Preventative Strategies for Pest Control

Hey Nico! My name is Nick. I’m a first-time grower and everything seems to be going very well so far… The only issue I’m having are these little tiny flies, almost like fruit flies. I’m not sure if they are bad for the plants’ health or not. Do you know of any way to keep these pesky flies away? What about other insects? Are they beneficial, harmful? Thanks & keep spreading the good word! – Nick N. via

Greetings, Nick. Thanks for reading High Times and writing in about your project. Your questions regard a subject that every grower must deal with at some point – insects!

Whether you grow indoors or outdoors, insects can be real nuisances in the garden. There are, however, steps you can take to both prevent insect outbreaks and eradicate them once they begin. Obviously, the best form of treatment is prevention. It is much easier to prevent an outbreak in the garden than it is to eliminate one.

Web-covered plant infested with mites.

Pest and disease prevention in the growroom starts with keeping a clean, sterile environment. Filters on incoming fresh air are key. Proper regulation of humidity and temperature are also very important. And the application of organic foliar treatments such as neem oil or Rosemary extract go a long way in helping prevent and repel insects such as flies, mites and leaf worms. They also help fight against mold and mildew. Organic spray applications can be used two or three times weekly and easily rinsed off with fresh water if needed. Fly paper, bug zappers and insect traps are also good preventative measures to take for indoor grows.

Neem oil, an excellent preventative solution.

If your garden does become infested with some sort of pest, your options become more and more limited as the epidemic increases. Very close, daily inspection of your plants is important in identifying a problem before it becomes a full blown outbreak. Should you identify a leaf, branch or single plant with flies or mites, it is best to remove it from the garden immediately. If it is just a few leaves or branches, you can get away with cutting them off and removing them from the room (in a plastic bag) if you act quickly enough.

Powdery mildew on a sick plant.

For more serious infestations, you may have to resort to chemical warfare. No one likes this option as is not organic and can result in lower quality, or even harmful, buds. When using chemical sprays, be sure to do so only in the veg or early flower stages. If you are within a week or two of harvest, it is not advisable to use such treatments as it will be too difficult to remove or wash off of the plants before harvest. At these later stages, it is best to cut your loses and remove the plants most affected and hope for the best with those remaining.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ’em over to Nico at and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!
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