Article by Gooey Rabinski, Herb
Outdoor cannabis cultivators face many fears, not the least of which are uncooperative weather, theft of their crop, and legal prosecution. But you don’t have to hang with pot farmers on the American West Coast long to learn the greatest modern threat to their precious plants: russet mites.
New Problem For Pot Farmers
Until recently, russet mite infestation wasn’t a major issue for West Coast outdoor cannabis cultivators. Then, a couple of years ago, regional land management authorities began combating an overzealous thistle population by introducing a particularly threatening critter to cannabis plants: the russet mite.
While the russet mite, also called the hemp russet mite, has gotten the thistle population under control (a decidedly good thing for all farmers), it has wreaked havoc on the cannabis plants of thousands of American farmers.
Cultivators all along the West Coast, including many in Southern Oregon and Northern California’s legendary Emerald Triangle, are suffering significant losses from the microscopic pest.
Why They’re Way Worse Than Other Mites
The russet mite is often significantly more damaging to outdoor cannabis crops than the typical infestation threat, the spider mite.
The challenge is the fact that they are nearly impossible to spot. They reside on the underside of leaves, where they are mostly hidden from view. Often, the presence of russet mites goes undetected until the damage is too great to save the plant. This is especially true in cases where farmers do not conduct regular crop inspections.