Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spider Mites!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this previously in the blog, but I grow some of my own hops. I have Saaz growing along the front fence line, and Northern Brewer growing in the back. Last year the Northern Brewer hops got infested with spider mites. As you can see from the diagram above, they are pretty nasty, and can do a lot of damage. They're invisible to the naked eye, but they leave a silk web underneath the leaves like a spider (hence the name) that is visible. I caught the infestation pretty early, sprayed them with a hand-held bottle of insecticide on two separate occasions, and harvested a decent crop of hop flowers.

This year both varieties were infested, and I may have waited too long to spray the Saaz to save them. Hop leaves are drying up and falling off the plant. I sprayed today with a bottle that you attach to the garden hose. If I remember correctly from last year, you have to spray them twice about a few days apart, because the eggs are resistant to the insecticide, so you have to let them hatch after you kill off the adults, and then take care of the new generation with another application. We'll see if the Saaz make it to harvest.

The whole time I was spraying, I had the Spider Man theme running through my head, albeit with different lyrics:

Spider mites, spider mites,
Deadly hop-eating spider mites,
Can't see them, they leave a thread,
Watch me now, kill them dead.
Look out!
I'm killing the spider mites.

Yeah, I know, I'll stick to brewing beer.


  1. Good luck with your harvest! Damn mites.

  2. Now I have that damn Spiderman song stuck in my head!

  3. I am sorry about your mite problem but this is a good learning experience for homebrewers that want to grow their own hops...Beware of spider mites...spider mites! Deadly hop-eating spider mites!