So A Guy Walks Into a Hydro Store…
Preface — So a customer I haven’t seen in a couple of years comes in-turns out he was on a hiatus from indoor growing. He said he wanted to go back inside after problems with his outdoor tomato crop-cold temps and heavy rains were murder on the roots. He said he wanted to shoot the works indoors-no more taking chances outdoors Here’s what happened when he decided to take my advice:
For Spider Mite Treatments, take each plant, one at a time, and dunk the leaves and stems completely into the jar.
Customer: Yeah, I was on hiatus from indoor gardening. But this summer’s outdoor tomato crop was a bust. We had too much rain and cold night time temps in the early part of summer. I ended up with root rot and other disease problems. I’m here to get lights, fans, filters, containers… Everything!
CJF: That’s too bad about the outdoor crop, but your indoor grow op won’t have rain or cold temps; that’s for sure. Do you need seed starting supplies?
Customer: No, but that’s the other thing I need to discuss. I got nearly a hundred cuttings from my buddy. He had some premium genetics, but he also had spider mites. The clones all have roots now, but when I removed the domes from my trays, mites were all over the leaves.
CJF: So all of these plants have spider mites, but you only have rooted cuttings? No large plants for spider mite treatments?
Customer: Exactly. So what’s the best way to spray these little plants for mites?
CJF: The best way may be a dip, not a spray. Make a solution of bug spray in a wide-mouth quart mason jar. After your cuttings have been watered with a mild nutrient solution, dip them. Take each plant, one at a time, and dunk the leaves and stems completely into the jar.
Customer: Nice! That will get total coverage! I need to transplant them and move them into the vegetative cycle. Will this dip method affect the timing
CJF: Not by much. Whichever pest product you use, mix it at the mild dosage rate. Some bug killers will slow plant growth slightly, but the goal is eradicating the mites. Get setup to transplant, and dip each one just before transplanting into the new containers. Wait for the leaves to dry before putting the plants under lights. After a couple of days, they should begin growing like normal.
Customer: That sounds easy enough. Will all the mites be dead?
CJF: I hope so, but I doubt you’re that lucky. Spider mites are persistent, so spray with the same product 3-5 days later. Continue treatments for two weeks.
Customer: Cool, I can do that. I expected to spray for at least two weeks anyway. Do you have any other advice on dipping?
CJF: Just make sure the plants have been watered recently. Dry plants will absorb too much bug spray in the dip. This absorption can burn leaves, and cause serious damage. If you can totally knock out all pests now, you will stay bug free all winter long. So once you kill off these mites, don’t get any more cuttings from your friend!
Above: The Bane of EVERY Indoor Grower–Spider Mites!
Erik Biksa has been writing about and discussing hydroponics growing, related technologies and cropping methods since 1999 in a variety of professional publications and platforms globally Erik has travelled the world learning and teaching modern growing techniques and technologies and is appreciated by many growers for his informative yet hands on approaches. Presently, he is the Editor at Grozine Hydroponics Mag.