broad mites symptoms cannabis

Got Broad (Russet) Mites? How To Detect, Prevent And Treat Broad Mites On Cannabis Plants

When it comes to pest problems and cannabis plants, broad or russet mites are about the worst of the worst. These small mites are microscopic and virtually impossible to spot with the naked eye. However, small and mighty, they’re powerful enough to destroy whole gardens. With that information alone, you can see why russet mite identification or their early signs would be important for any grower to know. Here, we’ve compiled a complete guide to broad mites on cannabis so you can be prepared and avoid the damage they can cause.

What Are Broad And Russet Mites?

Broad and russet mites are similar in nature, so the terms over the years have become interchangeable. Scientifically, broad mites are classified as polyphagotarsonemus latus while russet mites are aceria anthocoptes. Both types of mites behave in a similar fashion, hence their grouping in the industry. Both species not only affect cannabis but a wide range of plants like peppers, tomatoes and grapevines.

Small Plants

What Kind Of Damage Can A Russet Or Broad Mite Cause?

Most growers would agree that mites are like weapons of mass destruction. The damage from russet mites begins small but grows rapidly. Without treatment, you’re more than likely to lose your entire crop. What makes russet mites so destructive is their extensive eating habits. In comparison to other mite groups, broad mites eat and attack the most.

Broad mites feed off plants, fungi, many predators, parasites and even sap. This eventually leads to the depletion of nutrients, stunting the overall growth of the plant. Even worse, russet mites are especially attracted to the resin that cannabis flowers produce, so even buds aren’t safe from their overeating.

To understand the detrimental effects that russet and broad mites on cannabis can cause, we’ll review the signs and symptoms of their deterioration on crops.

Broad And Russet Mites on Cannabis And Signs To Watch For

Since these mites are microscopic, you’ll need to know what signs to look out for before you’ll be able to recognize them for yourself. What you may be able to find, however, are russet or broad mite eggs. Broad mites tend to lay their eggs on the backside of new growing leaves. If your plants are showing signs of distress or nutrient deficiency, this is something you can check for.

Unfortunately, signs of russet mites will appear in other visible ways, too. Here are a few of the most tell-tale signs or russet mite symptoms.

  • Altered leaf texture – Leaves may appear wet or, conversely, look scorched or blistered. This also includes leaf edges turning upward.
  • Funky new growth – New growth will begin drooping or may grow in a twisted fashion.
  • Concentrated areas – If you spot certain areas visibly affected than others, this is normally due to a concentration or infestation of mites.
  • Buds dying off – When flowering, russet mites have the ability to completely kill a bud. You’ll notice the nug turning brown while dying.

Adding to russet mite identification issues is that many of the signs mimic other common issues such as overwatering, pH problems, unhealthy roots or heat stress. Whenever you’re investigating one of these issues, it might be time to take a closer look for the specific signs of russet or broad mites.

So now that you know how to spot russet and broad mite symptoms, let’s learn more about how to get rid of these mites if you ever have to do so.

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Successfully Treating Broad Or Russet Mites On Cannabis

Fortunately, there are a few treatments you can use to work against russet or broad mite-infested gardens or plants. If you’ve caught the signs early enough, the treatments will be worth the cost to save the health of your crop – because let’s be honest, if you don’t implement proper treatment after spotting the signs, you’ll be losing out on far more.

First, you’ll want to cut off or dispose of any severely infected parts of the plant. Completely remove any damaged leaves, stems or nugs on which russet or broad mite damage is visible. From there, here are a few solutions and treatment options you can use to kill the mites.

Neem Oil & Other Natural Oils

To remain compliant or within organic standards, neem is a natural oil that’s recommended for russet mite control. This option is quite effective and can be applied in the form of a foliar spray frequently, but if indoors, watch your light distance to avoid burning from oil residue.

Insecticidal Soaps

Like oils, insecticidal soaps are safe to use on plants and are helpful when used in accordance with other treatments. They’re safe to use during the flowering stage, unlike some insecticides, but avoid using directly on buds to avoid altering the taste or smell.

Predatory Mites

Mites versus mites are by far the most organic option and adds an additional layer of eradication. Any Neoseiulus-type mites will work against the broad or russet mite populations.

Cannabis Strains For Beginners

Organic Insecticides

Essentria IC3, Spinosad and Talstar are ideal organic insecticides. Essentria and Spinosad can be applied daily for additional russet or broad mite control, while Talstar has a residual effect of up to 30 days and can then be re-applied if needed. There are a number of chemical insecticides available to kill broad mites as well if you’re interested in eradicating with that type of solution.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to use your mite treatment choice frequently, sometimes even daily, with extreme infestations. Make sure you monitor the stress of your plants and adjust your treatment solutions accordingly.

Tips To Avoid And Prevent Broad And Russet Mites

As you can see, broad and russet mite control is essential for any operation. To ensure the prevention of any infestations, keeping a clean working environment comes first. Make sure your growing area has proper air circulation and ventilation to allow for ideal airflow, so never forget to invest in fans, vent and exhaust system. The correct temperature of 20–30°C (70–85°F) and humidity levels of around 40-50% will likewise help to deter pest infestations.

Keep An Eye On Broad And Russet Mites

At times, growing cannabis can feel like a game of prevention and promotion. While treating your plants with ultimate care for growth, you’re also having to combat other common issues. Russet and broad mites are an issue that affects many growers, but usually only once. After experiencing their intense damaging effects, those growers take every precaution not to have to kill broad or russet mites again. With the information you’ve gained today, you can now monitor your own garden for the early signs of broad and russet mites, implement prevention measures, and treat successfully if necessary.

Russet and broad mites are an issue that affects many growers. Here, we’ve compiled a complete guide to broad mites on cannabis so you can be prepared and avoid the damage they can cause

Most Common Pests In Cannabis: Broad Mites

Broad mites are extremely small bugs that can attack your crops and even though they weren’t as common as other pests in cannabis, their appearance in cannabis crops indoors and outdoors has increased lately, as cannabis becomes legalized and more popular.

1. What are broad mites?

Broad mites are scientifically known as Polyphagotarsonemus latus , they occur mainly in temperate climates and can attack a wide range of plants, from vegetables to fruits to ornamental plants but it wasn’t common to see them on cannabis crops until cannabis became more popular and growing cannabis more and more legalized.

These microscopic species of mites are found especially in fruit crops but also affect cannabis plants. They feed on your plant, leaving behind their toxic saliva, and because they’re tiny, it’s super hard to spot and deal with them.

2. What do Broad mites look like?

Broad mites belong to the family of mites, just like spider mites and russet mites they have four pairs of legs, a medium-sized mandible and they’re of a yellowish-white with white hairs on their body but are considerably smaller, unlike other mites, broad mites are almost imperceptible to the naked eye so you need a microscope to identify them.

Without special equipment, you’ll only be able to spot them once their population has grown too much and you can see the egg clusters throughout your plant, we recommend being 100% certain of the type of mite you have before starting the treatment.

Cannabis plants can suffer from three different mites, here’s a table to help you identify them properly.

Broad Mites Russet Mites Spider Mites
Size 0.2mm 0.17mm 1mm
Color Brown, yellow or white Milky-white, beige or yellow Reddish-brown or greenish-yellow
Appearance Oval-shaped with 6 legs Elongated with 4 legs Rounded with 8 legs

Just make sure you don’t mistake broad mites for russet or spider mites, even though these bugs look similar and the symptoms look practically the same, it’s essential you identify them before starting the treatment.

3. Where are broad mites found?

Because of their tiny size, broad mites can hide in the crevices of the branches and besides the “veins” of the leaves, but they prefer the newer growth to lay their eggs so if you suspect they’re attacking your plants, you will most likely spot them on the underside of the new leaves and branches.

Be 100% sure you’re dealing with broad mites before starting treating your cannabis plants. Broad mites are microscopic so you need a loupe or a microscope to be able to start and deal with them before the infestation gets out of control.

It’s worth to invest in a tool to identify a broad mite infestation early, before it gets out of control.

4. What do Broad mites do?

Even though mites are a source of infections, the main damage comes from their bites 1 .

Broad mites suck out the nutrients from the leaves and branches which inhibits photosynthesis and also drain all other liquids from the plants, stunting growth and ultimately killing the leaves and every other affected part.

These insects also leave their saliva behind, these wet spots combined with the damage from their bites can cause easily serious diseases and the appearance of fungi.

5. Broad mites symptoms

Because these bugs are super hard to see with the naked eye, you can easily confuse the symptoms for:

  • Heat stress ;
  • Overwatering;
  • pH problems;
  • Root problems;
  • or other signs of deficiencies.

There are a couple of ways to know what’s really going on.

The first sign that can guide you into knowing if your plants are being attacked by broad mites is if the affected plant growth is the newer one, broad mites prefer new plant growth to lay their eggs and feed on so if you see the top part of your plant has a wet look, the new leaves are growing twisted or you see yellow spots on the top leaves, it’s most likely because you have broad mites.

Also, as the infection progresses, you will see the leaves starting to curl up and the leaves browning and the tips dying, if your plant is already flowering and the mites attack the buds, you’ll see them turning brown and dying, so it’s essential to take action as soon as you see early symptoms.

6. How to prevent them?

Preventing broad mites can be hard because they can come with animals, with the wind or infected clones.

If you think you can suffer from this mites, you’ll have to spray regularly with neem oil or a pesticide of your choice, have in mind that spraying your plants regularly can stress your plants so it’s better to do it with organic products and if you are sure they can attack your plants.

7. How to deal with them?

If you’re already suffering from a broad mite infection, it’s essential you take action immediately.

The first thing you should do after identifying 2 you have these mites on your plants is removing the infected parts, this will reduce the population and prevent it from spreading to the rest of the plant and to the other plants around.

After removing the infected parts of your plant, you’ll have to start a treatment, you will have to spray with insecticidal products up to 3-4 times a week or even daily, depending on the gravity of the infestation, remember that spraying with the lights on can burn your plants so it’s better to do it when the lights are turned off.

Even if you think you have completely eliminated them, continue spraying for 4-5 weeks more, this will prevent them from coming back, it’s crucial they don’t come back because the second time they’ll be resistant to the product you’ve been using and you have to buy another one and this can have a toll on your plant so after you’re 100% sure you’ve taken care of them all continue the treatment for up to a month after they’re gone.

8. In conclusion

Broad mites are just like every other mite but due to their microscopic size, it can be extremely hard to spot them without the proper equipment if you see the newer plant growth developing with yellow spots or with deformed leaves, make sure you take the actions needed as soon as possible.

If you have tips or tricks to help fellow growers get rid of broad mites, please leave us a comment below!

Broad mites are extremely tiny insects that feed on the content of the newer plant growth and can end up killing your plant if not spotted early.