Russet Mites

Reading time: 7 minutes

Russet mites are tiny but powerful.

Their ability to destroy your precious marijuana plants comes from the fact that there’s never just one russet mite — there are usually hundreds before you even notice an infestation.

This can lead to a number of problems, so better to be safe than sorry and learn a bit about them before you have the problem.

One pest you should definitely learn about is the Russet Mite and how to get rid of russet mites.

What are Russet Mites?

Russet mites are extremely small.

Don’t expect to see the first one that comes, because they’re nearly too small even to be seen with the naked eye. Russet mites can cause your plants to undergo some major damage.

What are Russet Mites

Often growers will only start to notice russet mites by the damage they are causing.

When they attack, it might seem like something invisible is causing your plants harm. More likely, it is the russet mite.

Hemp Russet mites that live on marijuana plants are the Aculops cannabicola, also known as the “hemp russet mite.”

They are close relatives to the tomato russet mite.

Russet mites and russet mite infestations start by munching the leaves towards the bottom of your plant, eventually eating their way upwards until they reach the top (and yes, that includes the flowers if your plants are in their flowering phase).

Russet mites tend to prefer climates that are dry and warm, just like spider mites do.

How to recognize a Russet Mite problem

Your plants will start exhibiting some characteristic signs showing that they are likely suffering from a russet mite problem.

The leaves and stems will start getting dry and turning a bronze color and curling of the leaves is very common.

In fact, people often don’t recognize the russet mites right away from these early signs, simply because they assume it could be caused by something else (such as watering, nutrient, or heating issues).

How to recognize a Russet Mite problem

If you start to see the leaves at the bottom of your plant showing these symptoms, you’d better take a closer look to see what is going on.

Bring out your Jeweler’s Loupe (and if you don’t own one, buy one) and look not at the leaves that are already curling and damaged, but at the ones up a level.

Even if you’re having trouble seeing these pesky insects, they still might be there, hiding and feasting. They’re extremely small and easy to miss, and predatory mites love eating cannabis plants and leaving russet mite eggs, they don’t leave characteristic “bites” like other types of pests do. If you spot little white wormy-looking things, you’ve found the russet mites.

To protect your plants, I recommend to use Bergman’s Plant protector. These three bottles will feature everything you might need to make sure to protect your plants from, or get rid of, pests.

Marijuana plant protector

Bergman’s Plant Protector

  • Protect your plants from diseases and harmful pests.
  • Consists of three 20 ml bottles
  • Enough plant protection system supplies for up to 20 plants
  • Suitable for soil, hydroponic and all other grow mediums

Why hemp russet mites are they a problem?

Russet mites can go from annoying to devastating in a very short amount of time. In the worst-case scenario, your entire crop of marijuana plants could be ruined from one infestation. If you have heard of anyone near you having a russet mite problem, there is a very high chance that your plants will have it too. That means you should start treatments right away, just to be sure (see below).

Hemp russet mites

Russet mites are so infectious because they are small enough to hitch a ride on just about anything. This includes clothing, seeds, the wind, dried plant matter, and more. It’s considered one of the most dreaded pests out there for marijuana plants, so it’s important to take them seriously. They will eat away your plants quickly and effectively and then spread to other nearby plants.

Also read Cannabis pests & bugs – control and identification

One of the major issues with russet mites is the fact that they are basically impossible to detect until they have already stuck around for a while. First, they will lay eggs on the undersides of your plants’ leaves, where the larvae will hatch from. These little larvae will start eating in a circle around their egg, which you should theoretically be able to recognize if you inspect your plants in time. They will be brown in color.

More likely, you’ll notice the mites once they have already started to cause discoloration and brown spotting in your plants. If it’s here already, these buggers have been living on your plants for two months already! The worst part of the russet mites’ lives on your plants comes next – when they start really destroying the leaves and stems. Once you start noticing this stage, it may already be too late to save the plant.

Using the correct nutrients and plant protector will get you a long way and your plants will have less chance of getting sick, in addition of being less vulnerable for pests and diseases. I have created multiple grow sets which features all you need in order to grow healthy plants from seed to harvest!

buy Gold Leaf marijuana strain grow kit

Buy your grow set

How to get rid of Russet Mite infestations

As devastating as russet mites are, there are a number of ways that you can try to solve your russet mite problem.

Russet Mites on marijuana leaves

Neem oil

To begin with, try neem oil (but don’t use it near your buds or it could ruin the flavor). It’s a natural product (but potentially dangerous to humans, so be careful) that works for a lot of different pests. Don’t use it too often though because it can cause some damage to your plants.

Predatory Mites

You can purchase and introduce different types of mites that prey on russet mites. This is great because it won’t damage your plants at all and it’s a more natural way of handling the problem. However, it may not fix the problem 100%, so better to use it in combination with another form of treatment.


Another chemical-free treatment is to dunk your plants in hot water (105 degrees Fahrenheit) for around 15 minutes. If you’re growing indoors, you could even heat up your grow room to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Russet mites don’t like these extremely hot temperatures.

Diatomaceous earth

This is as prehistoric as it sounds. It’s a kind of dust made from fossils that can simply be sprinkled around the soil and area where your plants are growing. Microscopic creatures hate it, so it works well for prevention and control (but not complete decimation of the mites, unfortunately).


Not all miticides are effective, but some are worth the money and time. Forbid, Avid, Mighty Wash, or insecticidal soaps are all more effective, but also more damaging to your plants and the environment. Each type is different, so do your homework — some are extremely expensive while also being extremely effective, so it depends on how valuable your plants are to you.

Can plants recover from russet mites?

When these problems are detected earlier, the plant may recover without the need for the plant to be replaced. Leaves may be yellowed or develop necroses unless they are treated. Mites can also enter flowers, becoming a concern as they dry out after harvest.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.


Avatar for Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing led him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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5 comments on “Russet Mites”

  1. Hey I use cosavett sulfer on my reefer farm. Usually I mix it with water and spray it. I just had a super small russet outbreak. Half is in flower would you use sulfer during flower? I came to the conclusion that powdered sugar spray stops them in their tracks but will make the buds a little weird if sprayed too late.

  2. Sulphur Dust liberally spread with a duster for outdoors with repeated treatments every 7 days.

    Indoors, sulphur dust liberally spread with a duster for the first treatment, after that use a sulphur vaporizer NOT a sulphur burner, again a VAPORIZER. Burned sulphur will kill everything. You need a good vaporizer and do not try and make your own. Buy one and use it with the lights and fans off, cover anything with a sensor, the sulphur will mess them up. Treat every three days after the sulphur dusting for 18 days for 4 to 8 hours, use a timer. For a total of 6 treatments. After that treat for 4 hours once a week. You can use this method up to end of week three in flower. After spending thousands of dollars on chemicals and other natural remedies this ia the only thing that worked and now I have no bugs and no PM or Fungus.
    As for neem oil listed above and just about everything in the article above. Tried it and the bugs gave me a one finger salute and kept marching. I love this site, I have gotten some great genetics and great info from this site. On the subject of Russet mites, one word-sulphur.
    Dont grow bugs, grow nugz. ✌

  3. I’ve had the red spider mite. Might be the 2 spotted mite also. I was mite Free for my first 5 harvest’s. Then I got these guys. After the first time I sprayed my indoor sealed grow room with bleach and water 3x. Also used Dr. Doom spider mite fogger 2x. Even hung those no more pest strips Wich give off this vape that is even harmful to humans. And guess what…. They’re back!!!!!. I don’t believe there is anything out there that actually kills these pests. And people talk about cockroaches surviving a nuclear war.