Using cannabis is one thing, growing it is another. This is the reality that every home-cultivator must come to terms with. Life in the grow-op isn’t always easy. You may have noticed that every spring, small insects the size of a grain of sand hop from your plants, one leaf to another, leaving destruction in their wake.

These insects are called leafhoppers, and they’re commonly found on cannabis plants. They lay eggs on leaves while sucking out the sap from your plant.

They then leave behind honeydew, which is excrement that has a sticky texture. This causes mould to develop and ultimately leads to discolouration, leaf drop, and loss of flowers. However, there's a solution to this, and that is to kill leafhopper nymphs before they grow into adults.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF LEAFHOPPERS

Leafhoppers vary in size, but the adults are usually less than a centimetre long. They are shaped like a wedge and can swiftly fly away when they sense danger. There are a lot of species of leafhopper, ranging in colour from brown, to green, and even yellow.

However, nymphs or baby leafhoppers do not have wings and appear in a lighter shade. Leafhoppers are also fast runners and great jumpers. They can even run sideways if the circumstances call for it.

Leafhoppers Vary In Size

LEAFHOPPER DAMAGE AND LIFE CYCLE

Leafhoppers are considered pests by farmers as they draw the sap from a plant’s leaves. In doing so, they secrete a sticky toxin that makes it easier for them to absorb the leaves’ nutrients, leaving behind spotting and white specks. This toxin is also what contributes to subsequent damage in the form of leaf curling, yellowing, stunting, and distortion. Leafhoppers are different from caterpillars, though, because unlike them, leafhoppers don’t leave holes on leaves, just spots.

Females lay around one to six eggs daily during spring. These are usually laid on leaf veins and stems. The eggs will then hatch within six to nine days, and nymphs will molt around five times before they become adults. The whole growth process can take a few weeks, usually around three.

BEST WAYS TO GET RID OF CANNABIS LEAFHOPPERS

CHECK FOR SIGNS OF LEAFHOPPER INFESTATION

This is the first port of call. Check for any signs of infestation, especially when the weather is hot and dry. Leafhoppers usually suck sap when it’s dry because they are thirsty. In simpler terms, it’s the time of the year when they’re most visible. Look at the underside of the leaves because these insects hide when they sense danger.

Signs Of Leafhoppers Infestation

USE A LEAFHOPPER INSECTICIDE

Using an insecticide that’s specifically designed to kill leafhoppers is an effective way to get rid of these pests. However, make sure that the insecticide you’re using isn’t synthetic. Go for the ones that are made from natural ingredients to ensure that it doesn’t have any adverse effects on your body. Spinosad is one of the most reputable leafhopper-killers on the market.

Insecticides can be directly sprayed on leafhoppers or in places where they’re commonly found. Spray them under the leaves and on the sides. And don’t worry if you’ve got pets or have surrounding plants because Spinosad is safe for animals, plants, and even us humans.

USE ANTI-LEAFHOPPER SOAPS

If you’re not a big fan of insecticide sprays, then you might as well use an anti-leafhopper soap. These are effective in killing leafhoppers because these weaken their outer shells. They also won’t do any harm to surrounding plants and animals. Another cool thing about these soaps is that they don’t leave much residue. However, see to it that you cover the entire area properly because soaps easily evaporate into thin air.

Insecticide To Kill Leahfoppers

USE NEEM OIL

Neem oil is another effective leafhopper killer, and it’s stronger than the others. This is why you should be more careful when using this. Another thing to note is that it leaves an unpleasant smell and taste on surrounding plants, so make sure you don’t accidentally spray this on other plants, or on your cannabis buds for that matter.

You need to use a one-hand pressure sprayer to apply this on your leafhopper-infested cannabis. Mix it thoroughly because water and neem oil can easily separate.

RELEASE LADYBUGS INTO YOUR GARDEN

Not all bugs are bad for your weed garden. In fact, some are fierce allies that can help protect your crop. Ladybugs are one such specimen that you can release into your garden to wage war on a leafhopper infestation.

As part of their main diet, ladybugs will gladly eat the tiny monsters up. The sad part, though, is that ladybugs are likely to fly away in a day or two. Consider purchasing enough to do some serious damage to the leafhoppers for at least a week.

SET UP FLOATING ROW COVERS

If you’re on a tight budget, the best thing you can do is set up your own floating row covers. This might not be the most effective method, but it certainly is one of the most affordable. These floating row covers prevent insects and pests from crawling on your cannabis, without obscuring sunlight or restricting airflow.

SPRAY PYRETHRINS

You might have heard of these being used by vegetable growers, but they’re also effective in fending off leafhopper infestations on your cannabis. They're not very toxic for humans and plants, but are deadly for pests like leafhoppers.

Using a one-hand pressure sprayer is necessary to cover infected areas efficiently. Be cautious though if you've got bees because pyrethrins will kill them.

Floating Row Covers

CONCLUSION

Having leafhoppers on your cannabis is a real pain in the neck, but there’s a way to combat the issue by following the tips and methods mentioned in this article. In doing so, you’ll be able to say goodbye to those ravenous critters wreaking havoc on your precious plants.

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