Many cannabis growers are using beneficial insects as a natural alternative to chemical pest control. These beneficial insects work around the clock hunting and consuming any pests (or their larvae/eggs) living on your plants or among the cannabis root network.
These natural predators are an essential part of any healthy and happy grow room. Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, beneficial insects are an excellent option to protect your crops.
Predatory mites can be an important addition to your pest control arsenal in cannabis cultivation. These predatory insects are designed to feed on pests and their eggs. They are an incredibly effective way to reduce pest populations without damaging your crop.
These beneficial insects are also a great way to help prevent pests from getting started on your cannabis plants in the first place. In addition, predatory mites can be a natural alternative to chemical insecticides.
The best time to release predatory mites is during the growing season, but they can also be released at any time throughout the year when pests are a problem. In order to ensure that the release of predatory mites is successful, growers should select the right species for the particular pests they are trying to prevent.
For example, a cannabis cultivator who is dealing with twospotted spider mite infestations should choose Phytoseiulus persimilis to eliminate their population. This predatory mite will feed on all stages of the twospotted spider mite, including the larvae and nymphs, which will prevent their reproduction.
Another type of predatory mite is the Russet mite (Hydropsis californicus). This mite will feed on the leaves of your cannabis crop close to the base of the plant, but as the plant grows up it will consume the top few leaves as well.
These mites are often used by outdoor growers who want to keep a constant supply of predators patrolling their cannabis plots throughout the growing season. They are also a good choice for indoor growers, as they can be released in the greenhouse to combat pests while your cannabis crop is still in the vegetative phase.
Ladybugs are beneficial insects that can be used to control pests in cannabis cultivation. They help prevent aphid infestations, and they can also stop spider mites from destroying your plants.
The best way to attract these predatory insects is by growing flowers that produce pollen and nectar for them to eat. You can also use dill and fennel to attract them.
Once ladybugs have settled in your crop, they’ll feed on the aphids and other garden pests that are living there. They can eat up to 5,000 aphids during their lifetime, and they’re also efficient at clearing up large infestations of spider mites.
Besides feeding on aphids, ladybugs can also prey on mealybugs and thrips. They’re mobile, so they can travel from plant to plant and hunt down these pests as well.
When you release ladybugs in your grow, it’s important to choose a species that primarily feeds on aphids. If you do, they’ll be able to consume all of the aphids on your plants before moving on to other pests.
Another beneficial insect to use in your cannabis garden is a nematode, or microscopic worm. They can kill thrips, fungus gnats, and other soil-dwelling pests.
You can buy them in small bottles or in bulk online, but be sure that the species you purchase is a native one. Some companies remove these bugs from the wild, which can disrupt local ecosystems and cause big pest problems.
Alternatively, you can try using natural repellents like cloves or bay leaves. These can be placed in the areas where ladybugs are gathering. You can also plant chrysanthemums near your windows and entrances to deter them from entering the house.
Using nematodes for pest control is a great way to keep your crop healthy and safe without using chemical pesticides. They are an important component of an integrated pest management program and can be applied as a preventative treatment, early season control or in conjunction with other beneficial organisms for maximum effectiveness.
Beneficial nematodes are naturally occurring micro-organisms that kill pests by physically entering their bodies and releasing a bacterium to destroy them. They are effective against a wide range of soil-borne pests including western flower thrips, fungus gnats and shore fly larvae.
In addition to controlling pests, they help weed out pathogens and plant disease caused by the same insects as well. Because they are non-toxic, they can be used as a natural alternative to chemical sprays for protecting your plants from diseases and pests.
The key to a successful nematode application is maintaining proper moisture and temperature conditions. Apply nematodes in the morning or evening, and water thoroughly to avoid desiccation and UV radiation damage. Also, keep nematode solutions cool at all times.
Nematodes work best in the soil, but can also be applied to foliage. Use caution when applying nematodes to cannabis leaves because they are sensitive to sun exposure. Be sure to mix nematode solutions properly and apply them with equipment that will ensure easy passage of the nematodes.
Rove beetles (Dalotia coriaria) are another popular option for controlling fungus gnats, pupating thrips and root aphids. They can be ordered online and released in the affected area.
Preventive spraying is one of the best ways to reduce pest populations before they have a chance to become an issue. Start a month before introducing new plants into your facility and check at least a third of them daily for pests. If you spot any, quarantine the affected plant(s) until they are treated or removed from the grow room.
Assassin bugs are one of the most common beneficial insects that you can use to control pests in your cannabis garden. They are natural predators that help thwart bad insect invasions in the garden by feeding on aphids, whiteflies and other common plant pests.
Unlike other insects, assassin bugs aren’t attracted to specific types of plants and can be found on just about any flowering plant or vegetable crop. Their main prey is aphids, but they can also take on small fruit flies and other insects that aren’t as visible or easy to spot.
Their long, curved proboscis can be used to feed on fluids in their prey’s bodies and they’re also capable of piercing skin and injecting it with venom. The venom is extremely painful, so it’s important to wash the bite afterward to reduce pain and irritation.
Most assassin bugs are brown or black in color, although some species can be orange, yellow or red. They can be distinguished from other bugs by their elongated head, membranous wings and long, thin antennae.
The elongate assassin bug, also known as the wheel bug, is one of the most common assassin bugs. The wheel bug’s distinctive semicircle crest, or “cogwheel,” can be seen on its upper back.
Aside from the wheel bug, there are many other species of assassin bugs. Some are parasitic on other animals, such as the cone nosed bug (Reduvius nivalis), while others kill their prey by using a spear to inject them with venom.
Assassin bugs are a great addition to a cannabis grow room because they are omnivorous and can feast on a wide variety of pests. They are also a good choice for protecting your crops from underground pests because they can penetrate and infect thrips, fungus gnats and other insects living deep beneath the ground. They are a great addition to a routine IPM program, as they can be released early in a grow room’s development and squash any hidden pest invaders before they have time to cause damage.
Rove beetles are a natural control against pests such as fungus gnats and pupating thrips. These insects are a great choice for growers who live in wet climates and overwater their cannabis plants, as they feed on these pests and can be released throughout your garden space to combat them.
Aside from using beneficial insects to control pests, there are several other ways you can prevent them. For example, you can use a filtration system to ensure that your growing room is free of dirt and debris that can attract pests.
Another way you can protect your cannabis plant from pests is by ensuring that your grow room is properly sized and equipped with the right lighting, heating, ventilation, and dehumidification systems. These tools can help to prevent pests from entering your cultivation space and destroying your harvest, while also helping you to maintain perfect grow conditions for your plant.
If you’re looking for a more biological control approach, you can try using green lacewings. These predators are attracted to soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and leafhoppers, and they’ll patrol your garden for these pests before attacking them.
In addition to controlling pests, these green lacewings also nurture companion plants that help your plants thrive. This can be especially helpful for outdoor growers as it means they’re less likely to have to rely on chemical pesticides in the future.
Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor cultivator, the key to controlling pests is to start an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. This can include a variety of control tactics such as scouting, avoiding or minimizing the use of pesticides, and monitoring for pest infestations with an app like Grow with Jane.