Broad Mite

Broad Mites are a type of minuscule insect, or pest, that can infest and potentially kill cannabis crops.

Broad Mites, or polyphagotarsonemus latus, belong to the same family of bugs as spider mites, another common cannabis pest, and measure around 0.2mm in length. Broad Mites feed off plants, and in return leave behind toxins that can stunt the plant's production and lower its overall yield. 


How do broad mites affect cannabis plants?


When broad mites infest a cannabis crop, they can cause significant damage. They feed on the sap of the plant, and in doing so, they stunt the plant's growth and introduce toxins that can deform the plant and reduce its productivity and overall yield. To make matters worse, these mites seek out the youngest buds and leaves that they can find - affecting them from the earliest point they can, which, if left untreated, can damage or kill the plants. 


What are the signs of a broad mite infestation?


Because broad mites are so small, they are incredibly hard to see by eye - but they are a pale, almost translucent, yellow. Typically, egg clusters are spotted first because they are slightly paler, and are usually found on the underside of branches or new leaves.  

Broad mites are normally identified after growers notice changes to their plant, and so, they go on the hunt to find the culprits. The signs that may lead them in this direction include cannabis plants looking slightly wet, or leaves that are slightly twisted or curled, and their tips are dying. This is caused by the toxic residue broad mites leave behind after feeding on the cannabis plant. 


Can you treat and control broad mite infestations?


If caught in time, yes. Effective treatment and control methods include:

  • Heat treatment: increasing temperature can help to control the population of broad mites because they are sensitive to heat, but this could also affect the cannabis plant depending on its strain. 
  • Insecticidal options: Some chemical pesticides, like Floramite, and organic products like Neem oil may be effective in treating broad mite infestations, but these come with their own precautions and can only be used during certain stages of the growth cycle.
  • Physical removal: removing and discarding/destroying the infected plant to prevent the infection from spreading to other plants.


Can broad mite infestations be prevented?


It is essential to prevent broad mite infestations because they reproduce so rapidly. Adult females lay approximately 20 eggs in their lifetime, but they reach sexual maturity within just 6–10 days of being born and so, a small infestation can have devastating effects in just one week. 

Maintaining strict standard operating procedures to ensure optimal environmental conditions, regular monitoring, and taking cross-contamination precautions when introducing new plants into the growing space are all recommended when cultivating cannabis to prevent broad mite infestations. 

If you are interested in learning more about cannabis-based medicine options in the UK, Releaf is here to help.