Whether you’re growing cannabis indoors or outdoors, bugs are common. That is why it is important to know which ones are harmful and which are harmless.
Bugs and pests might get in your home in a few different ways. You might actually be the first carrier for transferring bugs to your cannabis plants. It’s very common for bugs to get stuck on your clothing when you’re roaming outside. If you go check on your cannabis plants straight after, this might be the cause of your bugs. Another way that bugs get into the house is through your pets. If your pet has been playing in the garden, it might bring in unwanted pests on its fur coat, which in turn, get transferred to your cannabis plants.
However, you might be surprised to learn that not all bugs are harmful to your cannabis plants. In fact, many of them are beneficial and will help your plant to grow and thrive. Many bugs fall under two categories:
- Pollinators – these plants are not welcome on your cannabis plants as your plant will develop undesirable seeds when pollinated.
- Predators – these bugs are helpful to have since they consume bad insects.
Which bugs are beneficial for your cannabis plants?
Let’s get into the good insects before diving into the bad ones!
Lady bugs are useful little creatures since they are considered a predator of many insects such as whiteflies and aphids. A single ladybug can eat up to 40 aphids in an hour.
Not all nematodes are beneficial, however, there are some that consume the bad insects which can be very helpful to you. Most of these species are microscopic. Some of these beneficial nematodes can kill up to 200 types of insects like fungus gnats, fleas, and Japanese beetles.
Seen as one of the scary ones, the praying mantis is extremely useful to have since it will kill almost all of the pests in your garden including flies, moths, and beetles.
Green lacewing is known to feed on harmful insects like aphids and caterpillars, so it is useful to have in your garden.
Spiders are attracted to prey that move which means that they can consume almost all of the insects that can be found on your plants, including aphids, mealy bugs, thrips, and more. So, don’t kill that spider!
Although not all beetles are beneficial, ground beetles consume pests like slugs, caterpillars, thrips, and silverfish.
Which bugs are the harmful ones?
When the infestation has started, thrips are extremely hard to get rid of. They will pierce your leaves and suck all of the juices and nutrients out of your leaves. Thrips leave brown or silvery markings, and you may also notice dark purple and black spots on your leaves.
Thrips will also lay eggs inside the cells of your leaves, making it impossible for beneficial insects to eat these eggs. Take immediate action with thrips…they’re nasty!
Mealybugs are less common than thrips. These insects will look like cotton on your plants, and they will appear in small crevices between the leaves and the stem. They have many legs, and this pest will slowly suck all the juice from your leaves.
Fungus gnats are not as serious as thrips, but they’re still considered pests and can cause damage to your cannabis plant. These bugs will feed on the fungus in the soil, and they might even touch the plant roots. Fungus gnats almost look like fruit flies.
Probably one of the most common pests to have on both your indoor and outdoor weed plants. They might cause great damage if the problem is not tackled immediately. Aphids suck the juices out of your leaves, leaving holes and dried-out leaves. They are mostly green or black and can be found on the undersides of the leaves or on the stem.
Spider mites can puncture the leaf’s surface, sucking the juice and leaving dried leaves. They look like tiny mites, and if you look closely, you will see them moving around the plant. These bugs are most common with indoor plants.
They might be cute, but they are not beneficial for your cannabis plants! They will feed on the foliage of your plant until they flourish into butterflies. They can quickly take over your garden if you don’t catch them promptly.
There you have it! Now you know all about which bugs are harmful and which are beneficial for your cannabis plants!
Your plants will grow more robustly the more life there is in your garden. Insects and microbes are eradicated by monocultures and chemical insecticides. There is no other life to keep pest insects in control once they get in.
A garden with a wide variety of species that hunt and eat one other is a sign of biodiversity. This promotes a wholesome and balanced ecology and lessens the possibility of a particular insect population getting out of control.
Your garden’s soil food web will be strengthened by the addition of companion plants and helpful insects, creating an oasis of life where your cannabis plants can flourish.
Keep checking out our blog for more tips and updates on cannabis in Malta!