Been a fan since about early May and I’ve had my first summer harvest. Towards the end of my flowering cycle and into my cutting/drying I was invaded by a colony of caterpillars. I noticed droppings and “tunnels” in my nugs of weed that I have been tossing out. While they were drying it seems that they all climbed down to seek a more proper habitat. Is this weed okay to smoke/turn to concentrate or edibles? How do I prevent them next time? I’m also craving to grow some more. I live in the Bay Area and the winter is coming up. I was wondering if I would be able to get a greenhouse and use some T5 fixtures at night for supplemental lighting?
Caterpillars can do some serious damage to outdoor cannabis plants. The easiest thing you can do is what you’re already doing; plucking off any visible caterpillars and removing any of the damage they have caused. Many times, caterpillar droppings and tunnels will leave behind molds and bud rot that will quickly spread throughout your plants. If this is the case, I would discard your harvest and try again.
In the future, spray your leaves with Neem oil as a preventative at least once every two weeks. This will discourage caterpillars as well as many other unwanted pests. Some growers like to keep chickens among their plants or encourage other birds to visit their gardens. They will eat caterpillars and other pests without doing damage to your growing plants. There’s also a product called BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) that works to kill caterpillars. It’s a bacteria that works as an insecticide without harming the beneficial insects we like having around.