How to Eliminate Spider Mites by Billy Budd:
- Spider mites are parasites and are natures way of eliminating weak, dying plants. If you let your plants get weak then the spider mites will "take out the garbage". Plants release a chemical scent when they are dying and the spider mites will respond to this chemical signal. It is their job. It is your job to ensure that the chemical signal is weak until the very end. Spider mites destroy at least 5% of all of the worlds crops. It is probably a much higher percentage in the cannabis industry.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spend money on equipment and time on the plants. This is a program of preventative maintenance.
- Do not be greedy. Greed translates into lower quality plants and short term gain for long term loss. Greed Kills: This should be your philosophy for, as a grower, you will discover that this is absolutely true. Greedy growers always lose in the end as this is about the real world life of the plants. Action speaks louder than words because plants cannot hear some con job. They need what they need and they need it now. Confined plants with inadequate lighting in hostile environments is just a setup for problems and a recipe for a poor low value crop that is known as hemp not medical grade marijuana.
- Use adequate lighting within the correct spectrum.
- Some stress is good. Allow the soil to dry occasionally during the vegetative cycle. This will improve the roots as they dive to seek water and nutrients.
- Spray with neem oil weekly. Spray with water the next day to clear.
- Never spray with the lights on. It will burn your leaves. You can spray just before the lights turn on is best. Spraying just after the lights go out may cause mold problems.
- Never spray with chemicals. Spider mites are resistant to them all and you are just poisoning your crop and the consumers. If you must spray then do so only during the vegatative cycle. Remember that these chemicals will damage the plant, humans, bees (causes colony collapse disorder) and all other living organisms including you.
- Never use predator mites as they also come with spider mites as feed stock. The predator mites will win the battle but lose the war. They will eat all of the spider mites, cannabilize themselves and then die off. The spider mites will come back but the predators will not. You will have to buy predator mites forever. Using approach may work if you really stuck but it will not fix a crop already in trouble, it is too late. You can run a integrated pest management control system but it is expensive and can actually hurt as the predator mites will actually bite you.
- Never allow anyone else into your grow room and never visit another grow room.
- Never bring a plant into your grow room. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- Always start from seed, create a mother plant and only use clones cut from the selected mother plant.
- Allow the mother plant to regenerate for at least two weeks before taking more cuttings. This ensures a stronger clone and keeps the mother from getting too weak.
- Never clone a clone as it is too inherently weak and will be suspectible to more disease. The more you clone a plant, the weaker it gets. That is why strains die off. Spider mites will be attracted to weak clones of clones.
- Use F1 hybrids as they have hybrid vigour and will be much stronger and thus more resistant to spider mites.
- Never prune more than 30% at any time as it weakens the plant.
- Never re-use soil. Spider mite eggs will be in the soil as well as the plant. You must treat used soil with UV lights and it just not worth the risk.
- NEVER SPRAY YOUR BUDS WITH ANYTHING, not even water. DO NOT BELIEVE the chemical companies. Once the white pistills appear then do not allow anything to touch the pistils. Water will cause botrytis (bud rot), pyrethrins will ruin the taste and poison it, AVID, dish detergent and anything else will at least turn the pistills red prematurely. Spraying chemicals on the bud will make the cannabis taste horrible. It will cause some back throat irritation and a slight stomach ache.
- Keep the temperature down. Spider mites increase breeding when it gets hot and dry and under stress. The colder the better, especially at the end. Keep the temperates below 75 degrees farenheit and ideally keep dropping the temperature through the last two weeks. You want lots of light but in cool, dry (40% relative humidity) conditions. This will form tight dense buds and will slow the spider mite cycle.
- Grow your plant correctly during the vegatative cycle. The right amount of green according to strain. You do not nutrient lock going into flower.
- Spray everything you want up until the white pistills begin to appear and then stop. It is now a battle between you and the spider mites. Hopefully they will not take too much. They will look for the weak ones at the edge of the garden.
- Keep your plants pruned naked for 25% of the bottom plant. This makes it more difficult for the spider mites to hop leaves.
- Always remove dead and dying plant material.
- Keep your grow room clean.
- Keep your plants separated. Never let them touch. This approach will also reduce Powdery Mildew.
- Keep a good wind on them without burning the leaves. Spider mites do not like wind because they get blown away.
- You may have to sacrifice some of the plant, in terms of pruning, so that a smaller portion is healthy versus a larger plant that is unhealthy. Pruning will result in bigger, stronger buds but fewer of them. You are always balancing the energy needs into either yield or quality. I firmly believe in the quality approach as it really pays off in the long run.
- Always use CO2. It will not kill spider mites but rather keep the plant healthy and more resistant to spider mites.
- Feed with the appropriate levels of nutrients and vitamins so the spider mites will keep away.
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Grown in soil with HID lights and the best water in the world. Located in the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada