What is a Pest?
A pest is defined as any organism that damages crops. We have provided identification and signs of pest damage for Cannabis crops.
My crops look healthy, so why do I need a pest management program?
If you wait until your crop already shows signs of an outbreak the pest will be much harder to treat, which is why the first step to proper pest management is simply knowing how to monitor for pests. The use of yellow sticky cards provides an easy early warning for potential issues. Place four sticky cards per 1,000 sq. ft., just above the growing medium and just above the canopy. Inspect the cards and record pest numbers one to two times per week to monitor for increasing numbers of pests. You may catch thrips, root aphids, and fungus gnats. You also need to monitor the plants for signs of mites and powdery mildew. Any indication of increasing populations, and you need to treat immediately. You can also prevent outbreaks from occurring by providing mild treatments along the way, which keep pests from establishing.
I’m bringing new genetics into an existing Cannabis grow. What do I need to watch out for?
First, do not bring in new genetics directly from another grow! Keep it quarantined – for 2 weeks minimum. During the quarantine time, you should repeatedly treat the new genetics with the strongest pesticides that are legal in your market. Monitor daily for pest damage or symptoms and wait until you are sure there are no pests present.
How do I manage powdery mildew?
Effective climate management is a necessary part of the control for powdery mildew. If possible, keep relative humidity below 40% at all times, especially in the flowering cycle. Minimize or eliminate temperature swings of more than a couple degrees between the light and dark cycles. A 2-degree temperature increase in the dark cycle can minimize internodal stretch and the ability for micro-condensate to form on the plant, promoting powdery mildew inoculation of the plant.
What about super bugs?
When you are relying on a single product or mode-of-action to control a specific pest, you are very likely to create a super pest that you cannot control with the same pesticide in the future. Rotate or use multiple modes-of-action to prevent breeding super pests. Three modes-of-action should be adequate to control each pest. Most products work on multiple pests so this doesn’t mean you need 20 different products on hand.
How likely are you to get pests?
It is not a question of “will you have pests?” – it is just a matter of when, what type, and how much damage they will cause. With our integrated pest management (IPM) services, we believe prevention is better than curative action. But whatever your situation, contact us for a confidential discussion. We can help you.
How do I remain in compliance in an ever-changing regulatory environment while keeping my crops pest free?
Remaining in compliance is a legitimate concern, as you run the risk of being shut down if you don’t meet the requirements of state and local laws. And you can expect frequent changes in allowed pesticides; for example, in September 2015 the Colorado Department of Agriculture proposed removing an additional 50 pesticides from the approved list, in addition to initial regulations that greatly limited grower options. This is one of the reasons why having a pest management specialist who stays on top of regulatory changes in all US markets is important, so that your pest management plan can be adjusted to accommodate these changing regulations.
When do I need to be watching for pests?
The war is won or lost in veg stage. Control pest populations when the plants are small and you can treat the entire plant easily and efficiently. When the plants are larger and/or entering into the flowering stage full coverage is more challenging to obtain. The bottom line is that you need to be pest-free going into the flowering stage because the flowering stage is a particularly vulnerable stage for the plant. (Just as in humans, the vitality of a flowering plant declines as it ages.)
What are the top Cannabis pests?
We have identified some of the top pests that can threaten your commercial Cannabis crop. You will see what to look for and what type of damage to your plants they can cause. Common pests found in indoor and greenhouse grown Cannabis include the following.