Loving your ladies and loathing their pests: how to prevent & eradicate cannabis pests

While on the hunt for information regarding cannabis pest prevention, my search engine was filled with lots of dead-end links leaving me right back at the starting line. It wasn’t until I refined my search that I found a link which made me exclaim “my research is done, I’ve hit gold!” So with the help of the World Wide Web and a little investigation work, I present Miss MMJGeek’s condensed version of protecting your ladies from harmful pests. My goal was to provide an easy-to-digest article that will help you protect your growing ladies, let’s see if I’ve accomplished that!

Cannabis is pest-tolerant, but as Greek mythology is quick to remind us, all great warriors have an Achilles tendon and arthropods (defined as invertebrate animals which have an exoskeleton, segmented body, and jointed appendages; they include insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) happens to be Cannabis’ deadliest weakness, despite the natural insecticidal properties of the cannabinoids produced by cannabis’ surface glands.

Cannabis’ biggest nemeses are stem-boring caterpillars, particularly European corn borers (ECB; for further information on symptoms and life cycles visit this site) and the smaller, host-specific hemp borers (HB). ECB feedings structurally weaken cannabis plants, rupturing their support system and eventually causing heavy flowering bud sites to topple over and entire plants to collapse. HBs are more destructive and can consume an average of 16 cannabis seeds per larva. Because they are host-specific to cannabis they have been flagged as potential bio-control agents (using other living organisms to control pests by relying on predation, parasitism, and herbivory) against this weed. Another caterpillar causing as much, if not more damage than ECB and HBs are budworms, as they leave stems alone and instead focus on damaging flowering buds!

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http://static.squarespace.com/static/5267d400e4b01993102f8af6/t/52fd17b2e4b07207c75fb974/1392318387648/2.PNG?format=500w

* http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/corn-borer

** http://entomology.unl.edu/ecb/ecb1.htm

*** http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/GM/PDF/GMquestions.pdf

There are other arthropods, more specifically insects, that also bore except these do so within the leaves and roots and amongst them we find leaf miners and fungus gnats.


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* http://www.420magazine.com/forums/problems-pests-disease-control/81275-cannabis-plant-pest-problem-solver-pictorial.html ** http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/acephagen.pdf *** http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/PNAI/pnaishow.php?id=62 **** http://www.valent.com/Data/Labels/2012-GNT-0001%20Gnatrol%20WDG%20-%20form%2004-6746%20R3%20&%2004-6747%20R3.pdf

* http://www.420magazine.com/forums/problems-pests-disease-control/81275-cannabis-plant-pest-problem-solver-pictorial.html
** http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/acephagen.pdf
*** http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/PNAI/pnaishow.php?id=62
**** http://www.valent.com/Data/Labels/2012-GNT-0001%20Gnatrol%20WDG%20-%20form%2004-6746%20R3%20&%2004-6747%20R3.pdf

I briefly mentioned earlier that the surface glands on cannabis plants produce cannabinoids and these cannabinoids have long been recognized to possess insecticidal properties. Medical marijuana crops continue to be damaged by pests, most frequently by piercing-sucking insects whose mouthparts enable them to bypass these insecticidal toxins found on leaf surfaces and suck sap from within the plant. The majority of piercing-sucking insects do well under artificial lighting and among these are aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, mealybugs, scales and thrips.  Let’s take a closer look at these pests:

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Another famous piercing-sucking arthropod is one that all growers fear the most: spider mites. Spider mites also suck plant sap and are extremely hard to eradicate once infested. The best way to avoid these critters from invading your grow operation is to quarantine new clones obtained from other gardens before introducing them to your own medicinal garden. Weekly preventative spray downs can assist in maintaining a pest-free environment, but the most important thing is to keep your garden clean. Let’s take a closer look at this garden enemy:

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Indoor medical marijuana crops are most likely to fall victim to pests such as aphids, fungus gnats, mites, thrips, and most other insects discussed above, while outdoor crops share their environment with hungry slugs, snails, deer, rodents, rabbits, caterpillars, and also insects, insects are everywhere! This brings us to non-arthropod pests.

Slugs and snails can be hand-picked and tossed from the garde. Another organic approach which has worked for years is good ol’ salt. A harsher approach would be using Sluggo.

When gardening outdoors, your ladies face exposure to ravenous herbivore neighbors, such as deer which will eat everything from leaves, stems, flowers, to branches from the cannabis plan. They can be discouraged by using cougar urine and Deer Off.

Groundhogs, although adorable, are rodents that will devour the shoots and leaves of your ladies. The use of dry chlorine will prevent them from coming close to your prospering girls in the outdoor garden.

Rabbits, even more adorable, could chow down an entire crop in no time. Pets, like cats and dogs, do a great job of scaring them off, but a more efficient technique is using predator urine.

There are various preventative measures that could be taken to keep your ladies happy and free of nasty little critters, but of those many precautions the two most important to keep in mind are cleanliness is close to awesomeness and listen to your ladies. Spending quality time with your girls will save you from an uphill battle with these rapidly reproducing pests if you nip the issue in the bud with early detection.

I hope this has helped, thanks for reading and above all happy growing!

For neat home-made recipes and even more information on this subject, be sure to check out this website, as I found it to be a gold-mine.

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