How can such a tiny bug cause a mite problem?

How can such a tiny bug cause a mite problem on medical marijuana plants?

How can such a tiny bug cause such a mighty problem? spider mites on medical marijuana plantsSpider 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.

Need help? Call Brad the Bugman and ask! (I like to talk about bugs…) Free call too! 800.328.9140

Leaf it to the Plants

Leaf it to the Plants to give us the dope on how to kill Spider Mites

marijuana plant and spider mites


There is a lot going on in the news right now.  You can’t turn on the TV, radio or Facebook without a political comment, Black Lives Matter issue or Medical Marijuana proposals.

But no matter how much the “cons” protest the legalization for medical marijuana is happening in many states.

So, where do spider mites fit into this equation?  They are fast growing and extremely hard to kill destroyers of marijuana plants.

The solution – pesticides?  Not really!  Everyone knows pesticides are toxic to both humans and the environment.  Especially, to people who already have a distressed immune system.   The last thing a cancer patient needs is more toxicity feeding the bad cells.  And what about the plants?

All plants start from a seed. Each seed contains a stem, root and two to three leaves. Plus, enough nutrients in the seed for it to survive the first stage of its life. During this early period, these vital proteins, carbs, etc. are turned into glucose.  Nature is so cool.

But the spider mites that come to destroy your plants as they grow big and full are not.  Your first reaction is to reach for the pesticides and in a perfect world your plants would not be affected by these chemicals. This is not a perfect world.  Pesticides can severely inhibit the growth of plants, burn the leaves or destroy surrounding plants.

Plus, with all the FDA rules and regulations flagging certain pesticides on medical marijuana plants you don’t want to take the chance of having your product recalled.

This may not be a perfect world but nature did create a perfect solution for your spider mites – the persmilis, a spider mite predator.

For more information on spider mite predators visit bradthebugman.com

The Saying Should Be, “Breeds faster than Spider Mites”

The saying should be, “Breeds faster than Spider Mites” – because they have rabbits beat hands down for multiplying and ruining gardens.

phytoseilus persimilis agressive spider mite predators

Red Spider Mites are an arachnid, having 4 pairs of legs, no antennae and a single oval body. They live on the underside of leaves but are extremely hard to spot as they are the size of a pencil dot. Adult spider mites will pierce the plant cell and suck the fluid, leaving tiny specks that are visible to the naked eye.

Spider mites love hot, dry places. With idea conditions, eggs can hatch in as little as 3 days and mature in 5. A single female can produce over 1 million mites in a month. This is why it is crucial to constantly monitor your plants.

Make a habit of checking your plants regularly. Use a hand magnifying glass and check the underside of the leaves, looking for adults, eggs, webs or damage. If you suspect you are starting to get a problem put a white sheet of paper under the leaves and gently flick the plant, if you see little dots that move it is most likely a spider mite.

Carry your magnifying glass with you when buy new plants. Never introduce a new plant from a friend or co-worker. Their intentions are honorable, but their bug infested plant may not be.

Keep spaces between your plants. If plants are close together spider mites can easily move from one plant to another. If you do find a plant with mites, quarantine it as best as you can.

Give the infested plant a strong blast from the garden hose to knock off adult mites. Also, misting plants can help as well. Spider mites like it dry!

Biological control is the next step. Two predators, the Persimilis and the Fallacis attack both the adults and their eggs. The Persimilis is definitely the more aggressive of the two but they will die from starvation once the mites have been devoured. The Fallasis can survive longer because they will eat other foods besides the pesky mites.

The one thing to remember with spider mites is that they are easier to prevent than to cure. So, order your good bugs now!! wwwbradthebugman.com

Biological Pest Control for your Greenhouse

Biological Pest Control for your Greenhouse – go bug or go home.

get rid of spider mites

Medical marijuana plants, like most plants, flourish in the humidity, warmth and perfect condition allotted from greenhouses. Unfortunately, so do the same pests that plague our outdoor crops. Growers, who raise food grade plants, don’t have as many options for eliminating pests. Plants contaminated with heavy pesticides can be recalled. So, what are your options? Biological, mechanical and environmental control.

Most growers use a combination of these three methods to keep pests from destroying their plants.

Biological pest control uses natural predators to halt infestations of mites and other pests in their greenhouse. Diligence and constant monitoring of plants is needed when using natural predators. It is not an overnight cure, though some predators like the persimillis go straight to work and they have veracious appetites. They will feed on the pests until they are destroyed and then die off themselves from starvation. Other predators, like the fallacis, are not as aggressive and are able to stay alive by finding other foods to eat. The end results is your plants are chemical free and it is less expensive and time consuming than toxic sprays and powders.

Mechanical control combines equipment and hands on labor to keep pest downs to a minimum. This can include removing plants infested with bad bugs from the greenhouse. Installing insect screening to keep out the insects – of course, this also means natural predators like the lady bug can’t get in. Sterilize your equipment on a regular basis to help keep pest moving from plant to plant. Pull any weeds from both inside and outside of your greenhouse to help keep pests under control.

Lastly, there has been some success controlling the greenhouse pests with environmental controls. Don’t let the green house get cold in between planting crops. Crank up the heat! The eggs of pests will hatch and then starve as there is nothing for them to feed on. Make sure the greenhouse is well ventilated. This will help keep the leaves dry and the fungal spores from growing.

How to you control your bad bugs? bradthebugman.com would love to know!!

Beneficial Predators – or the “good bugs”

Beneficial Predators – or the “good bugs” vs pesticides!

pesticides being sprayed on plants when they should be using Brad the bugman

We get asked all the time if beneficial insects truly work when it comes to keeping pesky mites and insects off food grade plants.  The answer is yes!  We’re not saying it’s a quick fix. But with a little bit of patience and a watchful eye, it is worth the wait and certainly much easier on your time and bank account.

Plus, you are not putting nasty chemicals on plants people are going to eat!  Pesticides are used almost everywhere these days and very freely.  They can be found in our yards, parks, schools and homes. They are sprayed from crop dusting planes to tiny cans under our kitchen sinks.

Recent studies have found that pesticides can be linked to a number of health issues, ranging from short-term symptoms like headaches and nausea to chronic conditions such as cancer, reproductive issues, and brain dysfunction.

It may take years for symptoms to develop either from environmental exposure or from the foods we’ve ingested.

In 2007 a study was conducted by 3 groups – UC Berkeley School of Public Heath, Public Health Institute and the California Department of Health Services.  The conclusion? They found a large increase of risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for children of women who were exposed to pesticides and other synthetic organic compounds with chlorinated aromatic molecules.

Pesticides have also been linked to different types of cancer such as brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate and liver.

Another study in 2009 showed children who lived in homes where pesticides were used were more likely to develop brain cancer than children who were not exposed.

Now are those beneficial insects looking better and better as pest control?  You bet!

We greatly need to clean up our food source and environment.  Stop using harmful pesticides, which will encourage the good bugs to come back to your crops and gardens.

To kick start your beneficial insects

Got Mites?

Got Mites? Keep Calm and Sprinkle on the Persimillis

spider mites on medical marijuana plantsThe control of spider mites, which damage plant leaves, destroy entire crops and cost growers millions of dollars in pesticides and oil spraying, may now have a better solution.

With the ban on many pesticides, more and more growers are turning to natural predators to control spider mites on medical marijuana plants.

Two of the biggest names in spider mite predators are the Persimillis and Fallasis.

For years, predatory mites have been used as biological control. The lady bug is probably the most familiar. She is a selective killer, hunting visually and using her sense of smell to track down spider mites.

The Persimillis and Fallasis are also natural predators of the spider mites. And though smaller in size than the spider mite, they are mighty destroyers. Grab a magnifying glass and watch them scramble for the spider mites. Did you see “The Mummy Returns”? Remember the scene where Ardeth is watching the Army of Anubis race toward him over the sand dunes? Chomp, chomp!

In most cases, predators can take care of entire spider mite population without the need of human intervention.

Or so it used to be…because of harmful chemical spraying, the loss of beneficial insects have allowed spider mites to run unchecked. They are thriving in our greenhouses and running rampant through our fields.

Natural predators can help restore the balance. Depending on the mite infestation, you may have to reapply natural predators every two weeks. It’s certainly better to over-do than undercut the good bugs.

In the end, the biological control of spider mites reduces the need for mite-controlling chemicals and saves growers millions in integrated pest management costs.

For more information or to order your “good bugs” visit bradthebugman.com

Bug on Bug to Save Medical Marijuana Plants

Bug on bug to save medical marijuana plants without adding the contaminants.

kill spider mites

When pesky insects take over your crop and start to destroy your hard work, the first thought is to reach for toxic chemicals. Send in the big guns by dousing your plants with pesticides and herbicides. But considering these plants are being grown for human consumption, we need them as contaminant free as possible.

In 1991 Brad The Bugman moved onto a farm and on the advice of the previous owner started using beneficial insects instead of pesticides for fly control. To be honest, he didn’t use the beneficial insects to go “green”. He used the good bugs because it was easier and less time consuming than sprays and traps on the market.

When he met up with neighbors and colleagues one question always came up, “What are you doing for pest control?” Brad realized there was a market for beneficial insects and a need to educate people on their value and their worth.

Now, more than 17 years later– and the (legal) explosion of commercial and private Cannabis (marijuana), growers have created a huge demand for a non-pesticide solution to control the bad bugs that destroy these plants. Ta daaa!

Meet Phytoseiulus persimilis.

These little guys are gluttonous and as aggressive as they come. They begin to instantly attack, feeding on the spider mites and their eggs. As long as there is food – they will find it and destroy it. When the spider mites are gone the persimilis die off. Persimilis love hot and humid conditions. Just like your pot plants!

And…drum roll please, Neoseiulus fallacis

These mites are not as aggressive as their counterpart persimillis but they can still get the job done. The one advantage of fallacis is that they can feed on other things besides spider mites. So, when the mites have all been devoured they can find other food sources to sustain them. If and when the spider mites come back the fallacis will be waiting. They can also reproduce at lower temperatures.

All the good bugs are shipped over night and then comes the fun part – releasing them onto your plants and watching them feast on their natural enemy – the spider or russet mite.

After about 3 weeks, if you’ve released enough of the good bugs into your crop, you should not see a sign of a web or dried up leaves from the bad bugs. But keep a sharp eye out until the plants flower. You might need to reapply the good bugs if you notice spots on the upper leaves or webs forming.

Isn’t it awesome how nature can take care of the bad bugs with the good bugs. Especially, after all the medical marijuana recalls from pesticide contamination that have been in the news lately. Don’t let the bad bugs destroy your hard work.

Talk to Brad The Bugman today!

How long to kill spider mites on cannabis plants?

How long to kill spider mites on cannabis plants? Let’s ask the expert about natural predators and how they work to solve the problem.

get rid of spider mites

Thanks for the question Pete –

Brad says – Spider mites do best in warm temps & low humidity. As far as how long before you see improvements depends on how bad the infestation is and how many predators you release.

How bad can it get? In the right conditions a spider mite can go from an egg to an egg laying adult in as little as 7 days. I have read 1 spider mite can turn into 1 million mites in 30 days. Kinda scary, right?

To kill spider mites on cannabis plants my suggestion is to be proactive and over kill!

Russet Mites on Cannabis Plants

What to do about russet mites on cannabis plants?

Andy from Gainesville asks:

So I’ve got Russett Mites on my pot plants!  What to use ? I’ve taken them down but they live on as it cures ? I’m trying a water soak/bath. What should be done to have pest free material?

Brad the Bugman says:

get rid of russet mites

Thanks for the question Andy!

There are a couple of beneficial insects that will control russet mites.  Green Lacewing kill both the egg and adults as well as whitefly, aphids and mealy bugs. Persimilis, aka Spider Mite Predators feed only on spider (and russet) mites and are very aggressive. One of the keys is to monitor your plants and start making releases at the first sign of trouble. Also don’t stop when you have taken care of 98% of the problem. As she always told me – go all the way or don’t start!

Said the Persimilis to the Spider Mite

Said the Persimilis to the Spider Mite

get rid of spider mites

Most people are familiar with Mary Howitt poem The Spider and the Fly. For years, parents and teachers have used it to teach children to be aware of flattery and idle silly words because if they didn’t they could end up like the fly. But not all spiders are the victors in the real world.

Spider mites, those arachnid minute creatures who love to destroy plants, have a natural enemy.

So, let me tell you the sequel to this poem –

The Persimilis and the Spider Mite

The spider mite lives inside
the many webs she weaves.
She lays her eggs and sucks the sap,
drying up the leaves.

She invites her growing family,
to weave their many threads.
And drink up all the sap,
until your crops are dead.

Then comes Ms. Persimilis,
hungry as can be.
Allowing herself to dine,
On spider mites jubilee.

For you see, she read the story,
Of the spider and the fly.
And wants to teach a lesson.
That ends better for the fly.

Her wily ways and hunger,
Don’t rely on idle words.
There is no need for flattery,
on natural predators.

And though she is much smaller,
than the spider mite in size.
She attacks her prey with vengeance,
that leaves no mite alive.

And now your plants are safe,
the spider mites are gone
and for Ms. Presimilis
She too does not have long.

For without the food of spider mites,
To keep her hunger stalled
She too will die and leave your plants,
To grow up big and tall.

The moral of this story,
No plant is safe from bugs
Get your natural predators,
to take care of all the thugs!

Got problems with bugs? Visit us at bradthebugman.com for natural and safe solutions. Plus, our bugs are cool!