Mites and the Big Blue
Not only is a
hydroponic garden environment ideal for growing your favorite plants,
the elevated humidity and room temperatures are the breeding ground for
two of the gardeners worst crop destroyers.
WPM or white
powdery mildew and spider mites. The two spotted and red spider mites
are a major problems for hydroponic gardeners. They are tiny; very
difficult to see. They feed from the bottom sides of the leaves. The
first visual you may have, of an infestation, is small yellow spots on
the leaves. At first you may confuse this with a nutrient deficiency.
insecticides have little or no affect in controlling spider mites and
there is always a concern that the chemicals will still linger in the
plants at harvest. Controlling by spraying is very difficult. These
parasites work from the undersides of the plants leaves. Not only do
they lay their eggs in the dark hidden places of your grow room, but
adults can hibernate within those same cracks and crevices that
chemical washes will not reach. If you had a spider mite infestation in
the last grow cycle, expect it to happen again. So what is the
solution? Don't have spider mites in the first place. Spider mites
enter your garden from a number of sources.
outside sourced cuttings and starts, from your existing crop, until you
are able to determine the health of these alien plants.
the black "crud" that accumulates on the tips of your fan blades.
What's that about? When your exhaust fans are running, your fresh air
intake vents are are drawing in anything that happens to be near the
vents including spider mites and mildew spores. Pests so small that you
need a magnifying glass or microscope to see them. I was recently in
Las Vegas and was asked to examine a commercial hydroponic installation
which was using the Big Blues.
had an 8X10 foot room dedicated to his "Mother" plants. He had placed
our smallest 4 inch unit in-line at the fresh air intake. As the
outside air was drawn into the room it pre-treated the incoming air.
Killing any airborne contaminates. Let me add a word of caution.
Elevated levels of ozone will kill your plants!
professional gardener had been running the Big Blue for over a month on
his intake. The ozonated air was drawn across and through his "Mother"
plants. He continuously monitored his plants condition over this
period. He showed me some light tip burn on the leaves of the plants
nearest the Big Blue. He commented that it wasn't significant enough to
rotate the plants. Update: 3 months later there was still no plant
mortality or “bugs”.
Sterilize your grow space.
chlorine beach and a rag will never clean your grow room completely.
If it did,
hospitals would not be using ozone to sterilize their operating rooms
between surgeries. If you already have a Big Blue, remove it from the
exhaust ducting after harvest. Clear the room of any living things.
Place the Big Blue in your grow room and seal that space up. Run the
Big Blue for 24 or 48 hours. The ozone gas will find its way into the
cracks and crevices that are the breeding grounds of future
infestations. It will absolutely sterilize the room for your next crop.
after your space is sterilized, whatever pests are found later...you
brought them in! Don't have your friends over. Don't let your pets in
your garden. And please, after working in your outdoor garden, don't
wear those same cloths to check on your hydroponic crop. Garden naked.
The Big Blue
functions as more than just an exhausted air scrubber. If you're as
serious as we are about our gardens health, sterilize that space before
your next planting. You've gone to the trouble and expense to provide
your crop with the best growing conditions possible. But what have you
done today to keep this plague from stealing your future harvest?
Visit our dealers
for a retailer near you. I hope this has been helpful. I'm sure there
are other tricks that have proved useful in avoiding spider mite and
white powdery mildew infestations.
with your suggestions.