Russet mite infestations can cause huge problems for growers. Russet or hemp mites are nearly impossible to detect with the human eye unless in large clusters you will need a microscope at 10x magnification to even detect them.
Their invisibility makes these mites a huge potential threat of becoming established in your plants long before you realize the damage being done.
Visible damage to the leaves of your plants is the first sign of trouble and often is mistaken for nutritional or mineral deficits.
What are Russet Mites
The russet mites only have two pairs of legs and their microscopic size means they are easily disbursed by the wind.
These troublesome crop destroying mites tend to multiply quickly in locations with intensive growing.
The female russet mites place their eggs inside the stems of the plants and where the twig joins the stem.
The humid and moist conditions ideal for growing crops facilitates a rapid reproduction rate of the mites, leading to an infestation quite rapidly if not treated in the early stages.
These russet mites are known as sap suckers, working at the cellular level of the plants, eating their way from the bottom of the plants towards the end of the leaves.
The first sign of trouble is when the lower leaves begin curling and turning yellow as the nourishment of the plant is being sucked away by the mites.
The longer the infestation persists, the less green and budding will occur in the plants.
The mites are attracted to the resin in the plants, hiding in the flowers where they can cause the most damage.
How Do You Get Rid of Russet Mites
Preventative measures are the best recourse for eliminating the infestation of the russet mites. Close scrutiny of your crop on a regular basis is essential for early detection.
Growers need to be especially vigilante about accidentally introducing the mites to their crops by bringing in infected soils or plants to a healthy crop.
While checking for magnesium or iron deficiency in the plants, it is always a good idea to treat for mites by amending the soil. Removing the first generation of russet mites can eliminate numerous generations from laying eggs.
Treating outdoor plants for russet mites is important because this is where they will be most commonly found due to the warm environment.
As temperatures warm, introduce nematodes to the soil, they will destroy the mite eggs once they hatch.
The second round of nematodes will wipe out the rest of the mite population. Avoid fertilizing too much, the excess nitrogen attracts the russet mites.
Releasing predatory mites will stop infestations, as well as neem oil, which will repel then kill the mite population.
Keep a close eye on the crops because as the mites scramble to escape, they seek refuge in nearby plants.
Treating indoor plants for a russet mite infestation is more controlled. Know your grower if you are bringing in plants to your growing space.
Keep the entire growing space clean, avoid bringing tools used outside to treat indoor plants.
Releasing spider mites periodically in your grow house will keep the russet mites at bay. If you see signs of infestation, adjust room temperatures to slow down the mite breeding cycles.
This should buy you enough time to treat the plants before the new generation is spawned.
Canola and neem oil sprays will stop mite infestations, as well as a good cleaning of the grow spaces.
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Do you have experiences with Russet Mites? Or a new way to get rid of them? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.