We all know virtually all plants are victims of pest and diseases of including marijuana plant. Whiteflies are hemipteran insects of the Aleyrodidae genus that attack many types of cultivated plants, including Marijuana plants. The marijuana plant is widely known for perfect growth when it comes to timing, however, whiteflies on marijuana plants slow down the growth and reduce drastically the expected harvest.
These flies are about 2 mm in length and have the whitish appearance, with a pair of wings that serve as displacement method. They’re usually found on the underside of the leaves (where they also lay their eggs, as we’re going to see later) and, like other sucking insects such as Aphids or Mealybugs, they feed on sucking the sap of the plants.
Their body consists of three parts: head, thorax and abdomen. Like other insects, they’ve six legs and also a pair of white wings. As already mentioned, they have biting-sucking mouth parts thanks to which they can feed on the sap of young leaves and tissues.
Whiteflies like high temperatures and relatively humid ambient, that’s why the summer is their favorite season and greenhouses and in growing-boxes their favorite habitat. From the egg-laying until the birth of the larva they spend approximately 24 hours: then the larva needs less four weeks to become adult, passing through 4 larval-nymphal stages in flake form and located on the underside of the leaves.
How to identify Whiteflies on Marijuana Plant
The first evidence of the attack of these insects are chlorosis, deficiencies (yellowing) in the leaves, which end up drying – usually starting at the edges – and falling. The plant often suffers a slowdown in its development and a general deterioration of its state.
Apart from the symptoms caused directly by its sap-sucking action, other symptoms related to the sugary honeydew secreted by these insects may appear. What favors the appearance of sooty mold, a black fungus that dirty the leaves and weakens the photosynthetic process. It may also appear other diseases, viruses, and bacteria.
Keep in mind then – especially when you’re treating with a flying insect which has eased for the displacement – that whiteflies can cause serious damage to a crop. Not only by its sap-sucking action but also by the diverse diseases that can be transmitted to the plants, for whiteflies are a vector insect of these.
How to prevent whiteflies in your garden?
- Attract or buy beneficial insects, such as lacewings or ladybugs. They love to eat whiteflies and will leave your plants alone.
- Another way to prevent whiteflies is to check when purchasing plants, check them over carefully for any signs of disease. If you see any, don’t buy that plant or the ones next to it.
- Also, Frequent inspection is a good method to adopt.
Controlling Whiteflies on Marijuana plants
- Spray affected plants with neem oil or paraffinic oil. This oil is specifically formulated for plants and must be used for at least three weeks since whiteflies can be at different stages in the life cycle and the oil will only kill them at certain times of their life cycle.
- Use traps. These traps have a sticky side that prevents the whiteflies from leaving. Just put the trap near your plant and change it once the sticky side is full of pests. No chemicals or pesticides are used, so they are ideal for organic gardening. Best of all, the trap will also attract other pests, such as winged aphids, fungus gnats, thrip worm and more.
- Insecticidal soap. This is a natural method and can be purchased as an organic product. This is mostly a mixture of soap, water, and natural oil. It will coat your plants and the flies. It will be hard for them to breathe and move in.