Insects can destroy a crop and turn the fun and enlightening experience of growing cannabis into a stressful nightmare. Preventative measures like keeping a clean growroom are key, but some areas are more prone to infestations than others. Check out these inexpensive and safe products for combating bugs.
Spray soap on plants affected by aphids, scales and mites. The insect needs to get wet with the soap solution in order to work, and some growers scavenge insects with a solution-soaked Q-tip to make sure all the bugs get some of the soap. A two percent solution, about five tablespoons of any soap in a gallon of water, will do, but insecticidal soap works best and is less likely to harm your plants. If you apply during flowering make sure to rinse with freshwater. Soapy water is great for mild infestations or as a complimentary measure.
Neem oil and products containing limonoids like azadirachtin disrupt the hormonal system of most common insects but is relatively safe for mammals except at high doses. If you need to use it before harvest, you might want to think about rinsing off the buds afterward. Growers don’t normally use neem preventatively, but highly vulnerable plants may benefit from neem oil systemically; water an affected plant with a very dilute solution to combat infestations.
Insect dust diatomaceous earth is a common organic pesticide that sticks to bugs and dehydrates them. Insect dust can be used preventatively at any time or during an infestation.
Essential oils of rosemary and eucalyptus will also repel insects. Spraying a dilute solution in water over the garden daily fumigates against pests and smells great.
Bug bombs commonly contain pyrethrin, a natural component of chrysanthemums. While pyrethrin is approved for use in organic crops against insects, you should exercise care when using it. It can irritate the skin and respiratory track and is toxic to bees.
(Photo courtesy of Danny Danko)