Just like any other crop cultivated, from the time you plant the seeds, to the time you harvest the flower, cannabis is subject to a wide range of pests and diseases that can distress your plants, even kill them if left untreated. Pests that attack plant organs are found over the soil or substrate and can be transported by wind or rain, by other insects and even by ourselves. Therefore, you should always take a series of precautions before entering the garden or the installation where you are growing your plants.
In this article, I’ll be exposing the common pest and diseases affecting cannabis growth and discuss little about the extent of their damages. Pests operate in two (2) ways, The suckers and the chewers; Sucking insects suck out sap from cannabis leaf or stem leaving the plant with less nutrient while chewing insects perforate leaves thereby causing the plant leaf turn to yellow or wither untimely.
Sucking Pest to notice in Cannabis Include:
Thrips – These tiny insects are pale-colored in their nymph stage but can still be seen. They are also sucking insects that cause lesions on the leaves that look like silver stains with an irregular shape.
Whiteflies – They are easily detectable since they behave like spiders or mites, eating essential nutrients from plants. Insect trappers, such as yellow adhesive strips, work well to fight them.
Aphids – They perforate the leaves and feed on the fluids they contain. There are numerous species of aphids that live in colonies and can reproduce very quickly.
Spider Mites – They can pierce the leaf down to its cells with their straw-like mouth parts and suck up the liquefied insides, since they are sucking insects.
Chewing Insect to notice in Cannabis include:
Caterpillars – These are the larvae of several different moth and butterfly species. Their sizes range from nearly invisible to several inches long and they may be camouflaged to blend in with the leaf or may be ostentatiously colored.
Either way, their damage is quickly noticed either as holes in the leaves or from leaf margins that have been chewed.
Snails and slugs – These are more problematic for outdoor cannabis crops but can be a real threat. They feed on the leaves of cannabis and often leave a slimy, silvery, mucous-like trail making their identification easy.
Leaf miners – Leaf miners are very tiny maggots that are rarely seen on marijuana plants until the damage is done. They feed on cannabis leaf tissue between the upper and lower portions of the leaf, essentially “mining” tunnels in the leaf. The leaf will appear as though squiggly lines have been drawn on it, but the damage is in fact inside the leaf.
Borers – Borers are a generic term for any number of larvae or maggots that instead of chewing on leaves, chew into and burrow into the trunk or stems of a cannabis plant.
Root maggots – As the name implies, root maggots are larvae that feed on your plant’s roots. Like fungal gnat larvae, you may not notice the pest until you see evidence of its damage which will be a weakening of the plant and it may appear as nutrient deficiencies or too much water.
Listed above are the most common pest and diseases you’ll encounter when growing cannabis. Improper plant care can result into invasion of indoor pests and diseases and you can minimize or eliminate risks of problems from them by changing your practices. Learning about cannabis pests and diseases—and how to recognize them—is vital so you can address them if they occur in your garden. Therefore, our next articles will be focusing on full insight of each pest and disease.