Farmwork Friday: Cannabis Pests

Before you can get to the fun bits of cannabis, a lot of work has to go into the cultivation of the plant. Or, maybe you consider that the fun bit? Either way, we’re here to outline what the team at Elyon does to give you the best bud, from choosing the soil to harvesting the plants. Let's get to (farm)work.

Lions and Tigers and Mites, Oh My!

Humans love cannabis. Unfortunately, many other little critters do too. It's hard to blame them. But we will because they often chew holes in the plant, hog nutrients and cause disease. Stoners love to share their weed but we have to draw the line at farm pests. Mites and aphids just sound like gross pests, and they are, but other unwanted creatures include ants, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and snails. These seem more like harmless garden companions. Crickets create the sound of summer, right? Well, they are definitely not good for cannabis. They are leaf-eating menaces. Thankfully, they are pretty easy to spot (not so good to be so noisy) and pretty easy to treat. Mites and aphids on the other hand? Those can be a bit trickier. Some can be hard to spot and only seen under a microscope. They also tend to find harbor on the underside of the leaves. Aphids spread and reproduce rapidly--really rapidly. Some aphids can give birth up to 12 times a day! Yeesh, definitely wouldn’t want to be a lady aphid. These busy little bugs like to eat cannabis plants and, unfortunately, attract ants, creating a life cycle of unwanted cannabis critters. Spider mites suck the sap from the leaves. These, along with a few other pests, can cause confusion because the problems caused can mimic the symptoms of other problems, like lack of nutrients. Shriveled leaves, colored spots and yellowing can be signs of pests...or other problems. Keep that microscope handy to be sure. Another problem pest is the fungus gnat. They don’t eat the leaves as many other pests do. They target the roots and reduce soil drainage. This opens up more opportunity for disease and overall damage to the plant. We definitely don’t want the fungus among us.

She Looks Like a Lady

Not all bugs are bad. In fact, some bugs can help control pests and are actively invited into the cannabis farm. Ladybugs are the growers best friend. These bugs may seem like dainty little creatures, but they are carnivores through and through. Spider mites and aphids? Ladybugs eat them for breakfast. Seriously, they do eat them for breakfast...and lunch...and dinner. And thankfully they don’t eat the cannabis plants so welcome them to your grow with open arms. Earthworms and praying mantises are other recognizable bugs that can be beneficial to your farm. They join the ranks along with some less common bugs including the insidious flower bug (great name), pillbugs (you might actually recognize these guys) and green lacewings. Let’s say it again: not all bugs are bad.

Constant Vigilance

Other than introducing beneficial bugs to the grow, there are many things a cultivator can do to keep their farm pest-free. First and foremost--pay attention! The best thing a grower can do is be present and keep an eye on the plants. Second is a word that no one likes to say but is most often unavoidable on a farm: pesticides. Just make sure the products you are using are natural and hopefully organic. Pesticides aren’t evil...not all of them at least. Be mindful. That's a good mantra to have in every cannabis experience. Image via Green Rush Daily.