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Removing and Preventing Spider Mites

Discussion in 'Bugs' started by RRLBT420, Oct 4, 2010.


    RRLBT420 Active Member

    My garden is on a perpetual harvest, cycling 6 large plants every 10 days of different varieties and different resistance to mites. Therefore letting spider mites take hold would be devastating. Not to say I don't have outbreaks, but they have to be controlled. I use a multi-facet approach to spider mites. My lights run at night, so during the day I use a photo-period safe green headlamp to tend my garden in lights off. My lights off work includes spraying the plants with my neem oil mix on mondays during lights off, on wednesdays I use co2 at 10,000 ppm for one hour, then fridays I use a cinnamon/clove oil spray. Don't use the same control every time; they adapt far too easy for that. The reason you hear about "super mites" is because growers who use mixes that are less than lethal are not killing the mites, they're teaching the mites to adapt to the new environment. Before getting to the controls, i would like to discuss the benefits and a few precautions to each method listed below.


    So almost everybody knows this one. What some may not know is why it works. Basically, neem oil is a natural combination of over 1000 chemicals or agents. Obviously some of these make the awful bitter smell that we're all used to, but they serve many more purposes as well. Many of the chemicals in neem oil are actually similar to hormones produced in many pests, mites included. Neem oil doesn't directly cause death; it confuses the mites, and causes them to lose their desires to eat and mate and therefore greatly stunts population growth. It is ineffective against eggs, however it is absorbed/redistributed by the plant and can have some residual effects. It is non-toxic to humans and most other animals and the environment.


    Everybody knows it smells like the holidays lol, but its much more useful than meets the eye. Cinnamon's chemical heat is a pretty big deal. It's a catalytic chemical reaction. When sprayed on pests, it weakens the exoskeleton, and dries the pest out. In addition, when mixed with other oils cinnamon acts as a catalyst and can make those oils more effective. It is an effective control for almost all pests, including thrips, whiteflies, and fungus gnats. In addition, cinnamon is also fungicidal and can control most mold/ mildew infestations with approximately 70% success rate. Cinnamon oil is a contact killer, therefore it must actually touch the pest to eliminate it. Cinnamon oil is ineffective against eggs, and leaves no residual effects. While it's non-toxic, I recommend the use of gloves when working with concentrates as they can irritate/burn the skin.


    You may have heard of "eugenol oils." That's exactly what clove oil is. They cause the exoskeleton to soften, and then dry out. Clove oil is ineffective against eggs. Clove is another contact killer, so again it has to touch the pest to eliminate it. Clove oil leaves no residual pesticidal effects, however the smell of clove is a deterant for pests.


    Obviously everybody knows plants need it to live, but not everybody knows how effective it can be killing mites. It's especially useful in the final stages of flowering when no other sprays are an option, and you don't want to use predator bugs for the "popping" and flavor. CO2 doesn't directly kill the mites; it displaces oxygen, which mites require to live just like you or me, and they suffocate. This will also kill any other living thing except for your plants, SO DON'T BE IN THE ROOM WHEN YOU FUMIGATE WITH CO2. Also, be sure to have a strong exhaust system to remove the CO2 after use. Long periods of oxygen deprivation will kill your plants. CO2 enriched gardens also experience fewer pest outbreaks.


    Most soaps will work, but this stuff is made from hemp oil and is 100% organic. It also serves 2 purposes. First, it acts as an emulsifier, so your oil doesn't simply sit on top of your water. Secondly, it is also an insecticidal soap in itself. Peppermint will kill/repel most insects. This isn't useful when your fighting mites, but it's nice if you don't know you have an insect problem lol.


    BE SURE IT'S SODIUM FREE. The salt can stress the plant out. This stuff is dirt cheap, and it's at every grocery store in the mixed drinks section. It isn't directly insect/miticidal. It helps with control by raising the humidity in the mite's home, making them feed and reproduce slower, and it has a mild amount of co2 which is good for the plant and not for the mites. It also provides many trace elements and can help prevent some nutrient deficiencies as well.


    Pretty obvious, this wipes off much of the webbing and also many eggs which are attached to it. This is one of the only safe controls for plants late in flowering, and will be useless if the little bastards make their way inside the buds. When the webbing is missing, the mites have a harder time moving around the plant. Also, mites can't lay eggs unless there's some webbing to attach them too. This puts most reproductive efforts on hold for at least a day or two while they rebuild they're webbing. In addition to the mite-killing benefits, when you spray the plant twice a week it can eventually clog the stomata on the bottoms of the leaves. These are how the plants breathe, so it's best to keep them clean. This is the only control i recommend during lights on, for obvious reasons.


    Mix 1 oz. neem oil per gallon WARM water. Add 1-2 teaspoons DR. BRONNERS PEPPERMINT CASTILE SOAP as an emulsifier. Stir until the neem oil has broken up into the water. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, AND BE SURE TO USE OR DISPOSE OF THE MIX WITHIN A FEW HOURS. As soon as neem is mixed it begins breaking down. The mix cannot even last till the next day, so only mix what you'll use.

    After mixture has cooled to room temperature, begin to spray all plants up to 3 weeks into flowering. As with all spider mite sprays, be sure to get all leaf surfaces including the underside. After 2 hours, spray all plants with sodium free seltzer water. This will provide additional control to the mites due to the humidity and the mild co2 in the water, but more than anything its good foliar food and it will also wash away some of the residue from the spray. Do not leave any residues of any sort on the plant longer than you have to.


    Find an online co2 calculator for this one. I use http://www.hydroponics.net/learn/co2_calculator.asp BE 100% SURE YOUR ROOM IS SEALED BEFORE ATTEMPTING THIS STEP!!! CO2 AT THESE LEVELS WILL KILL EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE AND YOU WILL ONLY FEEL TIRED FIRST. HEED ALL WARNINGS WHEN USING CO2!!!!! I take my room to 10,000 ppm co2 for approx. 1 hour. After the hour is up, I run a 2 hour exhaust cycle to ensure proper co2 levels are returned. Again, I spray all plants up to 3 weeks in flowering with sodium free seltzer water. CO2 won't leave a residue, but I feel better knowing the little bastards may be drowning.


    Mix 1/4 tsp. cinnamon oil, 1/2 tsp clove oil, and 1/4-1/2 tsp Dr. Bronners peppermint castile soap. Add 16 oz. plain warm water and shake around till it looks milky and well dissolved. THIS IS A POTENT SPRAY. CINNAMON OIL WILL TORCH YOUR PLANT DURING LIGHTS ON IN UNDER 10 MINUTES, SO NEVER USE DURING YOUR PLANTS "DAY" CYCLE. IT IS ALSO RECOMMENDED TO SPRAY ANY NEW SPRAY ON A FEW TEST LEAVES AND WAITING A COUPLE DAYS TO SEE SIGNS OF STRESS SO YOUR PLANT DOESN'T DIE. After the mixture has returned to room temperature, spray all plants through weeks 3 of flowering on all leaf surfaces. As with the neem oil, discard the mix after use. THIS IS A CONTACT KILLER SO YOU MUST TOUCH THE BASTARDS TO KILL THEM.

    Again, wait 2 hours and spray all plants with sodium free seltzer water


    On a daily basis you MUST sweep the floor, clean up dead leaves etc. Don't give the little fuckers a hiding spot. I also recommend spraying all plants through weeks 3 of flowering with cold water 1-3 times per day during lights on to raise humidity in the spider mite zones under the leaves and slow they're feeding/reproducing.

    To disrupt the hatching and egg laying processes, I take a soft cotton cloth and damp it with plain water and proceed to GENTLY wipe the undersides of all leaves, including all flowering plants. This is a very long and painstaking process, however it is a physical approach to removing/ killing them. The greatest benefit is that you're disrupting their webbing, which will take at least a day or 2 to rebuild.

    If your room exchanges air from outside, attach a fine dust filter to your intake vent and spray it with a good miticide once per week.

    You may also run a humidifier during veg to keep the humidity around 60%, which will greatly slow the mite reproduction rates. This may not be used late in flowering as bud rot may develop.

    If you regularly have spider mites and you grow in soil, I recommend giving hydro a try. I switched from coco to dwc and my breakouts dropped in half. They get constant water in dwc and they don't get stressed as easy.

    INVEST IN TEMPERATURE CONTROL. Plants like cooler temperatures, 70-77 is almost perfect for cannabis, and spider mites like it 80+. Basically, if the plants happy, chances are the spider mites aren't. NOTE: A/C SYSTEMS OFFER THE BEST TEMP CONTROL. THEY'RE PITFALL IS THAT THEY WILL DRASTICALLY REDUCE HUMIDITY, AND MITES WILL THRIVE FAIRLY WELL EVEN AT 70. IF YOU CHOOSE A/C OVER OTHER COOLING METHODS, YOU MAY CONSIDER A PROGRAMMABLE HUMIDIFIER.

    Once per week, I spray all surfaces in the entire room with the cinnamon/clove oil spray, including the floor, walls, ceiling, tables, the outside of buckets, ducting, everything. I let it sit for an hour, then I mop with the peppermint castile soap and spray peroxide on all surfaces. This 3 step cleaning kills fungus, bacteria, and insects, and I believe it is essential in preventing many plant diseases. IF YOU USE PEROXIDE, DO NOT USE AMMONIA OR BLEACH IN CONJUNCTION.

    I hope this helps some people! Please feel free to ask questions
    JrOne424 likes this.
    bird mcbride

    bird mcbride Well-Known Member

    Really strange these spider mite things. Seems to me the seed was infected from the start!!!!

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    i'm kinda surprised..... biggest problem in most growrooms and no questions?

    MoppinSauce Well-Known Member

    Have you tried Azamax? Pretty much all I use. Works well.

    powerslide Well-Known Member

    had good luck with it on mites? do you foliar feed or run it in the res. i ran it in the res and it worked great on the gnats. now ive got the damn mites but only have a week left i dont think i can use it now

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    i don't recommend the use of any spray late in flowering, for 2 main reasons. first, adding any moisture to the dense buds you have late in flowering runs the risk of bud rot. second, any chemical you use, with few exceptions, you can expect to stick around inside the plant for at least a couple weeks, and quite possibly longer. if you only have a week left in flowering, the mites won't kill your girls. still wipe the leaves daily, and if you see webs forming on your buds wipe them off as well. you can also try the CO2 fumigation as i mentioned above. this won't kill them all, but it will take out 70-80% of the population.

    MoppinSauce Well-Known Member

    You know, I spoke way too soon, humidity plummeted over the weekend and the mites loved it and multiplied, not doing much damage though. So, Azamax has worked great for me up until this past weekend. Folks say that it eradicates them, but I don't think it ever does. I use it both as a foliar and then soil drench. If you do one without the other it seems to be less effective. I hear of folks who run it in the res. I know a couple of folks that spray up to day of harvest with no ill effects. Personally I stop using it 2 weeks before. I got one of those no pest strips over the weekend and ordered the 3 pack of floramite/avid/forbid off ebay. I also ordered some more Azamax even though they seem to be getting immune to it. I will try to mix three different prevention measures going forward. The pest strips make me feel filthy, but they work well it seems, but I hear the mites get immune to those even. Mites suck.


    funny, my plants are exposed to nothing but 1500ppms of c02 and NEVER get fresh air. Maybe becuase they exhale 02?
    and it did nothing to deter mites, but monterey's with spinosad did,or ed rosenthal's zero tolerance

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    this is a very common scenario. i run 1500 ppm co2 as well during lights on, but every wednesday during lights off i crank it up to 10,000 ppm and hold it for an hour. 1500 ppm will result in LESS FREQUENT outbreaks, but will not eliminate them entirely. this is the reason i use several prevention techniques. having to harvest every 10 days, i can't shut down the garden between harvests to eradicate the pests that way, i have to maintain an environment which is undesirable/uninhabitable for pests. spinosad is a beneficial bacteria that basically eats the mites, so i'm not surprised this worked. i'm unfamiliar with zero tolerance, i may look into it. the fact is there are at least 10 or 15 organic controls for mites which can effectively be used in conjunction, and i'm simply explaining the method that has worked for me dependably. i recommend googling "integrated pest management" as this is the closest method to what i use, but will give more generic guidelines.

    guappy17 Member

    i agree with rrlbt420. several techniques need to be implored to keep them under control. personally my gambit consists of some predators (mesoseiulus longipes cause i have low humidity cause of the dry climate in colorado, there are three different predator mites all with different environmental requirements...choose the best for your situation. and i use lady bugs also. i'm thinking about ordering some pirate bugs to add to the mix) and them i turn to physical removal followed by all natural sprays and if they aren't under control i finally turn to chemicals; floramite...(i take that back, i dip every plant in floramite when i transplant from the clone tent to 1 gal and then again in a few weeks when they get re-potted from 1 gal to 3-5 gal pots. after the two dippings i just spot treat in the garden using chemicals last).
    i have found that the best way to keep them under control is to keep the garden clean as rrlbt420 said. however, i do not go quite as far as to mop every surface. i just keep the plants free from dying or dead leaves and keep the floors and buckets and pots all clean. the second most important thing to keep clean is yourself! when you are doing anything in your garden, make sure you have washed your hands thoroughly and are wearing clean clothes that don't have mites on them. my rule of thumb is: if i have been outside at the park or on a hike, or around pets (NEVER LET PETS IN YOUR GARDEN>>>THEY CARRY MITES!!!!!) i will make sure to change clothes before going to my garden.
    i have had one devastating outbreak and i learned a lot of lessons about those little fuckers. it's already been said, but they adapt quickly to your attacks so hit them from every angle possible. that's why i use natural predators of mites, natural sprays (neem, eucalyptus, etc), and chemicals. i try to use as many predators and natural sprays as possible and the only chemical in my garden is floramite.
    the main key to control is awareness. lots of folks think that because the mites are so small and hard to see that it's useless to look for them. NOT TRUE! if you find them early, they are easy to knock down before the population grows. mites can lay 300-500 eggs each; so you can see how quick they can take over your garden. always look for signs of mites on your leaves. tiny white or yellow spots appear before you will ever see a web. if webs are showing up, you are on your way to being infested. attack immediately! i walk my garden every couple days (more intently after a spraying) looking for any signs of mites. when i see a spotted leaf i turn it over and look for any mites. they are tiny little specks that are pinkish-yellowish with a black back and they are about the size of a grain of sand or smaller. i use the aid of a 30x microscope to make sure that it is dead or alive. as soon as i have noticed a live mite, i gently rub my thumb over the underside of the leaf crushing the mite and the eggs it has laid. if there are several infected leaves especially with more than one mite per leaf, i mix up some spray and douse the whole plant i noticed the mites on and the immediately surrounding plants (that's my definition of spot treating. also, if there are more than one mite on a leave that means that eggs have begun to hatch and the mites will soon spread to lay their own eggs). only when i have noticed mites on several plants in different areas of the garden do i spray every plant in my garden (i suppose that if i grew on a smaller scale i would spray every plant every time i saw a live mite but i don't have the time to spray hundreds of plants, so i spot treat if the natural predators are not keeping the pests under control).
    the reason i use natural sprays after the predators fail is because most natural sprays will not harm your predators and thus they are still alive in your garden to help you fight those little bastards. only if they are out of control do i think about using a chemical (it's like a little hiroshima in my garden...bye-bye suckers!).
    my favorite spray is neem because it is a systemic control, meaning that the plant takes in the oils and keeps them in the plants "system" for a while and then when the new mite eggs hatch and feed on the plant, they ingest the remaining neem oil in the plant. i have found that using 100% neem oil and mixing it myself is much more effective than the pre-mixed treatments of neem. dynagrow has a great product. i have never used cinnamon oil. i am thinking about adding zero-tolerance by ed rosenthal to my pesticide shelf. let me know if you have tried it. what were the results? did it burn the plant easily?
    the last thing that i would like to add is a comment on plant stress. rrlbt420 sprays twice a week. he/she mentioned the stoma of the plant getting clogged. obviously a stressful thing for a plant to go through. it is also stressful for the plant to be covered in any spray. every time you spray a plant it stunts it's growth. so in my OPINION, keeping spray controls to a minimum will produce healthier plants and faster growth, leading to bigger yields more often...who doesn't want that? therefore, physical removal of mites by wiping the leaves where mites are noticed in conjunction with natural predators, is the least stressful treatment and should be turned to first. while the plants are in flower, be careful when wiping the leaves of plants that 4 or more weeks into flowering. big fans leaves are hearty and robust and can easily be wiped, but mites tend to want to get on your newly forming buds. be very gently when trying to remove mites from buds. trichomes are very fragile and break and bruise easily. DO NOT HANDLE BUDS UNLESS REQUIRED. the trichomes are the pinnacle of thc potency and for the best smoke and quality high, do everything possible to keep those little towers of beauty unharmed. if you need to remove mites from buds late in flower, try using a vacuum but hold your fingers over the nozzle so that the tip never comes in contact with the buds or no buds end up getting sucked in...they won't get all the way vacuumed up but if the bud ends up in the nozzle it wreaks havoc on the trichomes. ALWAYS KEEP THE END PRODUCT IN MIND.
    i hope this has helped a few folks achieve a healthier garden. many thanks to RRBT420 for the information that started this post. great initiative. you take excellent care of your garden, and promote a level of attention that we should all aspire to.

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    another excellent reason for natural sprays. i have never had good success with predators, though i would agree that if you can manage control with them, they would be better than sprays. but congrats to you for them actually working! also good call on noting that if the wiping or vacuuming is to be used BE VERY GENTLE. i've used the vacuum in the past but always tore leaves and i couldn't bring myself to do it again... though i may try with the fingers over the nozzle as you suggest, should i ever get an infestation on a mature flowering plant. i will say however, if it comes to damaging a few trichomes, or letting the plant continue to be eaten, i would certainly rather have a little beaten-up bud than none whatsoever lol.

    CannabisCouple Member

    i did this and this is what i just posted...thought i would show you what worked for me... CHEERS!!

    HEY ALL!!!!! I just wanted to say i had spider mites who killed 1 of my outdoor plants, i managed to save one outdoor but barely (we gutted the inside) ... and had mites on our indoor plants...
    i will tell you these 2 products have saved my plants.........
    we are 14 approx days in and no sign of any mites, eggs (no new hatches) or bugs at all..... i will tell u what we used, what it is called (maybe you can find a better price somewhere)...and i will post whats in it so you can make a informed decision while looking for something to kill those critters!!!!!!

    First Doktor Doom Fogger total release (i found on ebay) this is what the product info says:
    The biggest benefit to using the Total Release Fogger is that they are made with natural pyrethrum which biologically breaks down in a couple of hours thus providing very fast re-entry times to fumigated areas. They really do not have a strong odor- which also provides the homeowner with a peace of mind as there are no long lasting obnoxious odors lingering in the air; if used in conjunction with Doktor Doom Residual Products will provide the Homeowner with a bug free environment. Use the fumigants first to flush out and eradicate the insects and then follow up with the Residuals to prevent further enter of pests into your home or gardening environment

    Okay second i used BTL FLORAMITE SC (found on ebay) Product info says:

    Floramite SC® is a selective miticide that provides outstanding control of a variety of mite pests on greenhouse, shadehouse, nursery, field, landscape and interiorscape grown ornamentals. Floramite provides quick knockdown through contact activity and long lasting residual control of more than 21 days. Because of its unique mode of action and selective nature, Floramite is easy on predacious mites and beneficial insects, making it ideal for resistance management programs. Floramite® controls Two-spotted mite, Pacific mites, Strawberry mites, European Mites, Cyclamen Mites, Citrus Red mites, Southern red mites and Spruce spider mites
    Now this fantastic miticide/ovicide is available in a soluble concentrate. FloramiteSC® is a selective miticide that provides outstanding control of mite pests on ornamental plants. FloramiteSC produces quick knockdown through contact activity and long residual control of more than 21 days. It is effective on a variety of species of mites and all life stages of Tetranychidus spider mites. (Yes, this means it kills the eggs!) And because of its novel mode of action and selective nature, Floramite is easy on predacious mites and beneficial insects. Usage is 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. Finally a great alternative to Avid and with the added benefit of an ovicide in one package Miticide for control of 8 species of mites (including eggs for spider mites only), for up to 28 days. Labeled for greenhouses, interiorscapes, landscapes, nurseries and more.. Excellent plant safety. Foliar Spray Rates:1/4 to 1/2 teas per gallon,
    *Application rates and usage recommendations are suggestions only. Please read the Label and MSDS Sheet for specific rates, application, protective equipment, etc.

    Okay so i believe in passing on any helpful info i get...to make us better growers...so good luck those with the lil buggers....we feel your pain and hope you all use those items to keep those plants alive!!! CHEERS!!!!

    The CannabisCouple

    guappy17 Member


    also, i stole your signature :)

    guappy17 Member

    i'm glad doktor doom has worked for you. i have tried the doktor doom lineup a couple times and all i really saw was just a decrease in population, but not a total wipeout like with the floramite. floramite is hands down the best treatment i have used and several people i have recommended it to now swear by it. however, i try to use sparingly because i don't like to use chemicals in my medicine. but, damn that stuff works great...worth every penny!

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    i have heard many people having success with floramite. that being said, it does specify for ORNAMENTALS, and non-bearing fruit trees. it has not been thoroughly evaluated for common problems with pesticides, such as reproductive problems or disruption of endocrine. it is also only approved for outdoor use in residential areas. i do not recommend using this if you are trying to grow medicine. should you choose to use it, DO NOT use during flowering. you also are not supposed to use this product for more than one application before switching to another control. it is not supposed to enter the soil, and it's material safety data sheet classifies it as an environmental hazard.

    Serapis Well-Known Member

    Wow, someone else appreciates the use of Seltzer water and realizes how cheap it is. I have some idiot on my ignore list that argued with me for what seemed like weeks about using seltzer water. He was going on and on about $3 a bottle and claiming i was wasting $400 a grow on seltzer. Man was that guy a flaming idiot.

    Nice to see someone else recognize the benefits of Seltzer. The boost of co2 is a great bonus. Simply foliar feed....

    Serapis Well-Known Member

    On your Doctor Doom foggers, don't lock the top in when you set them off. You can actually spray short bursts into a small space like a box or closet and save the can for later use. No sense in wasting a whole bomb to do a small space.

    RRLBT420 Active Member

    much agreed. not sure how much of the co2 actually makes it to the plant, but my girls do seem to love it. and when i can use a 64 cent bottle of seltzer water for 3 days, i can hardly see how 6.40 per month would come out to $400 per grow... this guy must not shop around much or not be particularly good with math. by my count 6.40 per month averaging 4 months from clone/seed to maturity, should cost in the neighborhood of $25-$30 per crop. since i don't spray after 3 weeks into flowering, it should be half this number. if my girls look healthier, that's a small price to pay.

    guappy17 Member

    wow, you make it sound so bad. i may have to re-evaluate it's use in my garden...at least i know it totally eradicates the mites when used properly so i can use it as the last line of defense if populations get out of control.

    has anyone used ed rosenthal's zero tolerance with any success?

    xdrgreenthumbx Active Member

    hey guys, sorta newbie here to the thread and the grow altogether. I'm on my second grow, 34 days into flower with four ladies going. Just today i confirmed my suspicions of a mite presence on two of the four, which are of course, the weakest two. On one there were webs at the bottom of the stalk and going up about 2 or 3 nodes, and the little white bastards crawling around. On the next, there were no visable webs, but i did a shake onto a white piece of paper and two little black things (mites?) fell and started moving fairly slow. Checked with a magnifying glass and look like mites to me. I wiped all the webs and did a hefty spray of good old H2O. Since it wasn't too overwhelming, I'm not in panic mode....yet. So now, my questions:

    - Why don't people like to spray (assuming its organic, which I strictly adhere to) after the third week of flower? It's the same as if an outdoor grow gets some rain, no?

    - Anyone have a good organic spray recipe to help me control these suckers?

    - Based off my description, could one of these mites be preditory? And therefor good? Sorry for no pics, I did my sweep as soon as I spotted them, and I doubt the pic would be good anyways.

    If anyones interested, there are pics of the current grow available. I'll repost them here, or you can check out my other threads.

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