Fighting Mites in Cannabis Organically

Mites on Cannabis

Many master gardeners believe that top-shelf cannabis cultivation is more about what doesn’t happen to plants than what does. For example, grow rooms with tight, balanced environmental controls are best able to prevent the onset of disease and infestation—some of which can take down an entire cannabis garden in less than a week.

Infestation & Mites

Strictly speaking, disease and infestation within cannabis plants are different things. It should be noted, however, that infestation can lead to disease. One example of this dynamic is fungus gnats, which can attack healthy roots, depriving them of nutrition and causing gray mold.

The most common type of infestation in pot plants is mites. Three types of mites afflict both indoor and outdoor cannabis gardens: Spider mites, broad mites, and russet mites.

spider mite cannabis
Up-close image of a spider mite

Spider mites are the most common variety and also the easiest to detect. This species got its name not because it resembles a spider (individuals appear as small red mobile dots on leaves), but rather due to the fine, dense webbing that announces this pest’s presence. Broad mites and russet mites are much smaller than spider mites (they are truly microscopic).

Because they do not produce webbing like the spider variety, broad mites and russet mites are significantly more difficult to detect. Their presence is signaled by new leaf growth that is blistered, thin,  so shiny that it appears wet, and twisted. Often, mites will cause the top leaves of an infected plant to droop and wilt. During the final stages of growth, flowers that have been attacked by broad mites turn brown and die.  

The most common type of infestation in pot plants is mites. Three types of mites afflict cannabis gardens: Spider mites, broad mites, and russet mites.

Traditionally, gardeners have battled mites using neem oil. Unfortunately, this method is tough on cannabis plants and the oil cannot make contact with flowers because it gives them an unpleasant taste and odor.

Embracing an Organic Solution

Today savvy West Coast farmers producing some of the nation’s most impressive cannabis are turning to certified organic solutions like PathogenZERO. Formulated by a third-generation cannabis farmer from Northern California, this fully natural and non-toxic solution can be used to treat more than 150 diseases and infestations, including mites of all varieties.

Recent news from Steep Hill Labs that 85 percent of the San Francisco Bay Area “medical” cannabis evaluated by the company tested positive for fungicide myclobutanil (marketed by Dow AgroSciences as Eagle 20) has alarmed cultivators and patients alike. When heated (as during smoking), myclobutanil converts to highly poisonous hydrogen cyanide.

Such news is driving conscientious cultivators from products like Eagle 20 to fully organic biodegradable solutions like PathogenZERO. Non-toxic products of this type that contain only natural ingredients must be adopted en masse if legal cannabis cultivators wish to survive the onslaught of government regulation that looms on the horizon.

About Gooey Rabinski 17 Articles
Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, instructional designer, and photographer who has been covering the cannabis culture since 2004. His work has appeared in High Times, Cannabis Culture, WoahStork, SKUNK, The Emerald Magazine, MERRY JANE, Weed World, Grow Magazine, Whaxy, Green Flower Media, and Cannabis Health Journal. Rabinski crafts compelling educational media that focuses on the science of the cannabis herb, patient advocacy, and eliminating the social stigma that has existed for more than a century in the United States. His photography is available on Instagram at gooey_rabinski and he Tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

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