Organic Spider Mite Control for Cannabis Plants
As a cannabis grower, nothing is more frustrating than finding spider mites on your plants. These tiny pests can wreak havoc on your crop, causing stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and even death. The worst part is that they reproduce quickly and can be difficult to get rid of. However, there is hope for organic cannabis growers who want to eliminate spider mites without resorting to harmful chemicals. In this article, we’ll explore the various methods you can use to identify and eliminate spider mites, from homemade remedies to commercial products, so you can keep your plants healthy and thriving. Let’s dive in!
Identifying Spider Mites
When it comes to cannabis cultivation, identifying pests and diseases is crucial to ensuring the health and vitality of your plants. One of the most common pests that can wreak havoc on your cannabis crop is the spider mite. These tiny insects may be difficult to spot, but the damage they can cause is hard to ignore.
Identifying Spider Mites: To detect spider mites on your cannabis plants, you’ll need to look for some tell-tale signs. In this article, we’ll guide you through the physical appearance of these pests and the damage they can cause, as well as provide tips on how to distinguish them from other cannabis pests. By the end of this section, you’ll have a better understanding of how to identify spider mites and take the necessary steps to get rid of them organically.
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Physical Appearance and Damage
Spider mites are tiny arachnids that are a common pest in cannabis plants. They are difficult to see with the naked eye, measuring only about 0.5mm in length, and can be red, green, or yellow in color. However, their webbing is usually the easiest way to identify their presence.
Spider mites feed on the leaves of cannabis plants, so the first signs of infestation are usually visible on the leaves. Infected leaves will have yellow spots that will eventually turn brown and die. The leaves may also develop a speckled appearance due to the spider mites’ feeding habits.
If left untreated, spider mite infestations can spread to other plants and severely damage or even kill the plant they are on. It is important to take action as soon as possible if you notice signs of an infestation.
Other signs of a spider mite infestation include the presence of fine webbing on the plant, especially on the underside of leaves, and the appearance of tiny, white, egg-like sacs. Despite their name, spider mites are not actual spiders, and they do not produce silk like spiders do, but they do spin webbing for protective purposes.
It is important to distinguish spider mites from other pests that affect cannabis plants, such as thrips or whiteflies. Thrips, for example, are much larger than spider mites and can jump, while whiteflies can be identified by the sticky residue they leave on leaves. Knowing the specific pest that is affecting your cannabis plant is essential for effective treatment.
Distinguishing from Other Cannabis Pests
Identifying spider mites on cannabis plants is crucial to their eradication. However, sometimes their tiny size and stealthy nature can make it tough to distinguish them from other common cannabis pests. Some of the most common cannabis pests that can be confused with spider mites are:
- Thrips: They are tiny, slender insects with fringed wings that feed on cannabis leaves, causing distorted or discolored leaves. However, while thrips move slowly, spider mites move quickly.
- Aphids: They are small, pear-shaped insects that feed on the sap of cannabis plants, causing leaves to yellow and curl. Unlike spider mites, aphids can usually be seen with the naked eye.
- Whiteflies: These tiny, winged insects are usually found on the undersides of cannabis leaves and can cause significant damage to crops by sucking sap from plants. However, they fly away when disturbed, unlike spider mites that remain on the plant.
- Caterpillars: Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, and their presence can be detected by the large holes they chew into cannabis leaves. However, unlike spider mites, caterpillars are visible to the eye and leave large droppings behind as they eat.
Being able to distinguish spider mites from other pests is key to identifying the correct treatment method. Once you have identified that your cannabis plant is in fact infested with spider mites, you can apply the appropriate organic remedies to control the pests. One organic remedy for spider mites is using neem oil spray.
Prevention and Early Detection
As with any pest infestation, prevention and early detection are key to effectively managing spider mites on your cannabis plants. By taking proactive steps to keep your plants healthy and monitoring them consistently, you can avoid the need for more drastic measures later on. In this section, we will discuss some safeguarding techniques such as sanitation, using sticky traps, and regular plant inspections, which can help you detect spider mites before they have a chance to spread and cause damage.
Sanitation and Proper Nutrition
Maintaining proper sanitation and nutrition in your cannabis plants is essential in preventing spider mite infestations. Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Clean growing area: Regularly clean your growing area by removing any dead leaves and debris that may be lying around. Spider mites tend to thrive in dirty environments, so keeping the space tidy will deter them from setting up shop.
- Avoid overwatering: Overwatering your cannabis plants can cause excess moisture to accumulate, making the environment more conducive for spider mites.
- Use sterilized soil: Soil that contains pests or diseases can easily spread to other plants in the vicinity, making it important to use sterilized soil in your cannabis grow.
- Fertilize appropriately: Providing your plants with the appropriate nutrients will aid in their overall health and vigor, making them less susceptible to pest infestations.
- Rotate crops: If spider mites have infested your cannabis plants, refrain from planting new ones in that spot right away. Instead, rotate crops to give the affected area time to recover.
By following proper sanitation and nutrition practices, you can minimize the risk of spider mite infestations in your cannabis grow.
Using Sticky Traps
Sticky traps are an effective method for preventing and controlling spider mites on cannabis plants. These traps are designed to catch and trap spider mites and other small pests, preventing them from reaching your plants. Here are some tips for using sticky traps:
- Placement: Place sticky traps throughout your grow space, including near doorways and vents. Hang them at plant height, about 6 inches above the soil.
- Number: Use enough sticky traps to adequately cover your grow space. The number of traps needed will depend on the size of your space.
- Replace frequently: As the sticky surface of the trap gets full of insects, replace the trap with a fresh one. This will ensure that the trap is always effective.
- Monitor: Regularly check the traps for spider mites or other pests. If you notice an increase in the number of pests caught on the trap, it may be a sign of a larger infestation.
By using sticky traps in combination with other preventative measures and remedies, you can effectively control and eliminate spider mites from your cannabis plants.
Regular Plant Inspections
Regular plant inspections are crucial in spotting spider mite infestations early on. It is recommended to inspect your cannabis plants at least once a week, especially for outdoor grows where spider mites are more prevalent. During the inspection, pay close attention to the underside of leaves, where spider mites tend to reside.
To conduct a proper inspection, follow these steps:
- Choose a well-lit area to inspect your plants.
- Wear gloves and use a magnifying glass to closely examine the leaves.
- Look for small, white, oval-shaped eggs, discolored or speckled leaves, and fine webbing.
- Use a white piece of paper or cardboard to tap the leaves over, so any mites or eggs on the leaves will be visible on the surface.
- Record your findings, and immediately take action if you find signs of spider mite infestation.
Remember: early detection is key to preventing a full-blown spider mite infestation. Regular inspections give you the best chance of catching spider mites before they have a chance to significantly damage your plants.
Quarantining Infected Plants
Quarantining infected plants is an essential step in preventing the spread of spider mites to healthy plants. It’s important to isolate any infested plants in a separate room or area away from other cannabis plants.
- First, carefully identify the plants that show signs of spider mite infestation, which includes webbing, yellowing and spotting on leaves, and stunted growth.
- Journal the quarantine date of each infested plant.
- Thoroughly clean the tools and equipment used for working with infested plants to prevent any transfer of spider mites.
- Monitor and inspect the quarantined plants regularly for any changes in spider mite activity or growth.
- It’s important to treat the quarantined plants to prevent any potential spread to other plants. Consider using any of the home remedies or commercial products listed above to eliminate the spider mites.
- Only remove a plant from quarantine once it has been treated and confirmed clear of spider mite infestation.
By taking the time to quarantine and treat any infected plants, you’re greatly reducing the chance of a full-blown outbreak and protecting the health of your other cannabis plants.
Home Remedies for Eliminating Spider Mites
If you’re dealing with a spider mite infestation on your cannabis plants, you may be wondering what steps you can take to eliminate these pesky pests. While there are commercial products available to control spider mites, there are also several effective home remedies you can try. These natural remedies can be just as effective as chemical solutions, while being more environmentally friendly and often less expensive. Read on to learn more about the different types of home remedies you can use to get rid of spider mites on your cannabis plants.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to eliminate spider mites from cannabis plants is by using a water spray. This method allows you to naturally control the pests without using any harmful chemicals.
How it Works
Spider mites thrive in dry conditions, and therefore, a water spray is a great solution as it creates a humid environment that is unsuitable for the pests. The water spray method also helps to dislodge spider mites from the plants, making it easier to get rid of them.
How to Do It
To make a water spray, fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water and spray the solution on both the top and bottom of each leaf of the infected plant. A thorough coverage is necessary to ensure that all the spider mites are affected.
It is essential to spray the plants in the early morning or evening when the sun is not too strong. Also, it is important to avoid getting water on the soil as this can lead to the development of fungal diseases.
|-Easy and cheap to implement||-May not be effective on severe infestations|
|-Does not harm plants or the environment||-Requires repeated applications to be effective|
|-Helps to improve plant hygiene and overall health|
Using a water spray is a great option for those looking for an organic and eco-friendly way to get rid of spider mites on cannabis plants. While it may require patience and repeated application, its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages.
Alcohol Spray: Another home remedy that has proven to be effective against spider mites is an alcohol spray. The alcohol spray destroys spider mites on contact by dehydrating them. It is important to note that this method can be damaging to the plant if not used correctly, so use caution when applying.
To make an alcohol spray, you will need:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Spray bottle
- Combine equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and water in a spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle to mix the solution well.
- Spray the solution directly onto the affected areas of the plant, covering both sides of the leaves and stems.
- Avoid spraying the solution on buds and flowers.
- Repeat the process every three days until the pests are gone.
It is important not to overshoot with the alcohol spray, as it can burn the leaves and damage the plant. Testing the spray on a small area before treating the entire plant is recommended. Additionally, when using alcohol spray, it is essential to ensure that the room is well-ventilated, as the fumes can cause respiratory issues. An alcohol spray is a cost-effective and easy-to-use method of spider mite control that can be used in combination with other remedies.
Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil spray is a popular organic remedy for controlling spider mites on cannabis plants. It is made from the seeds of the neem tree and has strong insecticidal properties. The following table provides a step-by-step guide on how to make and use neem oil spray to get rid of spider mites.
|Step 1||Start with a clean spray bottle and fill it with warm water.|
|Step 2||Add a few drops of dish soap to the water. This will help the neem oil mix more effectively with the water.|
|Step 3||Measure out about 1-2 teaspoons of neem oil and add it to the water and dish soap mixture.|
|Step 4||Close the spray bottle and shake it vigorously to mix the ingredients together.|
|Step 5||Spray the neem oil mixture generously on the affected parts of the cannabis plant, making sure to cover both sides of the leaves and the stem.|
|Step 6||Repeat the neem oil spray treatment every 3-4 days until the spider mites are completely eliminated.|
Neem oil spray is effective at controlling spider mites because it contains azadirachtin, a compound that disrupts the pest’s hormones and inhibits their feeding and reproduction. Additionally, neem oil is non-toxic to humans and pets, making it a safe and eco-friendly option for pest control. However, it is important to note that neem oil should not be applied during the flowering stage of cannabis plants, as it can affect the taste and quality of the buds. Neem oil spray is a great organic solution for getting rid of spider mites on cannabis plants.
Soap and Water Solution
Another effective method of eliminating spider mites on cannabis organically is by using a soap and water solution. This solution helps to suffocate spider mites by clogging their breathing pores. Plus, the solution is also an affordable and safe option for treating spider mites. Follow the steps below to make a soap and water solution:
|Water (room temperature)||1 litre|
|Liquid soap/detergent||1 tablespoon|
To make the solution, mix one tablespoon of liquid soap/detergent with one litre of room temperature water in a spray bottle. Be sure to use a mild soap or detergent to prevent damage to the cannabis plant.
Once the solution is prepared, spray it onto the infected plant, making sure to cover both the top and bottom of the leaves. After spraying, allow the solution to sit on the plant for a few hours before rinsing it off with clean water. Repeat this process every three days until the spider mites are eliminated.
It’s important to note that while soap and water solutions are safe for cannabis plants, they can be harmful to other plants. Be sure to only use the soap and water solution on the affected cannabis plants and take precautions to prevent the solution from coming into contact with other plants.
Using a soap and water solution is an effective and affordable option for eliminating spider mites on cannabis organically. However, it’s important to also take preventive measures to avoid future infestations.
Cayenne Pepper and Garlic Spray
One effective and organic way to get rid of spider mites on cannabis is by using a homemade spray made of cayenne pepper and garlic. This spray works by suffocating and repelling spider mites. Here’s how to make a cayenne pepper and garlic spray and use it on your cannabis plants:
|Cayenne Pepper Powder||1 tablespoon|
|Garlic Powder||1 tablespoon|
|Dish Soap||1 teaspoon|
To make the spray, mix the cayenne pepper powder, garlic powder, and dish soap in a quart of water. Stir the mixture well, then let it sit for a couple of hours. This will allow the ingredients to infuse into the water.
After two hours, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any large particles. You can then transfer the liquid to a spray bottle for easy application.
To use the spray, thoroughly spray your cannabis plants with the cayenne pepper and garlic mixture, making sure to cover both the tops and undersides of the leaves. Be sure to also spray any affected areas multiple times daily until the spider mites have been eliminated.
It’s important to note that this spray may also affect beneficial insects, so it should only be used as a last resort when other organic methods have failed. Additionally, it’s a good idea to test the spray on a small area of your plants before spraying the entire plant to ensure that it doesn’t cause any damage or adverse effects.
Herbal Tea Spray
One effective organic method for getting rid of spider mites on cannabis is the use of an herbal tea spray. This natural remedy involves brewing a mixture of powerful herbs and spraying it on the affected plants.
To create the herbal tea spray, you will need to gather the following ingredients:
|1 cup of neem leaves||Repels and kills spider mites|
|1 cup of mint leaves||Repels and deters spider mites by making the plants less attractive to them|
|1/2 cup of clove powder||Repels and kills spider mites|
|1/2 cup of cinnamon powder||Repels and deters spider mites by making the plants less attractive to them|
|1/2 cup of thyme leaves||Repels and deters spider mites by making the plants less attractive to them|
Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, you can begin to brew the herbal tea. Follow these steps:
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and add all the herbs and spices to the water.
- Let the mixture simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Strain the liquid into a spray bottle.
Once you have brewed the herbal tea spray, it is time to apply it to the affected plants. Make sure to thoroughly spray every part of the plant, including the undersides of the leaves. Repeat the application every 3-4 days until the spider mite infestation has been completely eliminated.
Using an herbal tea spray is an effective and natural way to combat spider mites on cannabis plants. By using a combination of powerful herbs and spices, you can repel, deter, and kill spider mites without the use of harmful chemicals or pesticides.
Commercial Products for Spider Mite Control
As organic remedies may not always effectively eliminate a spider mite infestation, commercial products can offer additional support in controlling these pests. Various spider mite control options are available, each with unique benefits and applications. Through the use of predatory mites, insecticidal soaps, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, and biopesticides, cannabis growers can adequately manage and prevent spider mite populations from damaging their plants. Let’s explore some of these options in more detail.
When it comes to controlling spider mites on cannabis plants, one organic solution to consider is the use of predatory mites. These tiny insects feed on spider mites, as well as other pests, and can help to eliminate an infestation before it becomes a major problem. Here’s what you need to know about using predatory mites on your cannabis plants:
How to Use Predatory Mites:
To use predatory mites, you can purchase them from a supplier and release them onto your plants. It’s important to note that different predatory mite species feed on different things, so you’ll want to choose a mite that specifically targets spider mites. Additionally, predatory mites thrive in certain temperature and humidity conditions, so be sure to follow the supplier’s instructions and recommendations for optimal usage.
While predatory mites are generally safe for plants and humans, it’s important to avoid using certain pesticides and insecticides on your plants when using predatory mites, as these can also harm the beneficial insects. Additionally, it’s a good idea to quarantine your plants before introducing predatory mites in order to prevent the spread of the infestation to other plants.
Insecticidal soaps are another effective option for getting rid of spider mites on cannabis plants. These soaps are typically made from potassium salts of fatty acids and work by penetrating the outer shell of spider mites, ultimately causing them to dehydrate and die. Here are some important things to keep in mind when using insecticidal soaps:
- Choose the right product: Look for a product specifically labeled for use on spider mites on cannabis plants. Avoid using any soap that contains additional chemicals or fragrances, as these can harm your plants.
- Apply correctly: Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully. Insecticidal soaps should be applied until the entire plant, including the undersides of leaves, is thoroughly wet. Repeat applications may be necessary to completely eliminate spider mites.
- Be cautious: Insecticidal soaps can also harm beneficial insects, so avoid spraying them directly. If possible, remove plants from the affected area before treating and keep them away until the soap has completely dried.
- Test on a small area: Before treating the entire plant, test a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that the soap does not harm or discolor the leaves.
Insecticidal soaps are a safe and effective option for eliminating spider mites on cannabis plants. By choosing the right product, applying it correctly, being cautious around beneficial insects, and testing on a small area first, you can effectively eradicate spider mites and keep your cannabis plants healthy.
One of the effective natural remedies for getting rid of spider mites on cannabis is diatomaceous earth. This is a powdery substance that is made up of fossilized diatoms, which are tiny aquatic organisms that have a hard shell made up of silica.
How it works: When the diatomaceous earth is sprinkled on to the cannabis plants, it dehydrates the spider mites by absorbing the oils and fats from their exoskeletons. This dries them out and kills them.
How to apply: Sprinkle a layer of diatomaceous earth on both the top and bottom parts of the leaves and the stems of the cannabis plants. Use a small brush or paintbrush to make sure that the powder is evenly distributed on the plants.
Precautions: It is important to use food-grade diatomaceous earth, as the one used for pool filtration can be harmful to humans and pets when inhaled. Additionally, it is important to wear a protective mask while applying diatomaceous earth, as the fine powder can irritate the lungs and cause respiratory issues.
Duration: Diatomaceous earth needs to be re-applied after rain or watering, as it loses its effectiveness when wet.
Using diatomaceous earth, along with other natural remedies, can be a great way to control and eliminate spider mites on cannabis plants in an organic way. By using natural methods, you can keep your plants healthy and free from harsh chemicals.
Essential Oil Sprays
When it comes to organic pest control, essential oils can be a great option for getting rid of spider mites. Essential oils contain natural compounds that can repel and kill the pests, while still being safe for your cannabis plants. Here are some of the most effective essential oils for spider mite control and how to use them:
|Essential Oil||Benefits||How to Use|
|Peppermint Oil||Peppermint oil contains menthol, which has a cooling effect that can suffocate the spider mites.||Mix 1-2 teaspoons of peppermint oil with 1 quart of water and spray on the affected plants. Repeat every 3-5 days until the infestation is under control.|
|Cinnamon Oil||Cinnamon oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can kill spider mites, while also repelling other pests.||Mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil with 1 quart of water and spray on the plants. Repeat every 3 days until the infestation is gone.|
|Lavender Oil||Lavender oil is a natural insecticide and can also repel other pests like aphids and whiteflies.||Mix 1 tablespoon of lavender oil with 1 quart of water and spray on the plants. Repeat every 3-5 days until the infestation is gone.|
|Rosemary Oil||Rosemary oil contains camphor and cineole, which can kill spider mites and other pests, while also improving the overall health of your plants.||Mix 1 tablespoon of rosemary oil with 1 quart of water and spray on the plants. Repeat every 3-5 days until the infestation is under control.|
It’s important to note that essential oils can be strong and should be used with caution. Always test a small part of your plant before spraying the entire plant to make sure it doesn’t have an adverse reaction. Additionally, do not use essential oils on young or fragile plants, as they may be more sensitive to the oils.
Biopesticides are an effective and environmentally-friendly way to control spider mites on cannabis plants. They are naturally derived from living organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or plant extracts. Using biopesticides helps to avoid chemical residues on plants and prevents resistance development in spider mite populations. Here are some examples of effective biopesticides for controlling spider mites on cannabis:
- Spinosad: This pesticide is derived from soil-dwelling bacteria and is highly effective against spider mites. It works by targeting the nervous system of the pests, causing paralysis and death. Spinosad is safe to use on cannabis plants and does not harm beneficial insects such as bees or ladybugs.
- Beauveria bassiana: This fungus is a natural predator that infects and kills spider mites. It works by penetrating the pest’s exoskeleton and releasing toxins that disable and kill it. Beauveria bassiana is non-toxic to humans and other animals and can be used in organic farming.
- Pyrethrin: This insecticide is extracted from the flowers of chrysanthemum plants and is highly toxic to spider mites. It works by targeting the nervous system of the pest, causing paralysis and death. Pyrethrin breaks down quickly in sunlight and is safe to use on cannabis plants. However, it can also harm beneficial insects such as bees and ladybugs, so use with caution.
- Sulfur: This fungicide and insecticide is derived from natural deposits of sulfur and is highly effective against spider mites. It works by smothering the pest’s breathing pores and causing dehydration. Sulfur is safe to use on cannabis plants and is often used in organic farming.
- Beneficial Insects: Using natural predators such as predatory mites, ladybugs, and lacewings can effectively control spider mite populations. Predatory mites, such as Phytoseiulus persimilis, feed on spider mites and can significantly reduce their numbers. Ladybugs and lacewings also feed on spider mites and their eggs. Introducing beneficial insects to your garden is a long-term solution that can help prevent future infestations.
When using biopesticides, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and apply them only in the recommended doses. It’s also important to properly identify the pest and choose the most appropriate biopesticide for the job. Biopesticides are a safe, effective, and sustainable way to control spider mites on your cannabis plants.
In conclusion, getting rid of spider mites on cannabis organically requires a combination of preventative measures, early detection, and effective remedies. By maintaining proper sanitation and nutrition, using sticky traps, regularly inspecting plants, and quarantining infected ones, you can minimize the risk of a spider mite infestation.
When it comes to home remedies, options such as water sprays, alcohol sprays, neem oil sprays, soap and water solutions, cayenne pepper and garlic sprays, and herbal tea sprays offer natural ways to eliminate spider mites without the use of harsh chemicals. However, it’s important to note that these remedies may need to be repeated several times to ensure complete eradication of the pests.
Commercial products such as predatory mites, insecticidal soaps, diatomaceous earth, essential oil sprays, and biopesticides also provide effective solutions for spider mite control without harming the environment or your plants. However, it’s crucial to use these products according to their instructions and to avoid overusing them, as this may harm beneficial insects or create spider mite resistance.
In summary, whether you opt for natural remedies or commercial solutions, the key to success in controlling spider mites on cannabis organically is to stay vigilant and take immediate action at the first signs of infestation. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can protect your cannabis plants from spider mites and enjoy a healthy, thriving garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can spider mites cause permanent damage to cannabis plants?
Yes, spider mites can cause permanent damage by feeding on the plant’s sap, which can lead to stunted growth and reduced yields.
What type of sticky traps should be used for spider mite prevention?
Yellow sticky traps are the most effective for trapping spider mites.
Are there any natural predators that can be introduced to control spider mite populations?
Yes, predatory mites can be introduced to control spider mite populations in a natural and organic way.
What is the best time of day to inspect cannabis plants for spider mites?
It is best to inspect cannabis plants for spider mites during the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler and the mites are more active.
Can regular pruning help prevent spider mite infestations?
Yes, regular pruning can help prevent spider mite infestations by reducing their preferred habitat and limiting their food sources.
Is neem oil safe to use on cannabis plants?
Yes, neem oil is a safe and effective organic pesticide that can be used on cannabis plants to control spider mite infestations.
Can spider mites spread to other plants in the same area?
Yes, spider mites can spread to other plants in the same area if proper sanitation measures are not taken.
Can spider mites survive in soil?
No, spider mites do not survive in soil as they require a plant host to feed on.
What is the difference between neem oil and insecticidal soap?
Neem oil is derived from the neem tree and works by disrupting the mites’ hormonal balance, while insecticidal soap works by suffocating the mites and removing their protective wax coating.
Can spider mite infestations be fully eradicated with natural remedies?
Yes, spider mite infestations can be fully eradicated with natural remedies, but it may take several treatments and diligent efforts to achieve complete control.