They are tremendously small to observe with the naked eye while to see an individual mite magnification lens is complimentary having a minimum of 14X power. Due to their minute size, noticed only when sizeable damage is already done. Their presence causes the removal of cell contents from the leaves, fruits, and tender stems when they are present enormously on the damaged leaves resulting in the russeting of leaves that further leads to yellow or brown spotting of the leaves. Foliage visibly becomes brittle and may occasionally break from the leaf petiole whereas their presence on the stem turns it into an insignificant bronze color. The suppression in the flower bud growth and size is observed upon infestation if not handled when they attacked the plant’s upper foliage.
If not properly treated, russet mite damages the entire foliage of your plants. Immediate response is needed when such symptoms begin to appear on the gardening plant before it spreads all around. The best possible treatment that can lead to getting rid of russet mites includes the following.
How to get rid of russet mites on cannabis plant
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#1 CONSERVE – Naturalyte Insect Control (Chemical – Editors’ Choice)
Conserve contains 0.5% active ingredient that is Spinosad in Soluble Concentrate formulation under OMRI listing and safe for organic gardening of vegetables, fruits and edible greens in your garden space. Spinosad is good to use against the variety of sucking, chewing and boring pests on all types of garden plants including russet mites and broad mites. Spinosad also targets a variety of beetles, corn earworms and fruitflies in the garden.
Add 2 ounces of this concentrate in 1 gallon of water and spray your edible plants thoroughly using a mist sprayer in the way that the plant’s foliage is completely washed. Organic products are safe to spray until the time of harvest in your organic garden.
#2 Predatory Mites – Neoseiulus californicus (Natural – Editors’ Choice)
Hemp russet mites (Aculops cannibicola) start feeding on the plant cells through inserting their sucking mouthparts which drain out the sap of the plants that turn the leaves slightly upward and curly along the edges. Hemp russet mites seem proficient in living and replicating on the Cannabis if grown in the greenhouse or hydroponics culture due to the steady environment. Though their presence on the outdoor Cannabis plants is also noticed during the hot and humid climate. This clearly shows that they have the ability to survive under the variety of climatic conditions indoor & outdoor as well. The predatory mites (Neoseiulus californicus) is the seamless answer for different types of growing conditions for Cannabis. Generally, 5-10 predatory mites are recommended to release in 1 square feet area that can be increased on severe infestations. It can be released once, biweekly or when desired. They are also considered the best biological control on higher temperatures without any harmful effects on Cannabis. Slow & gentle release is recommended as per label instructions.
#3 Amblyseius swirskii-ULTIMITE sachets by Natural Enemies
Amblyseius swirskii is another good control for Russet or broad mites on Cannabis and vegetables, indoors. These predatory mites are often released in hot and humid climatic conditions like a greenhouse. It preys on thrips, spider mites and especially russet mites on all gardening plants. The best results can be obtained by handing the Amblyseius swirskii-ULTIMITE slow-release sachets to the height of plants foliage. Moreover, they spread and develop a fairly good pace in the crops having a good pollen set due to their feeding on them. It is also considered heavy feeder of russet mite on cucumbers, gerbera, eggplants, and peppers on 68°F and above.
#4 Yellow Sulfur Powder Greenway Biotech
The problem arises in growing Cannabis indoor using Hydroponics or in the greenhouse because the Russet mite Cannabis has the capability to infest such plants due to their minute size. They enter the closed environment with some carrying agents or through the cervices in the structure of the greenhouse. While growing indoor there are the chances of suffocation for the workers or labor involved. It needs the utmost care to apply such insecticides that are less harmful to the environment or workers and has organic nature. Although Greenway or any other Sulfur is always listed as a fungicide, they perform exceptionally well against the Acari family and have drastic control on all types of mites on Cannabis plants. Moreover, organic elemental Sulfur products can be used well before harvests. It contains 99% active elemental Sulfur and can be safely used on all of your edible greens including Cannabis, Vegetables, and Fruits.
Add 1 to 2 teaspoons near the stem of the plants and water. Its slow-release product and will eliminate russet mite on Cannabis along with enhancing the vigor of the plants.
#5 Abamectin 0.15 Ec Generic Avid-Quart
Tomato russet mite (Aculops lycopersiciis) another harmful pest that causes russeting on the lower leaves and stem of the plant. These damages are often noticeable when the green tomato fruit reaches to 1 inch in size. Its scare on green tomato gives rise to caterpillars in the ripened fruit. Avid contains 0. 15% abamectin as an active ingredient in EC formulation that is considered the best Insecticide and miticide to control leaf miners, spider mites and russet mites on Tomato plants while it suppresses the activity of other pests like whiteflies, thrips, and aphids. Its application on the outdoor edible greens and ornamentals is trusted by the growers and pest control professionals across the globe. It’s a contact poison that clears the plants in 1 or 2 successive applications.
Add 2.5 ml of the Abamectin in 1 gallon of water and spray the entire plant foliage using a high-pressure hand-held sprayer. Repetition can be done after 15 days provided the infestation continues on your vegetables and fruit plants.
#6 Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract by Garden Safe
Neem oil extracts always contain Azadirachtin that acts as fungicides, miticide, and insecticide all together. Moreover, they are safe products to be used in organic gardening. It contains 70% Neem oil extract that is in the concentrated form to be used on vegetables, fruits, herbs, and Cannabis plants without fears of residual effects. Azadirachtin is considered the best insecticide to eggs, larvae and adult stages of the russet mites including fungus diseases such as Powdery mildews and molds along with controlling spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies on the gardening plants whereas it can be sprayed on the edible greens till the day of the harvest.
Add 2 ounces in 1 gallon of water using a mist sprayer to spray on the vegetable plants including tomatoes and peppers to get rid of russet mites immediately. Preferable spray timing is in the evening. Water your plants immediately after spraying to avoid any sort of stress.
#7 Green Cleaner Sprayer Home Pest Control
Green Cleaner Home Pest Control is entirely a different formula that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Citric acid, Isopropyl alcohol in Soybean oil as their emulsifier. 3 Active agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Citric acid, and Alcohol kill russet mites in 3-way action. i.e. Anti-molting, contact poison, and ovicidal effects hence its only application gives the clear field to the growers in gardening greens. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Soybean are contained 19% and 39% in the formulation respectively. The biggest advantage of using such a multi-action formula is no resistance from the pests anyways.
Add 1-2 ounces of green cleaner in 1 gallon of water and spray on all parts of the plants including foliage, floral parts, tender shoots and stem whereas it is safe to spray on the day of harvest, even.
What are Russet Mites?
Russet mites are minute, microscopic pests living beneath the surface of the leaves on in the lower foliage that measure around 0.17 mm to 0.22 mm when fully developed.
Russet mite identification is only possible using a microscope but their colonies can be seen with the naked eyes upon heavy infestations on the lower foliage that start moving upward to infest upper foliage and buds in the Cannabis.
Being sucking pests, they suck sap from the leaf tissues causing stunting & inability to produce healthy buds on the hemp. The most common symptoms associated with their infestations are yellowing in the leaves, weaker stems and upward curling of the leaves margins that appear wet in the beginning and die ultimately. Adult russet mites have pale fawn body color and are capable to lay 10-50 in a single day depending on the temperature and humidity. Russet mite eggs are round and clear that are laid on the undersides of the leaves and plant curvatures on the Cannabis whereas the egg-laying starts in the spring that continues to increase with the surrounding temperatures. Passing through two developmental stages, Russet mites become adult in 10-15 days while their average life cycle comprises of 30 days under favorable conditions (80 F).
Where do mites come from?
There are several ways that favor russet mites to enter your indoor gardens to infest your plants. They are adaptable to overwinters in the form of eggs. Hatching starts on getting favorable conditions in the spring. Their infestation on the greenhouse plants is possible from the edges or corners or with the materials brought from outside into your space. Other possible reasons to infest your garden include already infested seedling, migration through birds, water splashes and birds, potting soil and mixtures brought into your garden.
Different Broad Mites vs Russet Mites
One may confuse with both because they affect plants in a similar way and are invisible under the leaves during the early stages of their infestations. However, they do have a separate position in our mites’ list. Both have the same life cycle time i.e. 8-15 days, this time may vary with climate and temperature conditions.
- Broad mites have 4 different development stages; whereas, Russet mites have only two.
- Broad mites’ eggs are colorless, elliptical in shape and luminous; whereas, eggs of Russet mites are clear, and round in shape.
- Broad mites have 6-8 legs; on the other hand, Russet mites have only two front legs.
- Broad mites are oval in shape, whereas, Russet mites are wedge-like.
- The damage caused by Russet mites is more lethal than the one caused by the Broad mites.
- Both drain the plants’ nutrients and caused their leaves to turn yellowish, dull and turned from the edges.
- Both affect the whole growth of the plant, not only the growth of leaves and buds.
How to prevent russet mites?
These tips will definitely help you to stop the flare of Russet mites on both outdoor and indoor gardening environments;
- Upon heavy infestations, heat your grow room to 115°F for continuously one hour as Russet mites can’t survive on these temperatures but take care as any extraordinary fluctuations may have adverse effects on your Cannabis plants such as heat stress or burning.
- Sterilize your greenhouse or gardening soil to kills pathogens and russet mites’ eggs using steam whereas in the open field direct exposure to sunlight will also help stop their infestation.
- Avoid using infected gardening tools and accessories along with gardening potting mixtures that may carry eggs.
- Always work on the early detection methods to see any possible signs of infestation on the leaves near stem in outdoor farming and middle foliage in the indoor growing.
- Continue removing all infested leaves, tender shoots and stems and the entire plants on noticing heavy infestations including the undecomposed organic litter and debris.
- Always work on the hygiene of your grow space with your focus on the plant health by feeding them with the proper nutrient solutions avoiding excessive nitrogen applications.
- Introduce beneficial nematodes & predatory mites just before temperatures begin to rise in the gardening area.
While growing indoors, be careful about the use of insecticides that have residual effects or fumigates that can affect the health of workers but always choose natural & organic techniques without compromising health. What kills mites is not an issue rather how to kill russet mites is more important that depends on your choice and need;
How to kill russet mites naturally?
#8 Safer Diatomaceous Earth
DE contains Silicon Dioxide 85% which is derived from the fossilized rocks while no chemical is added in the product. Its control action is totally physical as the bugs and mites are trapped inside the tiny pores of the structure that stops their further movement hence they die of dehydration. DE also stops the molting of the russet mites and they can’t move to the next developmental stage. Being a physical control, there are no chances to develop any resistance against this product. Spreading DE as a thin layer on the surface of the soil near the stem of the plants will not allow the russet mites to infect neighboring plants. A thin layer can also be applied on the surface of the leaves and soil as well in the greenhouse.
#9 Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70%
Isopropyl Alcohol or Rubbing Alcohol is best to stop infestations of the russet mites on early signs. You can use 1 part Rubbing Alcohol and 3 parts of water to wash leaves of the infested plants manually if you are growing a small number of plants. Another best way is to use the same solution for spraying on the plant foliage using a high-pressure hand-sprayer so that the mixtures drains down to the stem. It kills russet mites on contact only. Stronger mixtures can be prepared if it is supposed to be prepared against Russet mites on the Cannabis plant as they are fairly tolerant of Alcohol. Test Rubbing Alcohol solution on smaller parts prior to spraying on the entire foliage of the plants. This is an organic and a natural remedy so there is no harm for the gardeners to use it on all edible greens.
#10 All Seasons Horticultural Oil Spray Ready To Spray
Another best option to stay organic if you are growing Cannabis or vegetables and fruits in your grow space. This ready to use spray contains 98% mineral oil extracted from the naturally occurring sources to works exceptionally well against russet mites and broad mites with its efficacy to kill adults and eggs as well. Just connect this ready to use Horticultural oil spray with the garden hose and the horticultural oil will mix into the flowing water gradually and slowly.
Can russet mites live on humans?
Russet mites don’t have such evidence to live on humans but they can come in contact with humans causing irritations or annoyance when present in the great numbers. These irritations can be on the skin but they are not associated with the harmful or viral diseases since they don’t transmit such problems.
Discussion as Anonymous
Thank you for the information !Comment by Anneezyon
Just found russet mites on my outdoor seed plants and there full of buds what to doComment by Mendoon
I am having trouble with my cannabis I need something to use to kill russet mites that won’t harm the the flower.Comment by Shanrayon
Wettable Sulpher.Comment by Cannabison
Had the worst infestation of russet mites last year and nothing would totally get rid of them… except alcohol! They were so bad I could literally see the buds shrinking throughout the day. I finally had had enough and made a 50/50 mix of isoprophyl alcohol (90%) and water and sprayed my flowering plants buds and all and even harvested buds that were drying. Each time it would seem like I had wiped them out, but the problem was that the infestation was so bad throughout the grow and drying area that they always came back from somewhere.. I even ended up spraying harvested buds many times throughout their drying cycle after testing it on one with a microscope and seeing that it did not harm the crystals at all!Comment by Jakezon
Thanks for the shitty alcohol tip Jakez. I tried it, and it killed half of my plants for my next crop… DO NOT USE ALCOHOL!!! It doesn’t kill the russet mites, but it does kill your plants.
I used some Hotshot Pest strips, which wiped out the russet mites in 24 hours. Just hang a couple of these strips in your room, with the exhaust fans off. They are cheap and work fast. Problem solved.Comment by donkeyon