The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an insect that comes from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The bug was accidentally introduced into the United States in the late 1990s, where it quickly spread and became a common pest. In recent years, the stink bug has also appeared in Europe. Unfortunately, stink bugs really like cannabis, and they can cause massive damage as they devour your precious plants.

HOW TO RECOGNISE STINK BUGS

The stink bug grows to about 1.7cm in size, and you can recognise it by its characteristic hard and wide shell in the shape of a shield. Most stink bugs have a brown colour with markings in other colours, but there are also bright-green stink bug varieties. The stink bug earned its name because it releases a pungent odour that smells like coriander when disturbed or crushed. This is how the bug wards off natural predators such as lizards or birds.

Although harmless to humans, the stink bug can attack your cannabis plants. The bug feeds off the leaves and flowers, and they particularly love to devour developing seeds. If you don’t take care of a stink bug infestation, they can cause great damage to your plants.

Stink Bug Cannabis

HOW STINK BUGS GET TO YOUR CANNABIS PLANTS

Just like many other cannabis pests, stink bugs want to move into your warm home during the cold winter months. They find their way into your house and then into your grow tent through windows and chimneys, pipes and power connections, and other cracks and crevices. So, as a first line of defence against the cannabis-loving bug, you should check your home and seal up these types of openings so you can keep the pest out. If you’re using insect screens for doors and windows, or on the inlets of your grow room or tent, make sure the screens are intact and don’t have any holes. If necessary, repair or replace the screens.

HOW TO GET RID OF STINK BUGS

1. Clean Your Growing Area

If you spot stink bugs around your plants, the first thing you should do is clear and clean your entire growing area. Get rid of all debris such as weeds and old leaves under your plants. If you keep your growing area clean, the bugs have less to eat and no place to hide.

Indoor Stink Bug


2. Carefully Remove Bugs

Before you go all out squishing every stink bug you see or start spraying insecticides, know that it is better to remove them from your grow room instead. If you squash them or they die from spraying and you don’t remove them, they will release an unpleasant smell and will stink up your growing area. Even worse, the dead bugs will normally attract other pests such as ants, which you want to avoid.

Stink Bugs Cannabis Plants


3. Check For Stink Bug Eggs

Make sure that you not only check for the bugs themselves, but also their eggs. If you have a stink bug infestation, chances are you may also find characteristic patches of white stink bug eggs on your cannabis plants’ leaves. You will of course need to get rid of the eggs because this is where the bugs will be hatching from. The safest choice is to remove and dispose of any leaves with suspicious patches on them.

Stink Bug Pest


4. Take Your Cannabis Plants Outside And Use A Hose

A good way to go about getting rid of the bugs and the eggs is to take your cannabis plants outside. Remove the leaves where you see eggs and use a garden hose to spray the bugs off your plants. It will also help if you shake your plants; the bugs should simply fall off. Have a bucket with soapy water nearby where you drop the bugs as you collect them. Afterwards, flush the bugs that you collected, as well as the leaves with eggs on them, in the toilet.

Stink Bug Outdoor


5. Use A Vacuum Indoors

If you can’t carry your plants outside to get rid of the stink bugs with a hose, you can also use a vacuum inside your grow room. Shake your plants so the bugs fall off, and then vacuum or sweep them up with a broom and dustpan. Here too it will help if you have a bucket with soapy water ready to collect them. If you’re using a vacuum for the stink bugs, make sure you dispose of the vacuum bags right away. The dead stink bugs left in the vacuum will otherwise make your house stink!

Stink Bug Indoor  

6. Use Neem Oil To Get Rid Of Them

Cannabis growers use neem oil for all kinds of cannabis pests, including stink bugs. Neem oil is a very safe natural insecticide, and it also works as a prophylactic that keeps many pests away. It works well against stink bug eggs and their larvae, but it is not as effective if you want to get rid of adult stink bugs. The reason for this is that their hard shell and coating makes them relatively difficult to kill.

Neem oil is safe, and you can use it up until the day before harvest; just make sure you don’t spray it directly on your buds, otherwise it can badly affect the taste of your weed. For a neem oil spray, you can use a garden pressure sprayer or a small hand sprayer. Carefully read the instructions on how to use the sprayer. Make sure you spray the undersides of the leaves as well; don’t do it in bright sun. The best time to spray your cannabis plants is shortly before your lights go out, or if you spray outdoors, in the evening or early morning.

7. Use A Strong Insecticide As A Last Resort

Unless you have a massive stink bug infestation, it should be relatively easy to get rid of them with the above-mentioned methods. Only if nothing helps and you find that you can’t control the bugs should you resort to stronger insecticides. But before you spray to get rid of the bugs, make sure that you have removed as many of them as you can find. Otherwise, the dead bugs will just stink up your grow room and attract more pests.

Stink Bug Insecticide

HOW TO PREVENT STINK BUGS

No question, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. After all, eliminating pests is something one only does when an infestation has occurred. For healthy cannabis plants and a bountiful harvest, the best tactic is always prevention. Here is what you can do to keep stink bugs away:

1. Inspect Your Cannabis Plants Daily

A lot of cannabis problems, including bug infestations, are not always obvious at a quick glance. Most of the time, you may only see that something is wrong with your plants when an infestation or disease has already progressed. But if you carefully inspect your cannabis plants every day, you can spot problems early and can take action before more harm is done. Check the leaves of your cannabis plants (including the undersides) and remove any foliage with eggs as soon as you spot them.

Stink Bug Leaves  

2. Cover Your Plants If Your Grow Outdoors

If you grow outdoors, consider garden fabric and row covers to protect your plants from stink bugs and many other pests and predators. Stink bugs are relatively large, so they can’t get through the fine mesh of protective covers. The covers are usually made from lightweight polyethylene and are easy to use. They are affordable and can usually be found at any well-sorted gardening store.

In addition to protecting your cannabis plants from stink bugs, caterpillars, and other large insects, the covers can also protect your plants from wind damage and birds.

HOW TO GET RID OF STINK BUGS — IN CONCLUSION

Unlike much harder-to-spot pests such as mites or thrips, stink bugs are fortunately large enough that you can easily identify them. Most of the time, you should be able to get rid of them safely and quickly. Just be watchful and keep an eye on your grow.

Happy Growing!

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