Stairway to (Spider Mite) Heaven

in HiveGarden2 months ago (edited)

“I’m going to have to science the shit out of this”
Matt Damon in The Martian

Every sentient being on this planet has the right to live and expand. But when you start messing in my backyard, then Houston, we got a problem.

Spider mites are relatively harmless to my overall existence, but they are lethal to plants, who are helpless victims of their parasitic onslaught. I had planted a sage in the hydroponic system, but it was having difficulty growing. Upon close inspection, I noticed that a colony of spider mites had taken residence on its leaves. Their population had grown to the point that I decided it was not worth keeping it and would be better suited as a specimen in my experiments. So, I transplanted it to a ceramic pot to deal with the mite problem in isolation.

Mites invading a perfectly innocent sage


I perused online resources to learn more about the problem of spider mites and how to deal with them. There were several solutions including neem oil, rosemary oil, and soapy water. As I had no neem or rosemary oil available, I opted for water and soap, which I put in a bottle and then liberally sprayed on the sage plant.

The following day, I noticed that some of the leaves were ‘burned’, and the bugs were as happy as ever. I let it be for a week and watched the mites increase their colonial holdings on the plant. Also, the mites had now spread to other plants and established some grand real-state webbings on my tomato, cilantro, peppers, arugula, jalapenos, thyme, and other plants.

Plant burned after spraying it with a mixture of soap and water


That’s it! I thought quite annoyed. It’s time to get medieval on their asses!

A light bulb went off as I conducted further research on the problem. Online garden experts recommended all kinds of oils to deal with the spider mites, but the only oil I had available was THC oil, which I use for, ahem, research purposes 😜

I bolted upright with glee! Grabbing the THC oil vial, I measured 0.10 mL and mixed it with half a cup of water in the spray bottle. I shook it vigorously and laughing madly, I sprayed and sprayed with gusto. Take that suckas!

Lovely alchemical mixture of water and THC oil clinging to a sage leaf

The following day, the mites were still there but seemed fewer in numbers. The plant had survived, so I sprayed again. I did so again on the third day, and on the fourth, the mites were dead and gone.

That’s right, fellow gardeners: to get rid of spider mites on your plants, you gotta get them high. How’s that for a scientific breakthrough?

The irony of the brand name is not lost on me

I noticed that some bugs were visible on the leaves, but when I used my magnifying glass, I saw that they were just dead bodies that had remained clinging to the leafs.

Somewhat healthy leaf after THC treatment

I wouldn’t be a good scientist if I didn’t highlight some of the limitations of my experimental results.

While the bugs are gone, the plant suffered further damage to its leaves. I do not know if this was a delayed result of the soapy water or my home-made insecticide. It might continue to deteriorate. So, the long-term consequences of my experiments are unknown.Moreover, I do not know if the mixture killed the mites or simply ran them off. It should also be noted that I used a sativa dominant oil instead of an indica dominant. I’m not familiar with spider mite behavior or the workings of their nervous systems. Do they possess cannabinoid pathways like humans do? If their bodies do process THC like humans, then I like to think that their final minutes were happy ones. Weeee! Mite-speed, wherever you are (except on my garden).

Although the mixture appears to have worked on the sage, I do not know if other plants will react the same way. Nevertheless, I’ve gone ahead and conducted a thorough spray of the rest of the infected plants. Desperate times call for desperate measures… and mad ones too.

Happy and blissful gardening!

All images by @litguru


Oh my gosh!!! What a freaking awesome post, my friend !LOLZ Seriously I can just picture their last moments... I like to think they were exceptionally happy😂 that is quite an interesting outcome though... curious to see if the sage recovers well from this. You'll have to let us know how your other plants respond to treatment too. !ALIVE !PIZZA

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It was fun experimenting with this harebrained scheme. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the idea will work. :)

 2 months ago  

Mites thrive in warm areas with no airflow So the thing to do is get fans working in the room. You shouldn't have a problem with water stress in a hydroponic setup, that's the other mite attractant. I don't bother spraying for mites because as you have seen, the leaves get wrecked and the mites not whereas a change in living conditions for the plants solves the problem naturally

I did hear that humidity can be a problem, and the Pacific Northwest is as humid as it gets. I'll get more airflow going and hopefully this will help. Thanks for the tip!

Hey @litguru ,
This is quite a scientific breakthrough!

Who would have thought THC oil could be used as an insecticide? 😂 You must have been under its influence to think of something like this. (as a part of your research purposes of course 😜)

This is quite a scientific breakthrough!

It would be funny if the results of my wacky experiment were sound and long lasting. Apparently those pesky critters are very fertile, so they evolve fast and can gain immunity against the insecticide. Then I'll have little hippy spider mites on the garden.

You must have been under its influence to think of something like this. (as a part of your research purposes of course 😜)

I don't remember, but if I was, it would make the whole thing even more hilarious on a higher level. 🍍

That's amazing!! What a great way to get rid of them, and expensive lol. But getting rid of mites=priceless!

Just a recommendation, any topic where cannabis is part of it, you should post from the Weedcash community:)

Posted using WeedCash Network

This is a good point about the economics of doing something like this. A 10 mL vial costs around US $23 up here in Canada. I used 0.10 mL of the oil drops and mixed it with half a cup of water. For the sage, four thorough applications of the mist were enough to send the critters packing. So, it's probably not too bad for small-scale gardens, assuming this idea actually works, and its not just the wild imaginings of some dude in the internet.

Thank you for the recommendation of the Weedcash community!

This was amusing and also insightful. I think, if the THC oil was what did the trick, then likely it was because it was an oil not so much due to the type of oil. If it coated the mites, they'd have been unable to breathe, and would have asphyxiated. Either way, it worked! But, you could eliminate this question by trying cooking oil next time, see if it affects the results. Or baby oil, which is more "oily" and designed to be absorbed.

But it's possible the THC affected them, too. Perhaps didn't kill them, but there is evidence for spiders reacting to various drugs, one of which is THC, and it has effects on them. Spiders and mites aren't too far off in evolutionary divergence so it's likely the mites would have been affected by it as well. Not sure about the happy part, but it does make spiders... to put it eloquently... fucked up. Maybe the THC made them unable to latch onto the plant properly so they ended up starving. Running wild with theories, but this is fascinating and the sort of science I love reading about!

I think, if the THC oil was what did the trick, then likely it was because it was an oil not so much due to the type of oil.

This could very well be right. Online, people recommend different types of oils, so maybe mites just don't like having any type of oil in their homes. Plus the oils usually have strong smells, so this could also influence their desire to stick around. I might test other oils if the problem persists.

But it's possible the THC affected them, too.

If the THC affected them, then they might have been highly stimulated and totally messed up. Plus the oil remained on the leaves, so not only would they get stimulated by the first shower but also by subsequent exposure. If the THC didn't kill them, it may have over-aroused them to the point of being unable to maintain biological, behavioral, or social cohesion.

Thank you @anikekirsten for commenting!

I don't have dill planted at the moment, but I might have some seeds :)

Thank you for sharing this great content, You have been manually Upvoted by @skylinebuds


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