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Fighting Back Against Three Common Cannabis Plant Pests

Fighting Back Against Three Common Cannabis Plant Pests

By Lisa Mortown

There are countless cannabis plant pests that can lay waste to your hard work in no time at all. Unfortunately, problems with pests often go undetected until their presence is pretty prolific. By which time, it can be extremely difficult for you to do anything about them.

The key to mounting a successful fightback against common cannabis plant pests lies in the early detection. Spot the pesky little things at the earliest possible stage and most common pests can be surprisingly easy to deal with.

With this in mind, here’s a brief overview of three of the most common cannabis plant pests and how to banish them from your bud:

Spider Mites
First up, spider mites are relatively easy to identify due to their similarities to their namesakes. Spider mites have 6 to 8 legs and spin silky-white webs that are not dissimilar to those of spiders…only much smaller and finer. Left to their own devices, spider mites will feed on the chlorophyll within the leaves of your cannabis plants, ultimately robbing them of the fuel they need to power their food production.

Preventing spider mites from becoming an issue in the first place begins with impeccable hygiene. If that particular ship has sailed, there are plenty of organic and 100% safe pesticides that are designed to tackle spider mites. Before doing so, you could also try ‘pressure washing’ the bugs off your plants with a hose pipe and a relatively robust jet of water. That is, assuming your plants aren’t flowering, and are sufficiently strong and healthy to deal with the blast.

Most people know what aphids look like – tiny bugs with yellow wings that reproduce faster than almost anything else on earth. Literally, female aphids can give birth to live young up to a dozen times a day. Precisely why you never tend to see just a few of the things – there’s either none of them or hundreds of them.

Along with chowing down on cannabis plants, the faeces of aphids is also known to attract other insects and problematic pests. The introduction of beneficial bugs like ladybirds can help keep aphids under control, as can a DIY pesticide made from mineral oil and tomato leaves (or garlic). Simply steep the leaves in the oil for a minimum of 24 hours, strain it and treat your plants accordingly. Just be sure to use it on a small area first to see how it works.

If the resulting preparation turns the leaves yellow the next day, dilute it with a little filtered water and start again.

Fungus Gnats
Thirdly and finally, fungus gnats are tiny little black bugs that hang around in enormous colonies at the base of cannabis plants. Quite curious creatures with a transparent body and a dark head, they reproduce like it’s a competition and often go undetected until there are hundreds of the things.

Unlike their counterparts above, they don’t set their sights on the buds or the leaves of your cannabis plants. An interesting factoid – the adult gnat actually eats nothing at all. Nevertheless, they can cause serious damage to the root systems of cannabis plants and can affect their ability to absorb moisture and key nutrients.

Thankfully, keeping your crop clear of fungus gnats is as easy as ensuring the top layer of the soil is kept nice and dry at all times. They can only breed in relatively modest conditions, making dry tip soil their enemy. More often than not, resorting to pesticides (homemade or otherwise) really isn’t necessary.

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