close up photo of russet mites on a green leaf

A Gardener’s Guide to Russet Mites

Gardening is fun. But at times, it can feel more like a job than a hobby, especially when you’ve got pesky insects making a feast out of the fruits of your labor, or when you don’t know you’ve got an infestation until, well, it’s too late. Which little critter are we talking about exactly?

Russet mites, of course!

Today, we’ll dig into the life of russet mites; what they are, what they look like, what plants they like to feast on, and how you can get rid of them or avoid them completely with a Garden Safe Insecticide.

Everything You Need to Know About Russet Mites

What are Russet Mites?

Part of the eriophyid family of mites, russet mites are microscopic pests that feast on a specific plant. For instance, tomato russet mites feast specifically on tomato plants, while hemp russet mites feast on live species of all cannabis plants. The tricky thing about russet mites is that they are so small, hence the naked eye cannot see them, and gardeners only know they have a russet mite problem once hundreds or possibly thousands of them are clustered together in one spot.

Since the average russet mite life cycle is about two weeks and the average egg production is about 1 to 2 dozen per female, your gorgeous plants can go from thriving to hardly surviving in a matter of weeks.

Russet mites are also hard to detect since they leave behind no webbing or visible secretions to warn you of their arrival...little buggers!

What Do Russet Mites Look Like?

Magnified russet mites (magnification is the only way you can see them!) have translucent, wedge-shaped, cylindrical bodies and a yellowish tint to them. They are almost worm-like. One distinguishing factor from other species of mites is that russet mites have only two pairs of legs.

Where Do Russet Mites Call Home?

Due to their extremely small and lightweight bodies, russet mites can easily travel and disperse by way of wind. While russet mites thrive in warm and moist environments like Florida or California, they are also known to do well in dry, warm environments too. If you live in an area where spider mites are common, you can expect russet mites to drop in for a quick hello and yummy meal.

What Does Early Russet Mite Damage Look Like?

Russet mites like to work their way from the bottom up, getting a taste of the plant of their choice as they go. If your plant is flowering, you can bet the russet mites in town for a visit are going to get a bite of that, too!

Unlike spotting russet mites themselves, spotting russet mite damage on your plants is much more obvious. The earliest sign of russet mite damage is when your plant’s leaves and stems dry up, dull down and take on a brown, yellow, or bronzed tint. The leaves will often curl up, take on a “taco-ing” effect, and become brittle.

Russet mite damage in flowering cannabis will make pistils darken and die prematurely, a complete 180 from their typical long, vibrant, and lightly colored appearance. Tomato flowers subjected to russet mite damage will also lose their strength, color, and vibrancy.

Just one russet mite infestation can damage an entire crop, which is why stopping the pesky mites before they can wreak havoc should always be a top priority.

How to Get Rid of Russet Mites Without Harming Beneficial Bugs, Plants & Pollinators

If you need a fast-acting, people, pet, AND pollinator-friendly solution to get rid of russet mites during flower or at the first sign of early russet mite damage, ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE Insect Killer can help!

Through the power of dense natural oils, this organic pest control spray will be your new favorite solution for how to get rid of russet mites, aphids, psyllids, spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, thrips, mealybugs, and more, no matter where they are in their life cycle, and all without harming your garden’s ecosystem or the beneficial bugs you use for organic pest control.

Another incredible garden-safe russet mite control spray is the ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE 3-in-1 Organic Garden Spray, a 3-in-1 fungicide, miticide, and insecticide specially formulated without the use of neonicotinoids or petroleum solvents to banish soft-bodied insects at all life stages from your garden and protect your crops from costly damage. Its fungicidal properties will also help control powdery mildew, a common problem with cannabis species.

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At Organic Labs, we take pride in helping garden-lovers like you protect your crops from pesky invaders with the only proven bee-safe products available today. It is our mission to help you grow the most beautiful garden, flowers, and bountiful crops you can without worrying about downy mildew or other damage-causing diseases.

Follow Organic Labs on Facebook and Instagram! For more insight on how to safeguard your garden from tiny invaders or to learn how you can join the cause to Protect the Bees with Organic Pesticides make sure to check out the Organic Labs Blog!


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