Stop and Kill Russet Mites on your Cannabis Plants!

Russet Mites are a big problem with cannabis plants that are growing on the west coast of United States and it's moving eastward.

The mites can do some pretty good damage to the outdoor growers.

They are so small, and just hitch a ride in the wind or even on flying insects.

The same with indoor grows as well; hemp russet mites come from the outside go on clothes then infest your plants when you're least expecting it.

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These mites can go undetected for quite some time before you notice you have a real problem kind of like when spider mites infest your garden.

When your plants are infected, it may take some time to kill these invaders.

Let's check out some of the signs to see if they are invading your cannabis plants,

Signs of Russet Mites

  • May seem like an Over watering issue
  • Look like a type of nutrient deficiency
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Browning of leaves
  • Can be confused with the tobacco mosaic virus
  • Leaves show signs all over the marijuana plant not just in specific areas
  • Leave curl at edges
  • Can Look like heat burn, heat damage
  • Yellow or brown spots on leaves
  • New growth may be stunted
  • Leaves may droop
  • They will be next to the vein of the leaf, use microscope to diagnose
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Russet Mite damage to marijuana leaf

What are Hemp Russet Mites?

Russet Mites are tiny, when I mean small they are at a level where you require a microscope to see them.

The size of the russet mite is around . 0.2 mm, much smaller than spider mites. According to the Colorado State University.

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The hemp russet mite or also known as Aculops cannabicola have a pale beige body and leave no webs as spider mites do.

Russet mite life cycle is around 30 days at around 80 F.

The adults lay between 10 -50 eggs and what's crazy is the mites lay eggs inside the marijuana plant. Yes inside.

Which makes them very hard to get rid of.

You can find them living on leaves stems and branches.

Not only do they lay eggs inside your cannabis plants the russet mites feed on leaves.

The mites turn the leaf to chlorosis and necrosis. Then the leaves die.

Get this,

Russet mites also feed on resin when your cannabis plants are in the flowering stage.

So it’s best to stop these trichome hunters before your plant's switch over to flower.

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How your cannabis plants get Russet Mites

Here are some of the most common causes of an infestation.

Unclean grow space either outside or indoors.

Russet mites hide in greenhouses in the smallest corner.

Travel by the wind or on flying insects and from clothing.

Introduced to your garden via some potting soil mixes.

Can be found on contaminated clones or clippings.

Big problem for outdoor growers in the western US

Here is a short video of what they are like under a microscope,

How to kill Russet Mites

It is best to have some portable microscope if you don’t have one already for you to try and spot them if you suspect issues.

When treating your mite problem, it is best to start from the bottom of the cannabis plant to the top.

  • Start using beneficial nematodes
  • Remove old and infected leaves
  • Spray your IPM before the lights go out (never spray when your lights are going to be on for hours at a time)
  • Treat regularly and be diligent they are hard to get rid of and come back just like the spider mites
  • After you notice improvement continue for another month if possible before flower

Natural and Organic Remedies

Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol is a great inexpensive way to attack the adult russet mites.

Best to treat before flower, but will still work in early flower before the trichome development.  

Note this will not take care of the eggs , you will need another solution listed below.

Use a 1:1 ratio of 90 percent or higher alcohol with water and spray on your cannabis plants

Neem oil an excellent natural remedy to help your garden for a various number of issues known to be an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide.

The Neem oil can be used in getting rid of russet mites when applied at the early stage.

Do not use too often and not recommended in flower. It’s Recommended to use diluted with water.

Safer Soap is a 3 in 1 solution for mites, insecticides and a fungicides, this is USDA approved and can be used on organics.

It is not recommended to use past the second week of flower. Safer soap contains sulfur.

Green Cleaner is an all natural way to stop all kinds of mites hemp russet included. The ingredients are corn oil, soybean oil, iso alcohol, magnesium sulphate, quillaja saponaria, sodium chloride.

The great thing with green cleaner mites do not become immune to it! Check it out.

Insecticide soap is another way to stop the mites when first noticing them, made from plant derived fatty acids.

This soap will suffocate the mites and affect their feeding patterns. Remember to spray before the lights go out.

Enssentri ic3 is an insecticide that uses peppermint and rosemary wintergreen oil along with other organics.

Used to block the neurotransmitters of the insect. Also recommended for bed bugs.

This solution does not last too long on the plants only around 7-8 hours so multiple application may be required.

Diatomaceous earth is a natural food supplement that is made from fossilized plankton. Diatomaceous can also be used in the soil when growing to prevent hemp russet mites from infesting your plants it also contains silica.

This is just a preventive measure to stop the mites from infesting your plant.

For proper handling here is a resource from: The International Diatomite Producers Association (IDPA).

Beneficial nematodes can be used for growing outdoors when keeping soil out over the winter, can prevent a future outbreak in the spring and summer when your plants are starting back up.

Organocide is an organic 3 in 1 solution for miticide, insecticide, and fungicide. I have used it in root aphid outbreak.

Organocide uses all natural oils and ingredients. This may be an effective way to get rid of the mites for your garden.

Bugs and Predators

Lady bugs, a natural russet mites predator, can be introduced to your marijuana garden to try and eradicate the russet mite.

They like to eat the mites all day long. Usually, the ladybugs can be found at your local grow store or on Amazon with live delivery!

Predatory Mites such as Amblyseius cucumeris, A. fallacis, and A. swirskii). These predatory mites can be hung from the bottom of your plant's branches which should be stripped of leaves.

Mostly available through a beneficial insect supplier in your area.  Or even on Amazon!

Extreme Remedies

Avid is a crazy strong miticide that is not recommended because it is very expensive and harsh on your plants should be used as a last resort. Also, do not use avid when in flower if you attempt it.

Azamax is a product that can best use a s a 3 in 1 insect killer; it uses Azadirachtin with food grade formulation to stop your mites in its track, through starving a disrupting the nervous system.

Floramite is a very strong miticide just like avid and is not recommended to use with cannabis plants. If you do caution is strongly advised.

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Leaf curl

Conclusion

The hemp russet mites are a big problem for cannabis plants out there because they can go undetected for so long do to the fact that they are so small.

It's best to have a microscope to spot these destructive insects.

Make sure to treat on a regular basis if you have problems because it’s hard to get rid of russet mites.

If you're growing outdoors or in greenhouses in the western coastal us, your are bound to have them show up if you're not too careful.

Just try and keep diligent in preventive measures and keep an eye out for these cannabis plant killers.

These mites are very hard to kill and seem to become immune to some of the solutions recommended as noted from other growers in the community.

Don’t let that discourage you.

Keep up the fight.

Have you had russet mites infest your marijuana plants?

What did you use to stop them?

Let me know in the comments.

Grow on my friends.

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25 thoughts on “Stop and Kill Russet Mites on your Cannabis Plants!

  1. I just noticed these on my veg crop out here in San Diego so I did a solution of 1:1 91% rubbing alcohol and water. That killed them on contact and didn’t hurt the plants at all as a foliage application as the alcohol quickly evaporates, now for the eggs left behind I am going to try one of the above methods to completely kill everything off until it’s time to sterilize everything and put them over in the flower room.

    • Hi Bruce,
      That’s awesome, I have heard alcohol works but wasn’t certain. I will definitely keep it in mind if I these bastards are in my garden. Thanks man. I will update the post. Good Luck in getting rid of the rest.

  2. Safer soap liquid sulfur- omri listed and extremely effective on russet mites, nothing else I have tried will work like liquid sulfur- and never spray after week 2 in flower. May burn certain cultivars, but is worth it to kill russets- also eradicates PM

  3. Hi ive been devastated by russet mites. I never saw the effect of them before this year in my greenhouses in the coastal region of Oregon. The early signs look as a nitrogen deficiency with curling at the edge of leaves. My plants were 10′ tall and just starting in flowering. The buds looked brown as well as the trichomes as if they were past harvesting. Noting the sativa strains were not affected as much as the indicas. For the past 2 weeks i’ve been heavily foliar spraying with a few different methods to eradicate including Red Tail Microbial inoculant by Enviro, LCC (very pricey), Big Time Exterminator @ 3oz p/gal and finally Dr.Zyme’s Eliminator @ 1 cup per gallon. I seem to be gaining ground.

    My question is to anyone with russet mite damage, the affected flowers (brown) is there any potency left to them, can i processed the damaged flowers into oil concentrates with any positive results ? Or am i throwing good money after bad ?

    • Hi Dusti,
      That’s a real good question , my thoughts are the buds are badly damaged, It may be to late. As a medical users I would not even use it for concentrates. This is just my opinion. I am not sure if your herb would be salvageable. If there is anyone out there that could provide a answer it would be greatly appreciated.

  4. The russet mites will affect your thc as they suck the carbohydrates from the plant before it can be turned into thc , Cbd or terpenes . Seen test results as low as 7 percent thc on a plant that was infected to 17 on a plant that was not . Pyganic works wonders for them . I read the article but didn’t seem to find much on the eggs and killing them . I used heat 115 degrees and it seemed to kill a bunch . But they always come back

    • Hi Chet,
      Thanks for the info on these mites. Amazing the difference in thc count. Good to know Pyganic works for them to I hear its derived from chrysanthemum flowers. These mite are very hard to kill just like spider mites, even with extreme heat. I heard safer soap or green cleaner are good for getting rid of them.

  5. I have had these apocalyptic bastards for 3 crops indoor. I had just moved into a new house and got these plants from a club for my first run and didn’t know they were infected until the leaves started yellowing and then turned brown and the plant died right where it stood. So on my 3rd run, again the leaves started yellowing. I am spraying Big Time Exterminator every day and some were still moving but hopefully if I stay diligent I can at least have a harvest. But I always have half the harvest I normally would have because of these mites. I think the leaf curling that happens is actually from broad mites guys not russet mites. Broad mites you can kill with DE powder and russet mites chew it up and spit it up. Good luck in the battle!

  6. I’ve had a heavy infestation before and the things i used to get rid of them were forbid f4, avid, and azamax. Stay vigilant and keep spraying. I also bug bombed the room with pytherin bombs.
    Fast forward year and half later, i currently am fighting them again. Got them from infected clones i bought from a friend. I been having major trouble getting rid of them this time, so i went out and ordered hexagon and grandevo- my newest addition Miticides/pesticide. i bombed my room with pylon tr as well.
    I would say the 2 best bottles in my arsenal would be avid and forbid. If you’re willing to wage chemical war fare, then these are your best bet.
    Everything else is in case they build resistance, and for good measure. GL fighting the fight.

  7. man I hope you’re not letting people smoke that crap after you spray all of that shit on your plants… that’s straight up fucking gross and honestly the easy way out…. wetable sulfur then hit it with venerate (which is omri listed) then do a few releases of predatory mites to keep things in check get out of here with that nasty shit

  8. I’m a hemp/ med mj farmer in Oregon my infestation came on seeds from colorado . All the above work ! The best thing is preventative maintenance always assume you have a problem !! Never, never let up on weekly treatments until flower. Monterey Take Down, sulfur solutions and Neem oil with a dash of dish soap used in rotation will keep them at bay! Always remember this once you have them . They are there forever Peace

  9. If I use predator mites and lady bugs will the green cleaner kill them too? I just dont wanna get them if the green cleaner if just gonna off them too

  10. Hey everyone yeah I had a pretty bad outbreak of these f****** on my outdoor last year and I use neem oil pyganic and green clean don’t know if I actually kill them all but I stopped them at least about halfway up my plant and kept it from spreading to my other plants spreading to my other plants I took one outside clone in this year from a buddy and it has them too of course right in the middle of my garden but doesn’t seem to have affected any of my seed plants so I’ve been spraying the green clean and then I’m going to use predator mites good luck y’all they are a nightmare

  11. Thanks for this post and thread. I’m growing outdoor in Oregon and saw leaf edges beginning to taco. Went to local grow shop (Roots, great shop and super helpful to a newb like me!) and they scoped my leaves and found Russet Mites. They recommended sulfur, but I didn’t see much success. This could’ve been due to user error. I’ve since bought a handheld scope (Carson 60x-100x) and was able to spot active mites and eggs. Based on advice here, treated with 1:1 of Isopropyl and couldn’t find active mites on five different leaves I tested 12 hours after treatment. I did spot a handful of eggs. I plan to treat with Green Cleaner for the next couple of weeks. I’m now hopeful I may still get a decent harvest.

  12. Avid , forbid , floramite are not intended to be used for cannabis! You are poisoning the medicine. It is really a tragedy that anyone would encourage anyone to use this. Friends don’t let friends use poison on cannabis. Use soap and alcohol and mineral oil or canola oil.

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