Marijuana is undoubtedly one of the most abundant cash crops produced in the United States surpassing wheat and corn combined.
Anyone can grow cannabis, and with its recent legalization in many states, many people are getting into cannabis cultivation. If you’re thinking about producing it, you should be aware that a high level of commitment is necessary.
Among the various obstacles that may keep you from that sweet smelling bud harvest, is pests on your cannabis plant.
Common Pests on Cannabis Plants
Like death and taxes, pests and bugs are inevitable for any weed grower, and there is a need to recognize and control them if any harvest is to be achieved. It’s no surprise that cannabis has a long list of living things that enjoy its taste. Unfortunately, only human beings know the right plant care to ensure it stays healthy to maturity.
Cannabis cultivation can attract mealy bugs, moths, caterpillars and spider mites. You may be tempted to rush online and get the most potent pesticide you can lay your hands on, but that is not always ideal. They may kill the bugs but also ruin the quality of the buds – this is not what any grower wants.
Ideally, preference should be on preventive methods. This is trying to close possible channels they may use or discourage them from getting to your precious plant. Work towards making your plant’s surroundings as unfriendly as possible to pests.
And if necessary, there are organic deterrents you can use. They are safe and will not ruin the quality of the plants.
Caterpillars have this destructive appetite for your cannabis crops and can leave significant damage before you even notice they are there. The borer varieties will penetrate the plant’s interior and ingest it from within. If not keen enough, you may end up with a dead plant and fail to notice you had a caterpillar problem.
But that does not mean that the external caterpillars are any friendlier. If anything, they also have a specific liking for the marijuana plant and quickly pick it out to satisfy their voracious appetite. Outdoor growers can get free extermination services from preying mantises and wasps. But there are also organic sprays and other methods to get rid of our wriggly enemies.
Cutworms will attack your cannabis plants while still young – they like their weed young and fresh. The pests use stealth and only come out to enjoy their meal under cover of darkness. You may never see them. But some signs will inform you of their presence.
If the top of your leaves looks trimmed, then there may be cutworms around. But it’s not an uphill task to get rid of them, and it shouldn’t worry you too much. Sometimes, they may go away on their own since they have numerous predators – this explains why they love darkness, apparently.
Other simple reactive measures include tilling the soil and planting a sunflower close to your cannabis plant.
3. Mealy Bugs
These little bugs actually take residence on your cannabis plant. Usually, they are no trouble when just a handful of them exist. They become destructive when their numbers swell.
Mealybugs are hard weavers of gauzy balls – the most definite sign that you have mealy bugs as guests on your plant. The presence of ants is another indication of a mealybug infestation – mealybugs and ants have some beneficial relationship going on there.
It’s easy to evict these free dwellers by wiping them off with a piece of cloth. And lemon juice will keep these guys from returning.
4. Spider Mites
These are probably some of the most significant problems you may face as a cannabis grower. Spider mites reproduce swiftly and are mature within a week. Within a short period, the little bugs can easily cover every plant surface.
Spider mites feed on plant nutrients until it dies. If nothing is done, the bugs may leave your entire crop in ruins and result in you nursing your losses.
You can naturally control mealy bugs by merely introducing ladybirds into your garden – they are natural predators of spider mites. Alternatively, you can also use a blend of water and neem oil to spay them off the plant. They will have challenges getting back on and quickly die of starvation – they have this colossal metabolism.
5. White flies
Among the qualities that make whiteflies dangerous is their mobility and affinity for spreading diseases. The little-winged creatures can spread diseases to your entire crop leaving you with an empty harvest – nothing to show for your efforts.
The easiest way of dealing with these marauders is preventing them in the first place. Introduce natural predators such as insects to prey on them – planting colorful flowers will attract hummingbirds. Furthermore, you can use a diluted garlic solution as a deterrent – they don’t like it.
6. Leaf Miners
These miner pests drill on the surface of the leaves and take away essential nutrients from the plant. So how do you recognize a leaf miner infestation? Well, you will notice brown and white streaks gracing the leaves.
Leaf miners place their larvae underneath the leaves. Upon hatching, these larvae burrow into leaves. The bad news is that these bugs are hard to get rid of. The commercially available insecticides are ineffective against them and may do more harm than good.
But these house-fly looking bugs are not too much of a threat to your cannabis. Their numbers continuously stay low, and the damage they leave is not significant. However, you can physically search the little maggots and squish the life out of them – requires some courage though. You can then cut off the affected leaf.
Well there you have it, six of the most common marijuana pests you should be aware of. It is not too hard to keep them away. Happy growing!
About the Author
Michelle Whyte is a gardening enthusiast from North Dakota. She started having passion for gardening at an early age which may be due to the fact that she comes from a family of ardent farmers. At the early age of 15, she discovered how fulfilling it is to grow seed. She started her vegetable garden staring from the basics, with the help of her family. She started her blog about gardening, Gardening Leave, to help budding gardeners with the nitty-gritty of agriculture while providing the information in an easy-to-read format.