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Assessing Early Russet Mite Damage to Cannabis

russet mite damage

Cannabis plants are susceptible to pests. But with prompt action and the correct treatment, even the most persistent pests, such as broad and russet mites, may be contained to a manageable level. The microscopic garden pests known as russet mites may cause significant damage to cannabis plants, including stunted development and lost harvests.

In this piece, we investigate the problem of russet mites and provide an approach to eliminating them.

What are russet mites?

The tiny mites known as russet mites (Aceria anthocoptes) may cause damage to cannabis and hemp plants. The average size of a russet mite is 0.17mm, making it around the same size as a broad mite. However, they prefer to stay near the ground and make their way up the plant, nibbling on the lower leaves and stems as they go.

As the mites steadily consume the plant’s sap, the plant’s health begins to deteriorate. As a result, the plant’s development is stunted, and it cannot produce flowers in time for harvest. The cannabis bud is a common target because these pests are drawn to floral resin, unlike broad mites.

How to Detect Hemp Russet Mite Leaf Damage

Russet mites are a manageable nuisance if the visible signs and symptoms of an infestation are detected early. However, the mite is hard to see even with a hand lens. This bug is so tiny that only a microscope will do. Plant cultivators, however, may learn to identify the signs of leaf and flower damage caused by common pests and take preventative measures using natural methods.

Cannabis leaf bites

Since they are familiar with the whole cycle of the crop and its problems, skilled farmers can notice even the smallest changes in their plants. They have a firm grasp of typical plant development and can easily recognize deviations. Constantly inspecting for pests and fixing the damage they do is essential for effective pest management.

Yellowing at the leaf edges that extends to the leaf midrib

One of the common signs of hemp russet mite damage during the vegetative stage includes leaves becoming yellow from the margins inside toward the midrib. Mites, which produce the yellowing, eat the insides of plant cells. Leaf margins may become burnt and necrotic as the damage worsens. The leaves may have a rough, crinkled, and stunted appearance. The symptoms of nutritional shortages, fertilizer burn, or a virus are sometimes misdiagnosed as the pattern of yellowing and dead leaf margins.

Canoeing, also known as the upward curving of the leaves

One of the telltale signs of damage by Hemp Russet Mites is “canoeing,” or a curving upward of the leaves at the petiole, where the leaf joins to the leaf stalk. Curled plant leaves are usually a symptom of being attacked by mites or aphids. Curled leaves are an indication of a potential threat to the plant.

Damage to flowers

When hemp russet mites eat the growing cannabis flower buds, the pistils get black and eventually die. In this early stage of flower development, the pistils are often long, white, and brilliant. Hemp russet mites are generally detected by spotting abnormally tiny, browning flower buds. The damage caused by Russet Mites to leaves is less noticeable during the flowering stage than during the vegetative stage. Russet mite damage often manifests as rougher than usual, smaller leaves during the flowering stage. Abnormal curling and browning of leaf margins may also be seen.

How to Remove Hemp Russet Mites from Cannabis

Once you have confirmed that the insects plaguing your cannabis are, in fact, hemp russet mites, you may eliminate them. Many “typical” miticides are ineffective against hemp russet mites, and you won’t see them indicated on the labels. One of the most difficult types of cannabis pests to eradicate is the hemp russet mite, but it is possible with proper management and vigilance.

  • Consider discarding your plant life if the infestation is severe; this will allow you to start over after fully treating the space. Avoid reinfection by figuring out where you contracted the mites in the first place.
  • Treat often – If you have a severe infestation that won’t go away, you may need to apply treatment many times each week or even every day. Your plants may have a tough time with this.
  • Treat your plants with sprays before the lights go off to prevent accidental burns.
  • Carefully follow the directions on any plant treatment product you use. You will save yourself a lot of serious hassles.
  • When you believe the hemp russet mites are gone, treat them once a week for another five weeks to be sure. Give your plant a new treatment at least once a week for the next five weeks. They will come back stronger than ever if you don’t eliminate every last one.

Neem Oil

When used to treat blooming plants, Neem oil leaves an unpleasant taste/odor on the buds; therefore, keep this stuff away from your buds! It’s also possible that Neem oil is hazardous to people, so tread carefully if you decide to use it. That being said, hemp russet mites are only one insect that may be effectively treated using Neem oil. This natural therapy has shown efficacy against various other pests and molds.

You shouldn’t use Neem oil on your plants until necessary because of the harsh effects it may have on them. Nonetheless, if you’re desperate, you may treat your plants with Neem oil daily to eradicate hemp russet mites.

Essentria IC3

The Essentria IC3 Insecticide is a natural blend of oils used in gardening, and it poses no risk to people or pets. Although it is more well known as a “bed bug killer,” frequent applications on hemp plants may help reduce the pest population. Sadly, its effects on the plant only last for around 8 hours, so you’ll need to apply it daily or mix it with other solutions.

Insecticide soaps

You may use fatty acid salts or insecticidal soaps to combat hemp russet mites. They are harmless to plants and leave no residue that may harm beneficial insects, yet they effectively reduce the protective shell of hemp russet mites.

Like horticultural oils, soaps don’t last long on plants, so you may need to apply them again after some time. It’s safe to consume, but don’t let your friends try any! Although this method is ineffective, it may be used as a complementary strategy since it is gentler on your plants than others.

Mighty Wash

The hemp russet mites in your grow room could be eliminated with Mighty Wash. Douse your plants well, both above and below ground, with water 15 minutes before lights off. A spray bottle or mister is what you need. Applying airflow from a fan to your leafy plants will hasten the drying process. Even if you think the russet mites on cannabis are gone after one treatment, you should treat the room again.


In extreme cases, when nothing else has worked, the powerful, chemically unpleasant, and pretty costly Avid miticide may be the only option. Because of its systemic nature, this pesticide penetrates deep into plant tissue, killing insects from the inside. That’s why it shouldn’t be used during blooming when the plant produces fruit and seed pods. While this may be the case for some cultivators, many others claim it is the only method that yields consistent results. Avid should only be used as instructed and as a last resort.

To prevent the mites from developing resistance, you should only use this treatment once or twice in a row. Your plant’s system should retain this for weeks. Systemic insecticides should be rotated between this and another product, such as Forbid.


Like Avid, Forbid miticide is a powerful product created with harsh chemicals that comes at a high price. This pesticide penetrates deep inside plant tissue to eliminate pests from the inside out. It shouldn’t be used during blooming since the resultant buds would be bad to store. Nevertheless, many farmers claim that this is the only method that yields reliable results. Forbid should only be used as instructed and as a last resort.

To prevent the mites from developing resistance, you should only use this treatment once or twice in a row. Your plant’s system should retain this for weeks. If you must use a systemic insecticide, such as Avid, alternate its use with another. Read and adhere to the guidelines carefully.

Powdered Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth, or DE, is a kind of fossil dust that may be sprinkled on top of soil or used liberally elsewhere in the garden or the home (window sills, doorways, etc.). Mammals and plants are safe from this powder, yet it’s razor-sharp on a tiny scale. Hemp russet mites will be ripped to shreds and dehydrated upon touch. It won’t stop an infestation, but it can help prevent it from worsening and contain it. To combat hemp russet mites, you should use all available methods.


The heat is bad for the hemp russet mites. Some farmers use hot water (about 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius) to soak clones and young plants for ten to twenty minutes to kill the pests. To cut down on their numbers, some cultivators subject their growing areas to 115°F (46°C) heat for one hour. Take care, since this may be harmful if not done safely, and any means of applying powerful heat to kill the mites would certainly harm your plants.

Predatory mites

Hemp russet mites may be prey for predatory mites like Amblysieus andersoni. Adding more predators to your crop will help reduce the population of hemp russet mites. Unfortunately, many other cures on this page may also destroy predatory mites, so they cannot solve the issue independently.

Stopping future infestations of russet mites

In the garden, prevention is always preferable to treatment. Ensure your plants have enough airflow and light and maintain an ideal temperature and humidity level. In addition, check on your plants often and respond if you see any indications of stress.

Bitten cannabis leaves

When discovered in their early stages, mite infestations may be easily treated.

Picture of Janice Bernstein

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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