Garden pests are a pain and Cannabis certainly has no shortage of pests. So for today’s pest spotlight we’re going to discuss spider mites, a common pest you may find yourself dealing with in a Cannabis grow.
What are they?
Spider mites refer to several species of arachnids that live on the underside of leaves, feeding on the foliage and damaging the plants. In cannabis, spider mites can result in low yields and and in extreme cases, total plant death.
Editor’s Note: All mites are arachnids. That does not mean that you can see them with your naked eyes!
What to Look For
Spider mites are most often detected on the underside of leaves. Affected leaves can appear spotted or striped due to mite feeding with heavily impacted leaves turning yellow and dying completely. An additional sign is their eponymous webbing, a silk secretion left on the underside of leaves.
How to Treat/Prevent
The first line of defense against mites is diligent monitoring. If you find spider mites early, they can be removed before any real damage has occurred to your plant, or at least minimal damage. Additional controls include introducing predatory species such as the ladybug, the minute pirate bug, or even Phytoseiulus persimilis, another mite species that will kill the spider mites and leave your plants alone. There are many safe, organic pesticides available, as well as miticides, however, these miticides are often toxic, and we typically don’t recommend them for a consumable product such as Cannabis.
Editor’s Note: If you are able to see the webbing with your naked eye, you are too late in addressing the problem. By that point, the infestation will likely be so bad that the only way to correct the problem is to slash and burn any plant that appears infested.
Now you know your spider mite basics. Make sure to check out the rest of the articles in our Pest Spotlight series.
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About the Author
Chris DeWildt is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Western Kentucky University. He worked in education and publishing for ten years before joining the team at Growers Network.