Yo, what’s good? It’s your boy Dan, and today we’re talking about pests that can ruin your weed crop. Let me tell you, growing outdoors has been going on for centuries, but pests have always been a problem. Bugs and other animals love to eat raw cannabis, and if you don’t catch an infestation in time, your whole crop can be ruined. But listen up, using chemical insecticides can damage your crop and leave it tasting like crap. So, I got you covered with some natural methods to get rid of three common cannabis pests: root aphids, fungus gnats, and spider mites.
First up, root aphids. These soft-bodied insects are a problem for both the foliage and root systems of your plants. They come in different colors from reddish-brown to green and if a plant is heavily infested, the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow. Plus, they produce honeydew which attracts sooty mold that turns leaves black. Not a good look for your crop.
To get rid of root aphids, you gotta act fast since their colony can get out of control within a couple of weeks. Insecticidal soaps suffocate or dissolve the exoskeleton of aphids, so you gotta use them several times. Neem oil is effective against most pests but be careful since it can damage buds and potentially harm humans. Spinosad kills aphids on contact but isn’t very strong so use it multiple times. You can also introduce predators like ladybugs or lacewing larvae for a natural solution. And lastly, remove ants since they farm aphids to collect their honeydew.
Next up, fungus gnats. These tiny mosquitoes produce larvae that live in your growing medium and damage the roots of your plants. They love moist conditions which means overwatering is a big no-no since fungus grows in wet soil where gnats lay their eggs.
To get rid of fungus gnats, make sure the humidity in your grow room is low since they thrive in moist conditions. Yellow sticky cards are great traps designed for gnats which love the color yellow. You can monitor the cards to see if an infestation is being managed. Use a fan to dry out the top layer of soil where gnats lay their eggs. And lastly, sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth overexposed parts of the growing medium or use products like Bacillus thuringiensis or SM-90.
Last but not least, spider mites are the most common cannabis pest but tough to spot since they’re only 0.4mm in size. They have sharp mouths that pierce individual plant cells which results in orange, white or yellow specks on your plant’s leaves.
To get rid of spider mites, you gotta act fast since they can easily repopulate a crop if not entirely eradicated. Increase the temperature above 30 degrees Celsius since spider mites cannot regulate their body temperature in excessive heat. Spinosad products work well when sprayed directly on roots or you can introduce predatory mites like Stethorus punctillum or Phytoseiulus persimilis to feed on them voraciously.
Prevention is always better than cure so make sure to sterilize your soil or fertilizer before using it by putting it in the oven at 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes. Consider growing companion plants like basil, garlic or mint since leaf-eating pests hate their smell. Make sure all your equipment is sterile and keep a clean grow room by washing your hands before touching plants and removing debris as soon as possible.
And that’s it! Hopefully these tips will help keep those pests away from your precious crop so you can enjoy some good weed without any nasty surprises!