For any Cannabis grower, spider mites can turn out to be detrimental to cannabis plants. Just like any other plant, Cannabis plants are also susceptible to garden pests, which despite their size can have some truly devastating effects on the development and growth phase of plants.
Spider mites are one of the most common types of pests that affect cannabis plants and as you read on, you can learn about some ways you can implement to prevent them from coming back, including the use of supplemental lighting such as Dorm Grow LED grow lights, air regulation and more.
What are Spider Mites?
Among other common garden pests, spider mites generally make their home on the undersides of the plant leaves. This is where they spin silk protective webs to stay safe and guard themselves against other predators and elements. In size, they are less than 1 millimeter (about 0.04 inches), and their colors could vary from black to red.
Usually, these pests prefer dry, hot conditions and lay transparent eggs that hatch within a short time of three days. Their hatchlings become sexually mature within five days, where female mites may live up to 2 to 4 weeks, laying about twenty eggs in a day.
How to Find Signs of Spider Mites in Cannabis Plants
Commercial growers or indoor leisure growers would know that spider mites feed off cannabis plants and they tend to cause damage to the plant cells by puncturing them to feed. They often affect outdoor and indoor plants, wrecking havoc if not controlled within their initial infestation days. If you are an indoor cannabis grower and have no clue on what some of the initial signs of spider mite infection include, then know they create tiny spots or stippling on the leaves (caused by their feeding), and very thin, silk webs that surround the underside of the plant branches and leaves.
Some larger colonies may cause the yellowing of leaves, turn them limp and eventually die off. These colonies end up having a significant effect on cannabis plants, destroying their leaves, leading to stunted growth, and eventually result in lower yields. These mites also infect the surrounding areas of cannabis buds, which can affect their ability to mature and develop properly. A more than large colony can kill the cannabis plants entirely, although this is uncommon as growers detect them in time and take the right precautionary measures to stop their multiplying.
Tips on How to Control Spider Mites
It is advisable for most growers to avoid using chemical pesticides on spider mite colonies. In most cases, this only works to make the matter worse by killing other insects that prey on these mites. Another thing to note is that spider mites are notoriously good at developing a strong resistance to some common pesticides. It is best that you turn to some organic methods that you can read below, address any environmental factor first, and then continue by hosting down and pruning your plants.
Install LED Grow Lights
One of the best ways to thwart the increase of spider mite population in your indoor grow space is to install LED grow lights. Spider mites need hot and humid environments to thrive; this is when you can rely on these grow lights as effective tools to keep pests at bay due to their low heat output. These lighting solutions help to keep the room temperature in control and keep the grow area cool.
LED lights give off an adequate amount of light with their balanced spectrum, which never favors the increase of mites. These lights do not burn plants either, but due to their low heat output, there is less evaporation of water, so there will be less need to water plants (less humid environment).
Mounting evidence also suggests that blue LED light may inhibit spider mite growth. Some lights like HPS lamps radiate infrared heat, which dries out the environment and acts as a catalyst for the infestation in production. LED grow lights do not radiate IR heat; as such, they do not dry out the plants. Along with wavelength control and low heat production, this gives grow lights the upper hand to be a part of pest management programs.
Introduce Spider Mites to Other Insects
Insects such as lacewings, ladybugs, and predatory mites all prey on spider mites. Generally, these are available commercially and growers introduce these when mite’s populations are low to control their increase. By far, ladybugs are the most common insect’s growers use to counter spider mite infestation. Other insects that also help include minute pirate bugs, six-spotted thrips, big eyed bugs, and western flower thrips.
Horticultural and Essential Oils
When it comes to killing spider mites, there are also wide varieties of essential oils that help by attacking the central nervous system of spider mites. A common type of essential oil used to control spider mites is Neem oil. However, others include cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, lemon oil, rosemary oil, and eucalyptus oil.