Russet and broad mites are tiny garden pests that can wreak havoc on cannabis plants, stunting their growth and destroying your yields.

In this article, we take a look at both broad and russet mites and show you exactly how to treat them.

WHAT ARE BROAD/RUSSET MITES?

Broad mites, also known as Polyphagotarsonemus latus, are a garden pest that can be regularly found on a variety of plants, including grape vines, apple trees, and of course, cannabis.

Despite their name, broad mites are tiny, with female mites measuring roughly 0.2mm and males measuring only 0.1mm. They can be found around the world, especially in greenhouses.

On cannabis plants, broad mites tend to lay eggs on the underside of new leaves. This is usually where they dwell and feed, leaving behind a toxic saliva that causes malformations and stunts the development of cannabis plants.

Broad Mites In Cannabis Plants

Russet mites, or Aceria anthocoptes, are another type of microscopic mite that can affect cannabis and hemp plants.

Similar to broad mites, russet mites measure about 0.17mm. However, they tend to dwell on lower parts of the plant, gradually working their way up, feeding off lower leaves and foliage.

Russet mites feed off sap from the plant, slowly robbing it of nutrients. This in turn stunts the plant’s growth, affecting its ability to flower come harvest time. Unlike broad mites, however, they are particularly attracted to flower resin, meaning they’ll often attack cannabis buds.

What makes broad and russet mite infestations so detrimental is the fact that the mites aren’t visible to the naked eye. Plus, the symptoms of these mites are similar to those of nutrient deficiencies or pH imbalances, making them even harder to detect.

The symptoms of russet and broad mites are usually characterised by yellowing foliage and stems, curling and/or drooping leaves, and stunted growth. Foliage affected by these mites might appear glossy or wet-looking, while buds will begin to brown and eventually die.

If left unchecked, both mites will continue to spread and reproduce, ultimately sapping an entire plant.

Broad Mites Close Up In Cannabis Leaf

HOW TO TREAT BROAD OR RUSSET MITES IN CANNABIS PLANTS

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your plants, it's important you quickly identify the root cause of your problem.

Using at least 60x magnification, closely inspect the affected parts of your plants to identify the mites.

Remember, the symptoms of a mite infestation are similar to nutrient deficiencies and pH imbalances. Hence, you’ll want to make sure you’re 100% sure you’re dealing with mites before starting a treatment.

Once you’ve identified mites as the cause, it's time to treat your plants. Here are some different treatment methods for dealing with broad or russet mites on cannabis plants.

NEEM OIL

Neem oil is a great all-around solution for a wide variety of pests, including broad and russet mites. It is available from most grow shops and gardening supply stores.

Using neem oil is simple; just mix it in a mister according to the packet instructions and apply to the affected areas of your plant.

Keep in mind that neem oil will leave behind an unpleasant taste, so always avoid spraying it on your buds.

Also, while neem oil is an all-natural form of pest control, it can be very harsh. Hence, you won’t want to use it for much longer than necessary.

To limit your use of neem oil, we recommend applying it to your plants once, then monitoring their progress over the next 1-2 days before applying the oil a second time.

Pay close attention to the areas of your plants affected by the mites and make sure to check them with magnification after your first round of treatment. Then repeat this process as necessary until the mites are gone.

If you’re dealing with a hardcore infestation, feel free to apply neem oil on a daily basis. This will eventually kill off both broad and russet mites. Just remember that it’ll also put your plants under a lot of stress, so they’ll need a bit of extra TLC after the treatment is through.

Cannabis Plant With Broad Mites Infestation

ORGANIC INSECTICIDES

If neem oil isn’t enough to protect your plants from mites, we recommend using a natural insecticide like:

  • Essentria IC3: Essentria IC3 is made up of a mix of horticultural oils designed to manage a variety of garden pests. It can be applied directly to the plants using a mister and should be reapplied every 8-12 hours until the mites disappear.
  • Spinosad: Spinosad is an organic insecticide that kills pests on contact. Try applying it directly to the affected parts of your plant once a day for multiple days until the mites are gone.

INSECTICIDAL SOAPS

Insecticidal plant soaps are great for spot-treating parts of your plants affected by russet/broad mites.

This makes them ideal for use on smaller infestations as well as flowering plants. Just make sure to avoid getting the soap on your buds. Consider using them multiple times for best results.

OTHER OILS

Both essential plant oils and horticultural oils are becoming increasingly popular, especially among gardeners looking to avoid the harsh chemicals of regular insecticides. Some common natural oils used to control garden pests include eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, and cinnamon.

Just like neem oil, these oils can be mixed with water and applied liberally to the foliage of your plants with a mister. Just remember that these oils possess strong aromatic qualities that will affect the flavour and aroma of your plants; so avoid getting them on buds.

Chemical Fertilizers

CHEMICAL INSECTICIDES

Unfortunately, sometimes mites can be so hard to deal with they leave you no choice but to turn to time-tested chemical insecticides.

While these products contain harsh chemicals that’ll stress your plants and produce potentially toxic run-off, they are extremely effective at dealing with a wide variety of garden pests.

Most of these products are designed to be applied to the affected parts of the plants and left to work for extended periods of time. In some cases, you may need multiple applications to ensure the mites have left your plants.

After that, remember to thoroughly flush your soil. Then you can pump-up your nutrient routine again.

PREVENTING BROAD/RUSSET MITES IN THE FUTURE

When it comes to dealing with garden pests, it's always better to prevent than treat. Therefore, always make sure your plants are growing in a good environment with plenty of ventilation/circulation and the right temperature/humidity levels.

Plus, always make sure to inspect your plants regularly and act quickly as soon as you see any signs of stress. Mite infestations are much easier to handle when caught early.

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