Spider mites are perhaps the most damaging invaders to hit your marijuana plants. Considered arachnids rather than insects, spider mites have eight legs and no antennae. They are minutely and extremely hard to see with the naked eye. Spider mites typically make their homes on the underside of leaves and will spin a silky web as a means of protecting their colony and eggs from predators.
If you see fine white connections between leaves, chances are you have spider mites.
Eggs hatch within three days with the spider mite becoming sexually mature in a mere five days. This means they can reproduce at a rapid rate, thus causing major damage to your crop. Spider mites have little ‘teeth’ with which they can puncture a single plant cell and extract chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis in all plant life. Because they reproduce rapidly, spider mites have the potential of causing major damage to your marijuana plants. A mature female can produce literally millions of offspring within a month’s time. Astonishing that something so small can be so detrimental and in such massive numbers!
Uncontrolled spider mite infestation can cause major crop damage and/or failure. By following the planting practices mentioned above, you can deter the infestation of spider mites. Organic compost and mulch added to the planting site deters these microscopic warriors from invading your marijuana plants by encouraging the presence of predatory mites which feed on the destructive spider mites. Ladybugs also feed on spider mites. They can be purchased online, but will more than likely fly away once they no longer have a food source available to them. You may see the sudden appearance of ladybugs if spider mites are present and can save yourself the trouble of purchasing them. Mother Nature works that way!
If, in spite of taking preventative measures, you still see evidence of spider mites, hit your cannabis with a hard water spray three mornings in a row. The water pressure will remove the bugs and their protective webs from the leaves, causing them to fall to the ground and debilitating their movement. They will no longer be able to reach the leaves and will die from starvation.
Another organic solution to spider mites feasting on your marijuana plants is to take a hand held vacuum and suck them off the leaves. This will take some time, but will remove the damaging pests. When finished, empty the contents of the vacuum into a plastic bag and freeze. Spider mites thrive in high temperatures, thus will die from the cold. Discard the bag on garbage day.
Want to know more about growing marijuana? Check out the FREE book Marijuana Plant Care for more information!