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Mites and soilless grows

AKgramma

Well-Known Member
Since I fight an unending battle with mites in my soil grows, I want to ask if using coco or other fiber plus inert additives will eliminate the mite problem?

Hydro is out of the question because i cant haul water due to mobility problems.
 

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
I doubt if it will make a difference with the mites AK. At least they sure loved my soilless plants in peat moss. They may hide in the pots occasionally, but the medium isn't an important part of their life cycle as far as I know- so I'm guessing that even hydro could have just as many mites as soil. That's just a guess though.
However- I got rid of them with neem spray (Mite-rid to be specific). They don't live in the wild here and once I got them out of the grow and greenhouse they were gone. It should be the same for you in Alaska.
 

AKgramma

Well-Known Member
I can go a week or so after a run of various spray solutions, but then they appear again, and so I have to be vigilant. I only have to miss one leaf during treatment, and the next generation hatches. Luckily I ordered a lot of pyrithium-based spray and neem oil! For late flower, I use cooking oil and dish soap in water.

I was just hoping that a different medium would eliminate them. * Sigh * well, it was a thought.

And, yes, I keep my grow units clean.
 

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
I had zero luck with pyrethrin. Obviously the mites I had were immune to it.
I shouldn't say zero. Basically, my experience was that I could spray and kill mites with damn near anything. I think even plain water spray will kill them. But they always return- they always have another generation or two hatching out even after you go to great lengths to kill 99% of the adults.
You need something like neem which is a systemic pesticide. Systemic means it's absorbed and taken into the plant's system where it kills the mites as they feed. I used Mite-rid- which is a product I had to order from Australia at the time. I think Neem is the main active ingredient. It lasts for 3 or four weeks and is reapplied at least once to eradicate them completely. You don't need to spray underside of leaves or try to douse every single bit of surface area. It's absorbed into the plant with a decent spray. I highly recommend it. Key for me was spraying the greenhouse and houseplants as well as the grow. They are completely gone! It's been 6 years and I still jump sometimes when I think I see something moving. Just talking about them makes me worry I'll jinx myself.
 

AKgramma

Well-Known Member
I wasn't aware that Neem was a systemic pesticide. I thought it only killed with contact. I do use it, mixed according to instructions on the bottle, but I may be sabotaging my efforts by alternating it with the pyrethrum. Neem is easy to get here, now that it's in demand.
 

TheFertilizer

Well-Known Member
Pyrethrin is one of those that needs repeated follow up treatments every 2-3 days to kill successive breeding genreations. Mites lay eggs when they die, so when you spray them they essentially lay as much as they possibly can, and it basically does nothing to their eggs. You can go through and try to smoosh them and clean them up with soap or whatever, but like you said you only have to miss one leaf. The key to contact poisons is successive treatments, and it's tricky to time it right.

I used your recipe for neem Weaslecracker. I think it was you who told me anyway... Been a while. 1 tsp palmolive and 2 tsp of neem oil for spray, and 1 tsp palmolive and 4 tsp of neem for a root drench. The soap is such a key thing to using neem properly, it's a huge difference. I like to mix it up in a shot glass and mix it up until its a nice milky color. I kind of prefer the root drench, I find it pretty easy to burn leaves with neem. I never pH'd my mix before but maybe that's why.

What I think would be most effective would be a mixture of insecticidal soap, pyrethrin and neem oil. The insecticidal soap would act as an emulsifier and a contact agent, and it degrades the eggs more effectively than neem or pyrethrin. Pyrethrin is essentially the Agent Orange in this situation, it kills everything living. Meanwhile the neem is kind of like, salting the earth so nothing else can grow.

Also I've heard that russet mites are extremely resistant to most of these insecticides, buddy of mine tried everything we've talked about, the only thing that worked was Monterey Miticide with Spinosad. Aparently it's the spinosad that kills them.

Anyway I had the same idea as you, was thinking about going soilless, but my buddy uses Sunshine #4 and I think that's soilless... And it didn't do him any good.

Oh, be sure to use 100% cold-pressed neem oil. I like Einstein oil, but I think Dyna Gro makes some that's good too.
 

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
Yes i grow in Sunshine #4 as well and mites have no problem with it. I don't think that was my recipe you used- but it sounds like it worked for you (?). If so, congratulations- I hate those bastards. It took almost two years before I finally got rid of them. I never tried pure neem- just Mite Rid which contains it.
I don't have the Mite-rid bottle on hand, but it has quite a few ingredients. Whatever they put together worked for me, after various other sprays and lots of major episodes of bleaching, spraying, cleaning, painting, long shut-downs, etc. It was basically a screw up for two years and I barely grew anything during this time.
 

AKgramma

Well-Known Member
I never did completely eradicate them, however. And I'm sure not going to introduce foreign predatory mites into the house! I'm not sure it's even legal, as Alaska is pretty serious about the introduction of non-native ANYTHING, plants, bugs, or certain environmental chemicals.
 

josh223

Well-Known Member
Your grow media of choice, whether soil or hydro, doesn't matter in a mite's mind. They live and breed on the underside of leaves. Fungus gnats are a different subject.

I am currently mite free. I was gifted some infested clones. I bought and tried everything. Even sought advice here, as you have.

What worked for me was a product called Old Stage Green Cleaner. It's food grade and the mites do not build up a tolerance.
 

TheFertilizer

Well-Known Member
I looked it up, this actually came from Tead.

Spray application: 2tsp neem oil +1tsp dawn dish soap (or whatever... I just like + use dawn) + 1gal water. Spray entire (especially up under leaves) plant with the mix until heavy and dripping wet.
Soil/medium application: This differs as roots uptake at a much lower rate. 4tsp Neem oil + 1tds dawn dish soap + 1gal water. Water as if feeding. Try to apply as evenly as possible to saturate the entire soil/medium mass fully.

Neem is an oil. Liquid soap is used to break up the oil and allow it to mix evenly with the water.
 
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