Intro to Cannabis Pest Control
How to Protect Your Marijuana Plants from Pests
Growing indoors may be a little more protected from pests, but every marijuana grower should be aware of the potential for pests and what they can do to the plants. Many pests enjoy the taste of cannabis, so they can destroy an entire crop rapidly. Thankfully, there are options to protect the plants from pests, even without using dangerous pesticides. Read below to learn more about how to identify and control pests that could get on your plants and how to protect your plants as much as possible.
How to Spot Pests
Some pests are very easy to spot, while others can be much more difficult. The key is to check the plants at least daily for any signs of issues. The faster pests are noticed, the easier it will be to get rid of them and protect the northern light strain or bruce banner plant that deserves to survive until harvest time. When inspecting the plants, growers should lookout for any signs of damage – assessing the stems, leaves, buds, even roots of the plants whenever possible.
Some pests hide where the branches come off the stems while others will hide under the marijuana plant’s leaves. Other pests only come out at night, so even if they’re not seen munching on the plants, there could be signs that they have been around. Some growers will not only check on the plants once or twice during the day but will go out at night with a flashlight to catch any nighttime pests.
Pesticides or Not?
Pesticides work very well, but they can be dangerous. Chemical pesticides are not good for the environment, so they should be used sparingly if they are used. When they are used frequently or overused, they can get into the groundwater and cause many serious issues. Additionally, pesticides can still be present on the plants when the flowers are harvested, which means they’re in the buds that are consumed.
Pesticides still being present after harvest could be incredibly dangerous for anyone who consumes the marijuana. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid pesticides as much as possible when producing marijuana for consumption. However, even though pesticide use is not recommended, it is possible to kill pests using organic or natural methods and to prevent them from getting to the plants in the first place.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is the best way to protect marijuana plants, whether grown from indica seeds indoor or sativa female seeds outdoor. There are tons of ways to protect the plants from many different pests, including ways that are natural and safe to use. Prevention can include creating an inhospitable environment, organic deterrents, and even using natural predators.
For prevention, it’s best to determine what pests are a concern. Different locations will have different pests that are prevalent. In areas where cutworms are prevalent, it may be necessary to take precautions to protect seedlings until they’re too large for the cutworms to attack. In areas where deer are prevalent, installing a fence is often the best way to prevent damage.
Having an Inhospitable Environment
Most pests prefer a very specific environment to be able to flourish, so making the environment inhospitable can help reduce or eliminate these pests. For instance, slugs are known to eat marijuana plants. However, they cannot get to plants that are surrounded by salt. Placing salt in a ring around the plants can help keep slugs away, thus protecting the plants as much as possible. To create an inhospitable environment, look into the pests prevalent in the area and what will keep them away. Use these methods any time they will be effective without causing damage to the marijuana plants.
Companion planting is often chosen by marijuana growers because certain plants can add nutrients to the soil that marijuana plants can use to grow. There is another reason, however, to try companion planting. Many pests do not like marigolds, for instance. If marigolds are planted near marijuana plants, there will naturally be fewer pests.
Other plants that might be great for companion planting include garlic, chamomile, and dill. As with other methods, determine the pests first and then figure out which companion plants are going to be the best to keep them away. Many companion plants are easy to grow and can provide other benefits as well, like a nice collection of dill for making pickles at home.
Alligators and other large predators are not needed to grow marijuana, but there are natural predators that can help keep pest populations low. One great option is ladybugs. They eat a lot of smaller pests, so they can be great to have around. The best part is, they can be purchased online. It is necessary to ensure they have the right environment so they will want to stay, but as long as there is a plentiful food source for them, the ladybugs will help keep pests off the marijuana plants. Birds are another example, as they can help eat some of the pests from the marijuana plants.
Getting Rid of Pests
Even if all of the methods above are used, it’s possible to find pests on the marijuana plants. While the numbers will hopefully be kept low, growers will still want to make sure they get rid of any pests that are found. Though pesticides are not recommended for use, there are plenty of homemade control methods that can work very well. In some cases, removing pests is as easy as removing them from the plants and killing them. In other cases, homemade organic or natural pesticides can help keep the plants pest-free, so the marijuana is able to grow as much as possible and still produce a great yield.
Common Pests to Watch Out For
The exact pests to be worried about will depend on location. Those who already grow other types of plants, like vegetables, may already be familiar with some of the biggest pests in their area. Some of the pests anyone growing marijuana can watch out for will include the following.
- Ants – Ants don’t eat marijuana plants, but they are attracted to the area when there are other pests. They can also cause issues if they dig tunnels under the marijuana plants. If ants are noticed, look closely for other pests and take measures to remove those before worrying about the ants.
- Aphids – Aphids are difficult to see and reproduce quickly, so they can quickly damage marijuana plants. Most of the time, they’re noticed because growers spot ants near the marijuana. Natural predators are the best way to get rid of aphids, but there are natural sprays that can help as well.
- Birds – Birds are natural predators and, therefore, good to have around, as long as there aren’t any cannabis seeds or seedlings. When the marijuana seeds are initially planted, use netting or another method to keep birds away. Once the plants have sprouted, birds can help protect the plants from other pests. Better yet, follow our i49 germination guide and first germinate your seeds indoors.
- Caterpillars – Caterpillars can quickly eat through marijuana plants, causing significant damage. Attracting natural predators like birds can help keep caterpillars away from plants. There are also organic deterrents that can be used to keep them away.
- Cutworms – Cutworms feed on tiny seedlings, cutting right through the tiny stem. Once the plant is large enough, they won’t be a problem. However, there are natural ways to keep cutworms away while your goyard weed strain or og kush plants are still growing, like planting sunflowers around the plants when they are young seedlings.
- Deer – Deer love to eat marijuana plants that are young, though they tend to stay away from larger plants. In most cases, deer will eat the entire plant, so there’s no way to save it. To get rid of deer, a fence is often the best option. There are other options that can work, like spraying garlic on the plants or using motion-detected lights.
- Gophers and Moles – Gophers and moles don’t eat marijuana plants, but they like to dig around under the ground. This can lead to damage to the root systems or to the plants falling into the tunnels. The best way to get rid of them is to work on attracting natural predators like owls.
- Leaf Miners – Leaf miners chew through leaves, damaging the leaves and taking vital nutrients from marijuana plants. Most pesticides are ineffective against leaf miners, making them very difficult to get rid of. The best way to get rid of them is to catch and kill any leaf miners found on your sour diesel fem or blue dream autoflower marijuana plants.
- Snails and Slugs – Snails and slugs can quickly eat through a crop of marijuana plants, but they are often easy to discourage. A ring of salt can help keep them away from plants. Another method is to make the area attractive to frogs, who will eat the snails and slugs.
The Bottom Line
Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your i-49 marijuana plants from pests and other issues. Proper prevention can be done without harm to the marijuana plants and can be a great way to keep pests from getting to the plants in the first place. Proper research into your location can help you learn what pests are most likely to be an issue and how to keep them away from your plants. However, this guide can help get you started so you can keep the plants pest-free and enjoy your marijuana harvest.