Grower's Guide: Cannabis and Pests

Pests of all kinds can quickly overwhelm any cannabis grower, and threaten their crop. Whether your cannabis is growing outdoors, indoors, or in a greenhouse, destructive pests will eventually find their way to your valuable crop. These nasty pests range from microscopic mites to big grasshoppers, but whatever their size, they need to be dealt with quickly and effectively.

There are a lot of chemical pesticides available that will work quickly to kill any and all insect pests. Unfortunately, most of these chemical pesticides are also toxic to animals and humans. While some may argue that chemical pesticides are safe, many still believe it's risky. Most cannabis users don't eat their cannabis, but rather inhale it. Smoking will not only bring the THC and CBD into the users' lungs, but it can also transmit any chemical pesticides. This is a big reason why cannabis growers need to look for natural and organic solutions to insect pests.

Fortunately, there are a variety of organic solutions for pest control. By incorporating organic pest control into your garden, the damage from pests can be minimized. Your cannabis plants can be kept healthy, without posing potential health risks to your end-users.

Organic Foliar Sprays

Fungus gnats can become a big problem for cannabis growers. Potential biological pesticides for fungus gnats include “bacillus thuringiensis” a biological larvicide. This can be purchased as a ready-made organic spray. This bacteria controls the fungus gnat larvae without damaging the plant. However, it's important to research what biological solution will work for your specific problem. These biological pest control solutions are often specific to only one type of pest.

You can also use organic pest repellent sprays proactively on your cannabis crop. Aromatic essential oils like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, or clove oil all can be very effective in keeping pests away from your plants in the first place. Essential oils are generally safe and can deter insect pests when used in moderation.

Plants also take up nutrients through their leaves and roots; compost teas used as a foliar spray can also be very effective.

Companion Plants

A great way to control pests is with companion planting. By cultivating other types of plants around your cannabis, you can build up an ecosystem that will provide a defense against invasive pests.

For example, very aromatic plants such as basil, lavender, rosemary, and sage may be planted along with your cannabis, thus reducing pests by making your garden undesirable. Aphids, thrips, and beetles are all easily deterred by using aromatic plants.

Predatory Mites

Predatory insects can be very effective at killing off an existing pest problem when used appropriately. First, you must choose the right predatory insect for the job. For example, stethorus punctillum, is a beetle that looks like a black ladybug and is ideal for controlling spider mites. However, if you also have a problem with fungus gnats, Gaeolaelaps, a soil predator, would be a better choice, since they eat both mites and fungus gnats. There are many types of predatory insects and nematodes, it's a matter of choosing the one that's right for your situation.

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