Your marijuana plants are vulnerable to many pests and diseases throughout their lives. For a successful harvest, you must take steps to prevent these invaders as well as watch your plants closely for signs of infestation or infection. Your ability to respond quickly and appropriately to attacks on your indoor marijuana plants is key to keeping them healthy and strong until harvest time.
Common Pests in Indoor Marijuana Gardens
Spider mites are the most common pests found in cannabis grow rooms. They are tiny and barely visible to the naked eye. Unless you view them through a magnifier, they will just look like tiny dots. There are actually several different varieties of spider mites, and they can appear red, black, green, yellow, or brown. The first sign you’ll likely see of a spider mite infestation is a proliferation of tiny, light-colored spots on the leaves of the plant. This is where the insects have sucked the juices from the leaves. You may also notice fine webbing on the plant – a telltale sign of spider mites. Misting your plants with water makes these webs easier to spot.
Whitefly damage appears very similar to spider mite damage, but whiteflies are easier to identify on sight. Simply shake the plant, and the white tiny insects will fly out from their hiding places beneath the leaves. Whiteflies are particularly hazardous to your garden because in addition to damaging the plants’ cells and depriving them of chlorophyll, these insects are also very effective at spreading disease.
Aphids are common garden pests that can ravage marijuana plants. They live off the plant’s juices and secrete a sweet substance known as “honeydew.” This liquid attracts ants and provides a fertile breeding ground for sooty mold, drawing even more hazards into your garden as it deprives your crop of nutrients. What’s more, like whiteflies, aphids can infect your garden with disease. When you have a bad infestation, aphids will appear as countless little bumps on the stems undersides of leaves. Depending on the species, they may be green, brown, gray, black, white, yellow, or pink. A stream of ants climbing up your plants is also a clear sign of aphid infestation.
Thrips are tiny winged creatures with long, cigar-shaped bodies. Like whiteflies and spider mites, thrips deprive their host plants of chlorophyll, leaving behind tiny, light-colored spots or squiggles on the leaves. They are also carriers of common plant viruses. They like to feed on developing flowers, making them a serious threat to your harvest.
Natural Control for Common Pests
While you can buy a number of commercial products to deal with these common pests, many growers prefer simple controls that they make at home. By attacking invaders with natural household products, you can exercise the greatest control over what substances come into contact with your plants and ensure that your bud is as pure and unadulterated as it can be. Homemade formulas are extremely cost effective and highly effective against many pests. Try one or more of these when you discover unwelcome visitors feasting on your precious plants.
1 Tbs minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground chilis
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp liquid detergent
1 quart water
Blend all ingredients and strain. Spray in a well-ventilated area, and wear protective eyewear and a mask when spraying, as chili pepper can be very irritating to eyes and lungs. Avoid exposing plants to direct light immediately after spraying.
¼ c organic tobacco
1 quart hot water
Allow tobacco to steep in water overnight, and then strain.
Simple Soap Spray
Add ¼ tsp eco-friendly soap to a quart of water.
Sesame oil has both insecticidal and fungicidal properties. Dilute 2 tsp in 1 quart of water, and add a drop of pure castile soap.
Yellow Sticky Traps
Simply coat strips of yellow, weatherproof material with oil or glue, and hang up in the garden. The color attracts aphids and whiteflies. Note that while this will help to deter insects on your plants, it will not eradicate an infestation. Use in combination with one of the sprays listed above.
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The Nature’s Gift Shop blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice a qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you read on this website.
"Dual Purpose Controls For Pests And Disease." I Love Growing Marijuana. n.p., 14 Nov 2012. Web. 30 Nov 2015.
"Natural Pest Control Remedies." No Dig Vegetable Garden. n.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov 2015.
Group, "10 Homemade Organic Pesticides." Global Healing Center. n.p., 28 April 2010. Web. 30 Nov 2015.
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"Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphid)-PLoS" by Shipher Wu (photograph) and Gee-way Lin (aphid provision), National Taiwan University - PLoS Biology, February 2010 direct link to the image description. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acyrthosiphon_pisum_(pea_aphid)-PLoS.jpg#/media/File:Acyrthosiphon_pisum_(pea_aphid)-PLoS.jpg
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