Spider mites are part of the Acari family tetranchidae , which includes just about 1200 species. They thrive in a hot , dry conditions and usually live on the undersides of the leaf or at least in the beginning of an infestation but they will slowly take over the top sides before starting to web .
The most common ways these bugs get into your gardens are from:
-A dirty grow room
-Bringing them in on your clothes
-Outside air (intake)
-Time of year can play a factor
And about 50% of growers will have mites at some point in their growing cycle.
The most popular methods to prevent or eliminate spider mites are:
1) Neem oil (preventative)
Neem oil is a vegetable based product that is derived from the Neem tree. Although banned by Health Canada for LP’S , it’s texture and smell has been proven to deter spider mites from ever entering the plants. Neem oil would be ineffective once spots have been identified or while in flower but the recipe as a preventative measure would be.
6 ML per L of luke warm water and do not apply more then every 10 days or it will build up over time and cause damage. Some growers add a drop of soap to help it mix better with water.
2) Insects or predators which includes:
Lady bug’s , Lady bug’s are only effective at eating thrips and do not eat the amount of spider mites required to exterminate the problem. A more effective predator would be:
Phytoseiulus persimilis is a mite of its own and is red in colour and have been produced commercially for years, (Phytoseiulus persimilis) are an effective biological control for use against the two spotted spider mite. These natural enemies do not bite people, feed on other insects or injure plants. Once released, they will immediately begin searching for food on the underside of leaves. These predators should take control of a mild infestation in two to three weeks. On heavier infestations a second release may be required. These mites are extremely aggressive in terms of how many spider mites they consume on a daily basis but the amount required for the job can add up to quite the bill. The recommended recipe would be 10x the amount of Phytoseiulus to the spider mites or one container for a 10×10 area for a complete extermination of spider mites.
C02 intoxication (treatment) – We have heard of many growers talking about how subjecting your room or individual plants to a PPM level of 2000+ can literally choke any life form in the room. However this method would simply not work based upon the fact that Spider mites breath through pours in their skin rather then having lungs.
SOAP- Even though this is not an organic method we decided to through it in anyway. Hundreds of testimonials have been created claiming that soap could be an effective treatment for spider mites. Soap may somewhat slow the process but it is definitely not an effective method as the mites will continue to multiply after the soap applications have been ceased.
Out of all of the options above , we would recommend to use Neem oil to quarantine any new plants or start applying the Neem every 10 days after the 3rd set of leafs have developed . This will greatly reduce your chances of ever getting mites and if you do still end up getting mites for what ever reason then we would recommend to purchase some Phytoseiulus persimillis to exterminate them for good.