Your plants are being attacked…
In fact, they’re fighting for their lives because you have a mite problem.
After reading part one of this guide, you identified the symptoms and you realize you have a pest problem.
Now what are you going to do to get rid of these critters?
And how are you going to prevent it from happening again?
What if you could go back in time, to prevent the infestation before it happened?
How To Prevent Mites…
As you will hear us say repeatedly, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”…
That’s why the best mite control is to prevent it in from ever happening.
First, you want to focus on a clean and sterile grow environment. This is especially important if you’re growing indoors.
Remember to read our article on how to fight the most common plant pests & diseases because it contains some important tips to keep your grow room clean. And here are some more tips…
- Clean up any dead plant matter (like leaves) as soon as possible and remove them totally from the grow room (don’t just put them in a trash can in the same room, or pile them somewhere—you need them out of the room).
- Be careful letting guests into your grow room. Especially if they’ve just been outdoors, in the soil, or have come from another grow room. Your guest could easily transport mites from another infested grow…
- Keep pets and other animals (like cats and dogs) out of your grow room. They shed and can easily bring in bugs and other pests.
- Clean and sterilize as much as possible. Keep things generally clean and in between grows especially is a good time to really sterilize your environment.
Second, maintain the ideal growing environment.
The good news here is that the ideal growing environment for good harvests is the ideal environment for mite control…
- Utilize great airflow – air movement not only helps your plants stay happy and grow stronger, but it also is a great deterrent against pests like mites. For indoor gardens, with air intake from outdoors, be sure to use a filter to keep pests from entering through air ducts. For outdoor gardens, try to choose a breezy area to grow.
- Keep your temperature and humidity levels under control. In general, mites like hot, dry weather. But you can have other pest (or disease) problems if things get too humid and/or wet. So keep the ideal temperatures and humidity ranges along with great airflow in your grow room for best results.
- Quarantine new plants – if you’re growing from clones, then you’ll want to quarantine all clones from other gardens for about a week. Check them with a microscope to make sure they don’t have pest problems. Be extra careful before bringing them into your grow room. If you grow from seeds, then this isn’t a problem (see our article on seeds vs clones for more).
But let’s talk about how to fight mites if you already have a problem.
Why We Want To Focus on Organic Mite Control…
Because most of our customers are growing plants made for human consumption, it’s very important to not use dangerous pesticides or other methods that could ultimately harm the end user.
If you were growing some other type of plants—perhaps flowers for decorations only—then you would not need to worry too much about this, but it’s extremely important for plants that people consume.
Also, many pesticides can kill off the beneficial microbials and other insects that can help you fight pests and contribute to growth and bigger yields.
For this reason we like to focus on organic mite control when fighting mites.
So here’s the complete battle blueprint for getting rid of mites of all types…
Step 1: Start Killing Mites!
Let’s talk about ways to kill mites…
- Spray Them Off – If you’re growing outdoors (or it’s possible to do it indoors) then you can first spray off many of the mites with water. Some growers have reported more success using cold water and lowering the pH to 3-4 (to make it more acidic) using citric acid or vinegar.
- Various Insecticide Sprays – You want to avoid chemical poisons that could harm you final crops when ingested. And we can’t vouch for the effectiveness of home-made sprays from household items like garlic, etc. But some growers have reported good results from organic “pesticide” interventions that contain Azadirachtin (an antifeedant and insect growth regulator (IGR)).
- Beneficial Predators – Some growers report success using beneficial predatory creatures like nematodes. Put these live predators into your medium and they can hunt down and kill the pests. It’s also important to note for outdoor growers that ladybugs are good mite killers and you should be glad to see them in your garden if you want natural mite control. Also, these predators are usually not enough on their own to get rid of your mite problem, but can be used if you’re close to harvest and using pesticides are not an option.
- No-Pest Strips – You have to be careful with these. These strips will emit a vapor inside indoor grow rooms that will kill mites. But you can’t use them in a grow room that’s attached to your home or other living area because the vapor is toxic to humans as well.
- Neem Oil – This is an all natural remedy that is very effective against mites, but won’t hurt humans, animals or most “good” bugs like bees, ladybugs, predatory wasps, etc that you actually want in your garden outdoors. It’s fine indoors too. You will need a “mister”, also called a “One-Hand Pressure Sprayer,” to spray all the leaves evenly with this product. Be sure to avoid your buds if close to harvest to make sure you don’t change their taste.
Another non-toxic way to protect your plants—before an infestation—is to use Rhino Skin – a foliar application potassium silicate product that basically puts a coat of armor on your plants (protecting against pests & diseases). As a bonus, it maximizes resin glands too.
What you want to do is, like we said, first spray down your plants with water if possible. Just the pressure of the spray can remove and kill a lot of mites.
Then, you want to pick one of the insecticide options and use it to kill all the mites you can find. Spray it all over your plants, making extra sure to get the underside of leaves because that’s where the mites like to hide.
Make sure you also spray down all the other areas around your plants too. You don’t want mites hiding in your grow room and then making their way to your plants later.
Step 2: Do It Again, 2-3 Days Later…
Here’s the thing about mites…
Because of their reproductive schedule, they replicate very quickly. And for a host of other reasons, one “application” of killing them is not going to get rid of your problem.
What’s more: they generally get more “resistant” to whatever method you used to kill them.
In fact, many growers joke that mites turn into a “Zombie Army” if you don’t kill them because they get harder to kill.
That’s why, after your first fight with the mites, you want to pick a different method from the list of ways to kill them and go at it again.
Remember, when you’re using insecticides to spray your ENTIRE grow room area—not just the plants—because you want to make sure you’re killing the mites no matter where they’re hiding in your grow room.
Step 3: You Should Probably Repeat, One More Time…
The general consensus is that you can probably kill all the living mites in the first 2 passes with your chosen method of extermination.
The problem is that some species of mites can take days or even weeks to mature and start attacking your plants in the future!
That’s why it’s a good idea to use this rule of thumb: if you think you killed them all, then wait a few days and go ahead and do it one more time just to be sure.
Step 4: Go Back To Prevention Mode…
Once you’ve done your best to make sure you’ve killed any mites in your garden, then you need to re-circle back to the very first thing you should be doing for mite control: prevention.
In other words, you’ll want to follow all the steps under “How To Prevent Mites” at the beginning of this article.
If you’ve successfully eradicated the first infestation, then by paying extra attention to prevention afterwards, you can hopefully make it all the way to a great harvest with no more problems!
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