Growing cannabis can be an incredibly rewarding process. The satisfaction of watching your crop thrive while knowing exactly how the end product was cultivated is unparalleled. However, growing weed does come with its challenges. Whether you are cultivating a crop indoors within a grow tent or outside in a garden bed or greenhouse, pests are more than likely to assault your operation at some point.

Many lifeforms have a taste for cannabis—from the macro to the micro. There are numerous steps that can be taken to prevent these pesky critters from indulging too heavily and annihilating your crop.

SYNTHETIC VS BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL

Some growers choose to use harsh synthetic chemicals like pesticides and fungicides to keep their plants free of pests. Although these chemical agents might do their job, they also cause great harm to human and environmental health. Residue from these products can even end up in your smoking stash.

Many organic/biological control methods exist that are highly effective. Not only do these techniques help to keep pests from damaging your weed plants, some of them can even contribute to the overall health of plants and soil.

Companion Plants Cannabis

COMPANION PLANTING

Companion planting involves cultivating beneficial plant species within close proximity to your cannabis crop. Companion plants work in numerous ways to protect your cannabis against insects that would otherwise have a field day. There is an enormous list you can choose from, with many of them offering different benefits and functions.

Several companion plant species work to deter pests due to their potent aromas. For example, basil is known to repel aphids, asparagus beetles, mosquitoes, tomato hornworm moths, and whiteflies. Likewise, the pungent nature of lemon balm is capable of deterring mosquitoes and gnats.

Dill and coriander are also used as protective companion plants and together can help prevent invasion by the hands of spider mites, aphids, cabbage looper, squash bugs, and potato beetles.

Other companions plants serve to attract beneficial insects that can boost the health of your garden. Lavender emits a stunning aroma that attracts insects who will feed on the larvae of pest species. This aromatic herb will also tempt bees into your garden. Chamomile will attract honey bees and hoverflies, all the while repelling mosquitoes and flies.

Companion plants provide huge benefit to the organic cannabis gardener. As well as keeping pests away, many of these species can be harvested as medicinal teas and foods. They also keep biodiversity high and soil health in check. It can be quite magical to walk out into your garden and see your cannabis crop growing alongside the beautiful shades of ally plants.

BENEFICIAL INSECTS

Again, not all insects are bad news for your cannabis plants. Some species even work to protect your weed against actual wrong-doers. You can almost see them as living, breathing pesticides that boost the health of your garden, instead of poisoning the environment.

Ladybugs are one such example. They are easy to find and will most likely already be living within your garden to some degree. Ladybugs have an appetite for mites, cochineal, and small caterpillars. Ladybugs also feed on aphids, one of the most destructive pests to cannabis. These small critters will drink the sap from your weed plants. Utilising dill, cilantro, and fennel as companion plants will urge ladybugs to hang around and serve as leaf police.

Mites can also be introduced to combat pests. The word mite often carries negative connotations, but not all of them are detrimental. Phytoseiulus persimilis is a tiny red mite than can help out your cannabis plants by feeding on spider mites, including their larvae and eggs. This can be a life-saver for your crop. Spider mites cause severe damage by penetrating individual plant cells and devouring the contents.

Amblyseius californicus is another mite that feeds on spider mites. This species can withstand high temperatures, making them great for growers in particularly hot regions of the world.

Anthocoridae is a beneficial bug species that feeds on harmful insects such as spider mites and caterpillars. Anthocoridae tackle their prey by piercing them with their three-segmented beak and injecting them with digestive enzymes. Brutal, but effective.

PARASITICS WASPS

Parasitic wasps are a popular choice of beneficial insect that naturally prey upon aphids. They also attack various beetles, flies, spiders, and bugs. Endoparasitic wasps inject their eggs inside of their prey, which develop over time as the prey continues its normal functions, whereas ectoparasitic wasps develop on the outside of their prey and paralyse it instantly.

Wasps Biological Predator Cannabis

SPIDERS

Spiders are very helpful creatures within cannabis gardens. They spin vast webs and are no picky eaters. These will feed on a large variety of different pests. Planting flowers within your garden will help to attract spiders.

Spider Natural Predator In Cannabis Plants

FOLIAR SPRAYS

Foliar sprays can be made out of many different beneficial plants and bacteria that can help to control pest populations. These can be created at home or purchased readymade. Some organic readymade varieties contain a beneficial bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis, which works to kill the larvae of fungus gnats.

Neem oil can also be added to foliar sprays. The primary ingredient within neem oil is azadirachtin, which reduces insect feed and also acts as a repellent.

BENEFICIAL MICROORGANISMS

Microorganisms are essential to the health of any garden. These tiny lifeforms reside within the soil, where they are responsible for a whole host of biological processes. They help to break down organic matter into accessible nutrients for plants, and even form symbiotic relationships with roots to help them obtain nutrients.

Not all microorganisms are beneficial, and some of them even feed on plants. However, beneficial microorganisms prey on these bad guys and can serve as a line of defence for your plants in the battle taking place below the surface of the soil.

Predatory nematodes are a valuable asset to cannabis gardeners. These tiny little organisms patrol the soil, where they attack almost every pest in there, all the while leaving plants and beneficial worms alone. Predatory nematodes feed on plant-parasitic nematodes, which feed on the roots of cannabis plants.

There are several types of predatory nematodes. Monochid predatory nematodes feature one large puncturing tooth, multiple small teeth, or both. They will use these to cut their prey, or will simply swallow them whole if they are small enough. Dorylaimida predatory nematodes possess a hollow stylet called an odontostyle, which is used to puncture their prey. Diplogasterid nematodes have a small buccal cavity that are armed with sharp teeth. Finally, aphelenchida nematodes possess a stylet to pierce their prey and inject digestive enzymes.

Micorrizas Cannabis Clture

MYCORRHIZAE

Some forms of fungus also serve as organic pest control. Mycorrhizae form a mutually beneficial relationship with plant roots. They help to relocate and deliver nutrients to plants in exchange for sugary exudates. These fungi form large networks called mycelium. Mycelium is made up of tiny individual strands called hyphae. Some fungi have been found to use hyphae strands to trap nematodes. As such, mycorrhizae may be able to reduce the numbers of plant-parasitic nematodes.

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