How can such a tiny bug cause a mite problem on medical marijuana plants?
Spider mites are more than a nuisance to gardeners. These tiny creatures are not insects but closely related to ticks and spiders. They are not quite 1/20th of an inch in length, are made up of eight legs and survive by sucking out the juices of plants.
So, even though they are tiny they can cause mighty problems.
You will find them in big groups, spinning their fine webs to shelter themselves. If you are not extremely alert, you will probably not spot the mites until the webs have covered your plants. The sneaky mites live on the underside of the leaves. A way to check your plants is to shake the leaves over a piece of white paper. The mites will appear as small moving pencil points.
Though mites only live a few days, they produce vast numbers of eggs. In fact, a mite infestation can quickly spiral out of control.
Mites love hot, dry weather and that includes green houses.
Susceptible plants, like medically grown marijuana, can be lost in a matter of weeks if there is no natural predator to take down the mites.
And if you believe chemical pesticide are the answer, you’re wrong. Like most insects and bugs, the spider mite has developed a resistance to several pesticides. There are even some chemicals that will stimulate the reproduction of mites. Not to mention that most pesticides have been red flagged by the FDA as harmful and/or hazardous to humans.
How do you keep the pesticides off the plants? Predatory insects or what we call the good bugs are a great way to keep the mites in balance. And when you introduce them to your gardens they will quickly go to work on the spider mite population.