conditions and variables controlled by the cultivator, while others emerge from external threats. Various pests and mold can penetrate the most pristine cultivation area and wreak havoc on a flourishing cannabis crop. Keep your eye out for spider mites on weed as they could be one of these problematic pests undermining your grow. 

What Are Spider Mites?

Spider mites aren’t actually insects– they are small arachnids, similar to spiders, ticks, and other forms of mites. They are distinguishable from other mites by the web they leave behind…on your cannabis plants. 

Spider mites can reproduce rapidly, enabling their population to skyrocket without much of an observable warning. One mite can literally lay millions of eggs over the span of 30 days, and it only takes 8-10 days for a new generation of mites to begin reproducing. Likely by the time you notice them on your cannabis plants, the spider mites have already become a serious problem. 

These pests feed on your cannabis plants for survival. They use their sharp mouthparts to essentially bite through plant cell walls to feed on the chlorophyll within. Spider mites can even maintain subsistence by feeding on dying cannabis plants. 

What Do Spider Mites Look Like on Pot Plants?

Discovering spider mites on cannabis early enough to provide an effective solution is difficult because their size prevents detection. Cannabis mites are extremely small, appearing as a tiny dot about the size of a pencil tip. Unless there are thousands, you probably won’t identify them if you don’t conduct frequent checks explicitly for them. Spider mites also make webs which can be seen with the naked eye. Look for stringy white webs and nests on the undersides of your cannabis plants’ leaves.

What Causes Spider Mites?

A better question would be, “Where do spider mites come from?” Marijuana spider mites are brought into a cultivation area from some outside source. Outdoor marijuana plants moved inside can introduce spider mites into an indoor grow. Pets and cultivators themselves can bring in spider mites from the outside as well. Warm temperatures and ventilation systems using outside air provide preferable conditions for spider mites inside your grow room, but this can be controlled by adding a filter and keeping temperatures low. 

Can Spider Mites Live without Plants?

There are various types of spider mites, and they all need plants for survival. Spider mites use sharp mouthparts to pierce plant cell walls and feed on chlorophyll. They actually suck the juices out of plant leaves, causing the leaves to spot and eventually wilt. If the spider mites don’t have accessible chlorophyll for consumption, they will surely perish.  

What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Spider Mites in My Grow Room?

Do ladybugs eat spider mites? Yes, ladybugs are predatory creatures that can effectively get rid of spider mites in your grow room. You can introduce them to your marijuana plants as soon as you notice a spider mites infestation. You can also use a hard water spray or a handheld vacuum cleaner to physically remove spider mites from your marijuana plants. If these methods aren’t successful, you can also purchase organic insecticides or insecticidal soaps from your local gardening store to treat your plants.

What Home Remedy Kills Spider Mites?

You can try mixing a tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of water which should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit and pH neutral to kill spider mites on your weed plants. Another potentially useful mixture includes alcohol and water, but make sure at least a third of this solution is water, otherwise you’re putting the plant at risk. Finally, a pepper spray with one part cayenne pepper, one part dishwashing soap without additives, and nine parts water can be applied to kill spider mites. 

Spider Mite Prevention: How to Prevent Spider Mites in Grow Rooms

  • Regularly clean your cultivation area, making sure to remove dead marijuana leaves.
  • Use organic compost.
  • Avoid bringing outdoor marijuana plants into indoor cultivation areas.
  • Make sure you are clean of spider mites if you enter the cultivation area after being outside.
  • Don’t allow pets into the cultivation area.
  • Keep temperatures low.
  • Add a filter to ventilation systems using outside air. 

Do Spider Mites Affect Buds?

Although spider mites on weed plants won’t directly eat buds, these weed mites can affect the growth of buds. Spider mites feed on weed plants and cause damage which may stunt plant growth and development, eventually resulting in lower bud yields. Spider mites might also infect areas surrounding the buds, which can affect the buds’ ability to develop properly. 

Can Plants Recover from Spider Mites?

Plants with spider mite damage to a few leaves will recover quickly, and without individualized care, but those with more substantial damage will require special attention. If you’re only dealing with a small infestation, cut out infected areas just beyond the spider mites’ webbing, seal the infected areas in a plastic bag, and discard it. If you’re dealing with larger infections on individual plants, consider destroying them to prevent the mites from spreading.  

Are Spider Mites Harmful to Humans?

While bird and rodent mites can carry harmful diseases, spider mites pose no direct threat to humans. They can be potentially devastating to your cannabis crop, but this is because they feed on chlorophyll. Spider mites do not carry diseases, nor will they bite human flesh in which they come in contact. 

Additional Readings on Cultivation

The Weed Blog is a comprehensive source to find reviews of specific top strains of cannabis and online news resources regarding the legalization of marijuana. We are committed to helping you find valuable information about cannabis on our website. With marijuana law constantly changing, learn about the latest legislation from our website and what you can do to help. Otherwise, consider these other top tier articles regarding cannabis cultivation:

How to Kill Spider Mites on Your Marijuana Plants

How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs on Marijuana Plants

How to unlock 99% of the THC and CBD Power in Your Cannabis

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