A common problem all growers must deal with is pest control. This is especially true if your operation involves growing outdoors like ours. An outdoor facility enjoys the benefits of absorbing natural sunlight, openness, and the direct connection to the earth like it would in its natural environment. This is also an invitation for bugs and critters to become attracted to your plants.
The Spider Mite
A natural enemy of hemp is spider mites. Spider mites are miniature arachnids, meaning they are related to the larger version of a spider. They are less than 1mm in size, have 8 legs and spin a network of silky webs. They enjoy the underside of the leaves where they will begin to break down the cell wall and feed on the chlorophyll. Spider mites are difficult to detect early on but are clearly visible when their network expands. Spider mites reproductive growths favours hot and dry environments while they are most active under humid conditions. Under optimal conditions, a female spider mite can have, on average, 20 eggs per day and can live up to 4 weeks. A spider mite can become sexually mature in as little as 5 days. This rapid growth can easily destroy crops and with generations of spider mites becoming resistant to pesticides.
How Spider Mites Travel
Infestations are common in outdoor areas because the surrounding vegetation could already have a colony of spider mites. Infestations could also occur in enclosed indoor facilities. Spider mites are microscopic so they are easily carried by the wind and can attach themselves onto clothing or other plants. A person walking into an indoor facility can transfer the spider mites onto a plant without ever knowing it. Installing bug screens on all your intake vents may filter some spider mites out but at the expense of dramatically lowering your room’s air flow. Since spider mites can be introduced into your environment in many ways, the best remedy is to be ahead
How To Deal With Spider Mites
The best way to prevent an outbreak of spider mites, or any pest, is to inspect your plants often and take preventative measures. We like to keep our products organic and free of any contaminants or chemicals. Besides, no one likes to smoke or consume a product that is covered in pesticides. Pesticides and other chemicals can remain on the bud and altering its natural flavour. By having a natural pest management plan, we can effectively prevent our crop from having an infestation of any kind. One of our solutions involves introducing ladybugs. Ladybugs are grower’s best friend. They are beautiful flying beetles that are harmless to humans but are vicious predators to spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and many other soft-bodied insects. The ladybugs we commonly see in North America were originally introduced from Europe in the late 1900s as a means of controlling the aphid population. A single ladybug can consume up to 100 spider mites in a single day and thousands throughout its 2 to 3 year lifespan.