While spider mites are prolific and annoying pests to all types of agriculture, they seem to be an especially big problem for cannabis growers – for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that most cannabis operations in the United States are indoors so they can be kept from public view. That means the spider mites that manage to make their way inside are pretty much free from natural predators. At that point the only thing between them and your plants is you.
Another reason spider mites and do so well with cannabis is that these plants are an excellent source of nutrition all the way around. But once the flowering stage begins, a feeding frenzy ensues with nutrients that can open the door to a spider mite explosion. And as any cannabis grower knows, if spider mites are still around during the flowering stage it will destroy the value of your plants entirely.
If you are diligent to inspect your plants on a daily basis you should be able to identify a spider mite infestation before flowering stage begins. This is the best time to catch it. If you can do so, eradicating spider mites becomes a two-step process. The first step is to mix a solution of water and horticulture soap, then turn your plants upside down and dip them in the solution, all the way to their base. This gives you 100% coverage and knocks almost all of the adult spider mites off the plants. It won’t do anything for the eggs, which is where step two comes in.
An organic miticide like Liquid Ladybug is a great product for this second step. Liquid ladybug uses a combination of essential oils to suffocate and kill spider mites on contact. Where eggs are concerned, they begin to crack a day or two before they completely hatch, leaving an open door for an organic miticide to seep in. All it takes is one crack in an egg shell for Liquid Ladybug to penetrate and kill the hatchling. Just remember that spider mites live on the undersides of plants leaves. In order to get the eggs you have to spray underneath.
If a spider mite infestation is discovered during flowering stage you have a bigger problem on your hands. You can’t dunk them in the soapy water like you can in the pre-flowering stage because you’ll kill the flowers. Fortunately, many organic miticides like Liquid Ladybug can be used all the way through flowering without any harm to your plants. The same can’t be said about most chemical miticides. If you’re going to use chemicals, be sure to read the instructions before applying them during flowering. If chemicals harm the flowers they could make the plants worthless.
Image Citation: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org