For all the work that goes into successfully growing cannabis, one of the worst and most discouraging experiences for a grower is to catch site of an unwanted insect, or see the signs that an insect infestation is currently in place. This goes for all gardens and plants when it really comes down to it.
One of the most commonly found insects in any cannabis garden is aphids. These tiny, pear-shaped insects come in many different colors: green, red, black or white. They can be 1 to 10 millimeters long, but typically are on the smaller end of the spectrum when it comes to growing cannabis. Green is the most common color of aphid in most cannabis gardens.
Aphids love to live on the underside of leaves. They thrive by sucking sap from all parts of a cannabis plant including the leaves, branches and stems. As if this isn’t bad enough, they leave behind a sticky substance called honeydew. Honeydew is responsible for causing even more damage to your plants, namely a black mold that attracts ants. These ants work to protect the aphids, which can make an infestation even more difficult to resolve.
Upon recognizing an aphid infestation, a grower usually thinks of pesticides first. But pesticides are not in the best interest of your plant or your clients.
Fortunately, there are a lot of organic solutions that won’t harm your growing process, are inexpensive and, most importantly, effective. When trying to eradicate aphids, always test your aphid solution or technique on a small portion of your plant, to make sure you do not have any adverse effects before applying solution or technique to your entire plant.
Some of the best, organic solutions to an aphid infestation are:
- Fine Dust Filter – make sure you use a fine dust air filter to prevent aphids from entering your cannabis grow room in the first place.
- Water – water is a great first approach to see if this works to get rid of aphids. If not, add a little garlic oil or crushed and strained tomato leaves to the water, to see if either of these works.
- Lady bugs – lady bugs are safe and will eat only the aphids, and not your plant. Lady bugs do need to be picked off the plant after they have killed the aphids, so they do not become part of your overall harvest.
- Parasitic wasps – parasitic wasps lay eggs in aphids and cause them to die.
- Neem oil – neem oil is an extract from the neem tree, a type of evergreen tree and works well in a high-water volume mix to destroy aphids.
- Dish soap/cayenne pepper mix – one teaspoon of organic dish soap and one pinch of cayenne pepper, mixed with one quart of water, can also kill aphids. Spray on the underside of leaves and remember to only create mixture immediately prior to applying.
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