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Treatment for Broad Mites on Cannabis Plants

broad mites on cannabis plant
Posted by: Samuel Thomasino Category: Plant Problems Comments: 0

Treatment for Broad Mites on Cannabis Plants

Broad mites are common cannabis attackers. They thrive on juice and nutrients from the crop while inflicting damage to plants in the process. Like scale insects, broad mites enjoy stems and leaf sides and can quickly spread to other plants.

They are small in size, hard to see, and can cause great harm to agriculture, though there are ways to combat these unwelcomed garden creatures. These common cannabis pests are easy to rid as effective removal solutions designed specifically for this bug species are available to growers.

What are Broad Mites & Russet Mites

Broad and russet mites cause trouble for cultivators as their small sizes make them hard to spot early enough to prevent damage.

Broad mites have four life stages, russet mites have two, and each has an average life span of eight to fifteen days, varying on environmental conditions. The hotter the climate the quicker they breed and die but not before laying up to five eggs per day and causing growers tremendous headaches.

Eggs are easy to spot due to distinctive characteristics. Broad mite eggs are colorless, translucent, and elliptical in shape while russet mite eggs are round and clear in form.

Broad mites are very small even under sixty-time magnification. Under the scope, they appear oval in shape and are green, yellow, or amber, and have a strip splitting near the rear of the body.

Broad mite damage to cannabis plants is caused by them draining nutrients from the crop which often shows in the discoloration of leaves. In some cases, leaves turn purplish or coppery and may become curled or deformed due to the toxic saliva these broad mites inject into the plant. Broad mites attacking cannabis plants may not only impact the infected plant but the entire harvest, especially if they spread and go untreated. There are measures and steps growers can take upon the arrival of these unwanted garden pests, learn how broad mites on cannabis plants can be defeated as we share ways they can be removed with ease.

leaf damage from broad mites

Cannabis Mites

The term ‘mite’ includes thousands of arthropod species that often measure under one-millimeter in length, about the same size as the head of a pin, and mites that attack cannabis plants are even smaller. These bugs are vectors for infections and suck nutrients from plant leaves causing interruptions in the process of photosynthesis.

Draining nutrients and liquids from leaves causes the plant to grow slower. This, in addition to the diseases they carry, lead to telltale signs of damage in new growth. Broad mites, russet mites, and two-spotted spider mites account for nearly all cannabis infestations. They range from difficult to nearly impossible to spot, without magnification, and are able to reproduce very quickly. As such, with small species especially, the plant damage a grower sees is often inflicted by prior mite generations that have been, for some time, inhabiting the plant and destroying its health.

Recovering crops from high-mite infestation and population is hard to do so it is imperative preventative conditions are created to safeguard plants. Growers should frequently inspect plants too so swift action can be taken if the dreadful day of their arrival has come.

Infected clones are the primary cause of broad mite cannabis infections. As such, great care, in addition to proper sanitation, should be done if sourcing new genetics.

Bio-controlling infestation needs to be achieved before flowering, if not, they will cluster in response to the shorter light cycles, effectively rendering predatory mites useless. If detected early enough before too much damage is caused, their population can quickly thin by spraying plants with water though additional control solutions are needed to eliminate them fully.


Symptoms of Broad Mites on Cannabis Plants

Broad mites lay eggs underneath leaves and prefer newer growth and crevices on the plant. Growers should pay close attention to vein ribbing on the underside of leaves and should inspect damage using magnification.

There are two types of damage broad mites inflict which can be used to identify them.

The first of these signs is the trail of yellow dots they cause on leaves known as ‘stipling’, these are feeding sites and are often inconspicuous but do cause leaves to turn darker.

As time progresses following the initial infection, these sites may become gray, yellow, or necrotic. Yellow-speckled leaves, as well as twisting or yellowing of new plant growth, are telltale signs of their presence too. This discoloration is caused by mites feeding on the cannabis plant.

Growers seeing this symptom should use magnification to identify the bugs and then pursue one of the best ways to remove broad mites from cannabis plants, which we will share below.

cannabis plant damage from mites

Ways to Prevent Broad Mites on Cannabis Plants

Broad mite prevention can be tricky and determining their source is not always easy.

They can arrive in the wind but in most cases from plant material or clones that were already infected, animal waste too is another source of mites and should be removed if found near an outdoor harvest.

For these reasons, most growers start off by using only seeds whilst incorperating pest-mangement solutions, and herbal pesticides with which they spray on plants as a cannabis mite preventative.

How to Remove Broad Mites from Cannabis Plants

One of the best ways to target broad, cyclamen, clover, and spider mites is to use predatory insects, such as the Neoseiulus Californicus, a Type II predator that lays one egg per four to six units of food.

This mite predator survives well in low spider mite densities by feeding pollen and anthropods. They thrive in a vast range of temperatures and can tolerate Relative Humidity levels as low as forty percent. They feed on a variety of pray and are useful to cannabis growers in their effort to prevent, control, and manage spider mite infestations. They help to prevent cyclamen and other russet mite species too.

These mite predators eat slower than other ones, such as P. persimilis and N. fallacis, so they should be used alongside other beneficial cannabis insects, such as ladybugs, if treating a large infestation. They prefer to eat two-spotted spider mites and other species but reproduce fastest with two-spotted spiders as their main diet and feed on them whether in the egg, nymph, or adult stage of its lifecycle.

broad mite zoom

Get Rid of Broad Mites on Cannabis Plants

Once broad mites are identified it is time to get rid of them. Some pesticides aren’t effective and most labels do not mention broad mites, at times they may be hard to remove but with vigilance can be weakened and defeated by growers.

There are steps to removing cannabis mites that growers can follow, including:

  • Removing infected parts of the plant is a crucial step as this stops infestation from spreading. If infestation spreads to plant tissue that part of the plant will unlikely recover and should be removed.
  • Treating plants regularly and on a daily basis for large infestations will help to reduce their ability to attack and eventually kill the population.
  • Spraying plants before turning off lights reduces the chance that plants get burned.
  • Reading and understanding product usage labels are essential to not over-applying to plants, growers should closely follow application suggestions.
  • Repeating treatments weekly for a month or more is ideal for ensuring all mites are gone. Once growers believe they are all gone they should continue one treatment per week. If not, they may come back with a vengeance and more resistant to the pesticide the grower sprayed.

Dispose of Infected Plant Matter

Parts of the plant that are infested and infected should be carefully trimmed and removed from the plant. This not only reduces the number of bugs but saves the rest of the plant and allows it to recover.

Raising Temperatures

Broad mites do not thrive well in temperatures above ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Some growers try to rid mites by briefly dipping plants into hot water or by increasing indoor temps to a hundred degrees.

This measure should be used with caution and by experienced growers as heat high enough to kill broad mites may be hot enough to harm plants too.

Neem Oil

This treatment has an unpleasant taste and smell and should not come in contact with buds. Evidence suggests it can be harmful to humans so growers should use this all-natural remedy with care. That said, it is effective against bugs and mold and can quickly kill broad mites on cannabis plants too.

This oil can be harmful to plants so growers do not want to apply more than needed. While it may harm crops, it is a great way to kill broad mites and other bugs when nothing else works.

Using a mister to apply neem oil to plants is safest and allows growers to coat the plant evenly. Most growers use a one-handed mister as these make covering all plants of the part easier.

Essentria IC3

This insecticide is made of various horticultural oils and is safe for plants and humans. It is advertised as a “bed bug killer” though is effective against broad mites when frequently applied to cannabis plants.

Given it stays active for only eight to twelve hours it should be applied evenly across plants daily until bugs are gone.

Instructions need to be followed and like neem oil is best applied to plants using a one-handed mister.

Insecticidal Soaps

Fatty acid salts are found in insecticidal soaps and are helpful in removing broad mites. These soaps weaken the outer shell that broad mites use to protect themselves though is safe for plants and leaves little residue behind, which means beneficial mite predators are less likely to be impacted.

Much like horticultural oils, coverage is essential as it too does not stay on plants for long. Growers should apply follow-up applications while ensuring none comes in contact with buds as they can alter the taste and smell.

Insecticidal soaps alone will likely not rid broad mites but are less harmful to plants compared to other options. Overall, it is a good supplement for ridding these pesky intruders in noticeable numbers and help growers to slowly yet gradually regain control of the garden.

Insecticidal soaps

Final Thoughts on Broad Mites and Cannabis Plants

Broad mites are like every other mite except harder to spot due to their microscopic size.

If new growth with yellow or deformed leaves appear, using magnification to identify them is essential to choosing removal techniques designed for the species and health of the plant.

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