Aphids are one of the most common pests that affect marijuana growers worldwide. Like any other regular gardeners, marijuana growers, are always trying to look for pests that can hinder the growth and development of their plants.
Allow us to share with you more information about aphids, which can be detrimental to your cannabis plants. Learn how to identify, prevent, and get rid of them from your cannabis grow site or garden.
What Aphids Are and Why You Should Get Rid of Them
Aphids are a group of small insects, sap-sucking, and green, red, white, yellow, or black in color, that are usually about 1 to 10 mm long. Aphids have wings and antennae (two whip-like antennae) at the tip of their head, and cornicles in the opposite, a pair of tube-like structures with oval-shaped bodies.
In early spring, winged female aphids hatch and gave birth to additional female nymphs. These female nymphs give birth to younger nymphs within a few weeks, and the entire process is repeatedly occurring to allow aphid population to dramatically rise in just a short period of time. Aphids eventually develop sexual forms by the end of the summer season and mate for overwintering egg production. Generally, aphids don’t need to mate to reproduce except for the sexual aphid forms (males and females).
There are about four thousand species of aphids in the world and some are capable of producing wings. Aphids are a real nuisance to marijuana growers because aside from consuming the nutrients intended for your marijuana plants, they also carry viruses and other harmful microorganisms that can stunt the growth and development of cannabis plants. In fact, some species of aphids are injecting toxins into cannabis plants that can be lethal.
Aphids are the happiest species with a temperature ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They eat cannabis plants and drop a substance called “honeydew” which is sweet and attracts ants and make the cannabis leaves appear black. Aphids can reduce the nutrients of cannabis plants, spreading virus and disease.
Recognizing the Signs of Aphids
Aphids are commonly seen on the cannabis leaves and stems, and the green-colored varieties are the most difficult to spot, most especially if they hide on the underside of the cannabis leaves away from direct spot sight. They can cause the cannabis leaves to turn yellow, curl, wilt, and leads to stunted growth.
It is crucial to spot the aphid problem early because it is difficult to predict the time when winged aphis starts to produce offsprings on the cannabis plants. A routine check is necessary at least once a week to observe the presence of aphids on the buds and new leaves. Presence of colonies or clusters is clear indications that the aphids have already established on the cannabis plant.
Cannabis Signs and Symptoms of Aphid Infestation
1. Yellowish discoloration of cannabis leaves.
2. Wilting leaves and the entire plant.
3. Presence of bugs and ants.
4. Clusters or colonies of aphids on leaf undersides.
5. Clusters or colonies near new cannabis plants and buds.
In a day, aphids can give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs up to twelve times. A female aphid can produce up to 60 offspring in total, reaching full maturity within 7 to 10 days, leading to a quick rise in population. In just a matter of weeks, there will be hundreds or thousands of aphids living and eating your cannabis plants. Winged species occur when they are stressed enough or has fully consumed the nutrients of your plants, as they need to search for new habitat.
How to Get Rid of Aphids in Your Cannabis Plants
- Introduce natural predators. There are different predators of aphids such as ladybugs and wasps. Wasps come and lay their eggs inside of the aphids, “parasitizing” them. Eventually, aphids begin to form a mummy shell that is crusty and thin which is a protection of your plant against aphids. You can be sure that your cannabis garden has a problem with aphids if you notice many ladybugs because they eat aphids thus controlling their population.
- Use organic sprays. Tomato leaf spray works by combining two cups of water into two cups of thinly chopped tomato leaves, letting it steep overnight. Strain the liquid and pour into a clean spray container, adding two additional cups of water. Spray the leaves of your cannabis plants, focusing on the bottom sides of cannabis leaves where aphids love to live.
Organic oil spray can be used, possessing anti fungal and antibacterial properties to keep harmful microorganisms away. Natural plant oils like neem are one of the most common effective oils used throughout the industry.
- Use insecticidal soaps or fatty acid salts for disrupting the aphids’ cell membranes causing their death. Don’t worry because they don’t have any negative effects on your plants, and you need to apply them directly to the pesky aphids.
Small populations of aphids is not a big deal, but because of their fast reproduction, the large infestation may result, causing a major impact on the health of your marijuana plants. Competing with nutrients and stunting the growth of your cannabis plants will result in poor quality and low amount of yield, that is why it is essential to get rid of them and control their population.