1. What are the most common types of cannabis pests that growers should watch out for?
For Cannabis growers the range of common pests have grown over the past few years.
When once the biggest enemies were spider mites and fungus gnats, now more common challengers are root aphids, russet mites and broad mites.
Although the mighty spider mite hangs on, growers now have to deal with hemp aphids, whiteflies and scale. And that’s only insect pests!
For growers who have moved outside, the list gets even longer! And includes dealing with mammals, moths, and plagues of grasshoppers.
Once the pest(s) are identified and conditions accessed, the grower can work with an IPM specialist, or ARBICO biocontrol consultant to select a predatory insect or biorational control for their operation.
2. What are some of the most common pest-related issues you see?
Decimation of the plant is the ultimate concern. Each pest insect will bring its own method, whether it’s through piercing and sucking (leaving the plant susceptible to disease), removing chlorophyll, chlorosis, feeding on the roots, etc. The plant on its own is not able to compete with the high pest infestation levels.
Monitoring the environment continually allows for the cultivator to intervene when the pest pressure is most manageable with biological controls, or other interventions. At high infestation levels, it may be necessary to quarantine or remove plants altogether.
3. What do growers need to know before they buy predatory insects?
Know your environment! Before selecting beneficial insects the grower should know the high and low temperatures and humidity of each space as well as light hours and watering schedules. Knowing what your plants look like when they are healthy and thriving and being observant to any changes.
Know your enemies! Monitoring pest thresholds, trapping adults and identifying pests are your first defense. This information arms you to make the most appropriate selection of predatory insects, OR if you need a knockdown spray to bring levels back under control.
4. Can Beneficial Insects improve plant health?
Beneficial organisms include more than predatory insects. They also include symbiotic microorganisms that work WITH the plant and soil for optimal plant health, giving the plant the best resistance to pests and disease. Beneficial mycorrhizal fungi colonizes the root zone for more efficient nutrient and water uptake. This can also help create a barrier to pathogens. Microbial soil inoculants, such as Bacillus subtilis, work to build soil rich in microbes to help breakdown inputs to plant utilization, especially phosphorus.
5. My bugs arrived! Now what?!
Bring your package inside. Each predatory insect will have unique packaging and release instructions. Understand how, when and where to apply the insects, mites or nematodes before you begin. Check for viability once they have reached ambient environment temperature. Unless otherwise noted, most predatory insects should not be stored and should be released into the grow as soon as possible.
Learn more: www.arbico-organics.com