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How to get rid of pests and little bugs in weed plants

One of the more challenging aspects of growing cannabis is preventing, detecting, and controlling infestations of harmful bugs. Prevention is best, to keep pests from gaining a foothold in your garden—it’s easier than dealing with them once they’re on plants.

Three common little bugs that can contaminate cannabis plants are:

  • Spider mites
  • Fungus gnats
  • Root aphids

If you find yourself plagued with these three common cannabis pests, here are some guidelines for how to get rid of them.

How to prevent pests in your cannabis grow

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping cannabis plants healthy and pest-free:

  • Indoors, make sure your grow room is completely sealed. Use caulk or spray foam to fill in gaps or cracks, seal doors and windows with weather stripping, and place filters over air inlets.
  • Don’t let clothes cross-contaminate your plants. Change clothes before entering a grow space so you don’t bring in any “hitchhikers.”
  • Keep pets out of the grow area; they can bring in all types of bugs.
  • Keep equipment sterile. Always use new soil and grow media. Sterilize all tools and containers, wash hands before handling plants, and remove all plant debris immediately.

Spider mites on cannabis

Spider mites are the most common pest associated with cannabis, and can be one of the most devastating. These tiny critters (.4 mm) live on the underside of leaves, where they puncture leaves to suck out the plant’s juices.

They’re hard to spot with the naked eye, but infested cannabis plants show little white dots on the back of leaves. Spider mites also spin little webs, so if you see anything that looks like miniature cobwebs on top of marijuana leaves, it’s likely spider mites.

How to get rid of spider mites on marijuana plants

Spider mites thrive and reproduce quickly in warm, dry environments. To slow an infestation, lower temperatures and raise the humidity in your room. While there are many commercial miticides available, most are quite toxic and should never be used on cannabis.

However, pyrethrum—derived from chrysanthemum flowers—is a natural insecticide that is very effective at killing mites. Three applications at 5-10 day intervals should significantly knock down and even eliminate spider mites.

Either spray a solution on plants or use room foggers. Keep in mind, however, that pyrethrum is not recommended for flowering plants.

Things like insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, and neem oil are safe for use on flowering plants and are generally quite effective. Concentrated neem products like Azamax and Azatrol are very popular with cannabis growers and are safe for use throughout the grow cycle, but are expensive.

Beneficial insects such as predatory mites are also viable options but can’t be used in conjunction with insecticides.

Fungus gnats on cannabis

Fungus gnats are grey or black long-legged flies 2-4 mm long, and they resemble tiny mosquitoes. Their larvae are white or transparent, 4-6 mm long, and live in soil where they feed on roots, organic matter, and fungus.

A severe infestation will lead to pale foliage and a general loss of vigor that will leave plants susceptible to disease, especially root rot. Adult gnats do not directly harm the plant, but they are vectors for disease, and also easily get trapped in resinous flowers—nobody wants to smoke bugs in their buds.

How to get rid of fungus gnats on weed plants

Keep humidity low and make sure not to overwater plants to prevent fungus gnat infestations. The most effective way to prevent or end an infestation is to place a physical barrier over your grow medium, such as a two-inch layer of sand, perlite, or other similar product—Gnat Nix works wonders. This prevents adult gnats from laying eggs in the soil, effectively ending their life cycle.

The naturally occurring soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, kills fungus gnat larvae and is available in many inexpensive forms like Summit Mosquito Bits, Gnatrol, and Microbe-Lift BMC. Insecticides like pyrethrum and neem oil can be effective when used as a soil drench, but must be applied several times and can have negative effects on plant roots.

Finally, yellow sticky traps can be used to catch adults before they lay eggs in soil.

Root aphids in cannabis

Root aphids are tiny insects that feed on plant roots. About 1 mm long and ranging in color from yellow to green to brownish-orange, root aphids are often confused with fungus gnats as some adults will grow wings.

Plant roots turn yellow, swell, and harden as root aphids feed on them, leading to secondary fungal infections and dead spots. Eventually, plants will become stunted and yields will be greatly diminished.

How to get rid of root aphids in cannabis soil

The number one treatment is BotaniGard, an insecticide composed of the living fungus Beauveria bassiana, which infects and kills the aphid and then releases spores to infect more root aphids.

It can be used in conjunction with pyrethrum, neem, and citrus oils, but care should be taken with these to avoid harming the plant. Apply as a soil drench every other day for a minimum of six treatments.

Predatory nematodes and other beneficial insects can also be effective in controlling root aphids.

FAQs on pests and little bugs on weed plants

What does spider mite damage look like?

The telltale sign of spider mites is many white or yellow dots on the top of fan leaves. If the infestation is really bad, there will be webbing on the buds. Actual spider mites appear on the underside of fan leaves as tiny white dots, hard to see with the naked eye.

What causes spider mites?

Spider mites are usually unknowingly brought into a weed grow from outside or from another weed grow. They can also travel on pets.

How do you prevent spider mites?

A lot of growers will change clothes when they enter their grow space; having a separate set of work clothes will ensure any bugs you may have picked up will stay outside the grow space. Some growers will also have a floor mat with bleach or other disinfectants to kill bugs on shoes.

How do you get rid of spider mites?

You can spray weed plants with safe, approved insecticides to get rid of spider mites. Be sure to check your state’s list of approved insecticides.

Beneficial insects, such as persimilis, or other predatory mites, can also be applied to weed plants to combat spider mites.

Should I Cut The Sun Leaves Off My Marijuana Plant

To prune or not to prune? A guide to trimming the fat

If you have any experience gardening, indoors or out, you’ll know that once in awhile you need to remove leaves or stems in order to help your plant thrive. This process is called pruning, and it’s an essential part of cultivating cannabis.

It may seem obvious – a snip here, a snap there and your plants are happy as clams, but if you want to increase yield, resin production, even height, you don’t want to go nuts with your sheers.

What is pruning?

Pruning is a centuries old tradition that’s practiced for practical and aesthetic reasons (think the therapeutic art of trimming a bonsai). It’s necessary to remove larger leaves or branches that are blocking light from reaching lower leaves and budding sites, to influence the shape of your plant to grow up instead of out, and to remove yellowing, dead or diseased leaves/branches that will affect the overall health of the plant.

It might seem counterintuitive to limit the number of budding sites but this actually encourages your plant to funnel more energy into the remaining buds, which ramps up resin production for fatter yields in a smaller package.

The time you spend pruning your plant also gives you the opportunity to become better acquainted with the sum of its parts, as well as its health. Catching the first signs of common pests or diseases means you can nip them in the bud, so to speak, before they get out of hand and have negative effects on your yield.

The Perfect Plant

In an ideal world, your marijuana plant would live its best life without your intervention, but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes these little marvels need help to reach their full potential. In general, your cannabis plants will do best if they receive a lot of bright sunlight and airflow, this means:

  • Remove low branches that don’t receive much light
  • Clear dead or dying leaves
  • Trim away lower budding sites that don’t (and won’t, regardless) receive a lot of light

You’ll find that as your plant starts to take its natural shape it will be easy to see what needs to be removed, so try not to stress too much about it. You can also top them to manage stretch and height, a concern if you don’t have a lot of space to work with.

We recommend the following:

  • Indoor growers should start pruning their plants about 10 to 15 days before they are ready to trigger the flowering phase.
  • Outdoor growers can begin pruning several weeks before they expect the flowering phase to begin, as growth is ultimately more rapid when plants are left to thrive in their natural environment.
  • Stop pruning about two weeks into the flowering phase or else you might force your plant back into the vegetative stage – this will have a negative impact on your eventual yield, and will lengthen the time it takes to get you to harvest.

Pot Pruning Tips

First and foremost, get your hands on a couple good pairs of pruning shears that you can keep separate from your other plants and products, and that can easily be sharpened. The sharper the blade the less you risk damaging or introducing infection (although, scarring is a stress technique that some experienced gardeners have used to their advantage).

  • Start by removing the larger lower branches to clear space for yourself to get in and do the nitty gritty. Because they won’t receive enough sunlight, they won’t produce fully developed buds anyway. Do this early on, while your plant is still in the vegetative stage and relatively small. This can increase growth and eventual yield by allowing your plant to focus on growing up instead of out.
  • Cut away any branches growing up the middle of the plant that don’t receive light because of the canopy.
  • Trim away the dead or dying branches and leaves – there’s little you can do to bring them back and it’s not worth the energy that could be used more effectively somewhere else.
  • Top your plant by snipping off the apex cola, which can contain a chemical that restricts growth in lower branches. This will allow your plant to flourish, and is a nice way to sample your weed before you reach harvest. Once you’ve done this, wait a few days before you trigger flowering to give the remaining branches a chance to fill in the voids your careful pruning has left behind.

Can we express something important here? Do. Not. Rip. Please, whatever you do, don’t use your hands to rip off branches when you could use a sharp blade. Shocking your plants at such a young age could have a detrimental effect on their health.

Should you trim fan leaves?

Yes! Again, it feels like you’re going against the grain by cutting off those leaves which will be covered in sticky resin, especially since growing leaves produce sugar from which the plant can derive energy. Removing young leaves can deprive your plant of essential energy, and may cause stunting. Once leaves reach maturity, however, they stop producing that precious sugar, and can safely be removed (if they don’t yellow and fall off on their own, that is).

Any leaves that are covering your budding sites, even during the mid-to-late flowering phase, should either be moved to another position or removed – there’s more value in providing light to your buds than in maintaining leaves that are not giving back to the community, as it were.

Try not to trim your Autos

Here’s something you may not know – autoflowering marijuana strains such as … and … enter the flowering stage on their own rather quickly and it’s easy for a beginner gardener (and even some intermediate) to miss the window of opportunity where you can safely prune and stress train without causing unnecessary damage.

If you’re working with an autoflowering strain, avoid heavy pruning and shaping unless the plant really needs it (i.e. higher budding sites are being shadowed by larger fan leaves, etc.) or else it might end in disaster.

Keeping your marijuana plants well manicured is essential to ensuring a healthy, potent, and worthwhile harvest. Equally important? Starting your cannabis garden with top quality seeds, the kind you can get when you shop online with Pacific Seed Bank.

The untold story of the Dutch cannabis seed industry

Marco from Treating Yourself got a pie so . the cherry

  • Dec 3, 2009
  • #12
  • Dec 3, 2009
  • #13

I think this bit is what is important:

Treating Yourself – Meet Dr. Frankenbeanstein
Konsupsa’s picture
Mon, 06/29/2009 – 08:24 — Konsupsa

Are your expensive Dutch female seeds hard to clone, or when you try to breed them, all you get are hermaphrodites?

Thank Dr Frankenbeanstein, aka the Skunkman, real name David Watson.

A bit of history:
At a 1997 Vancouver Hemp conference, Watson spoke of his research. His main focus was to stop growers from cloning nor being able to create any seeds, from strains being bred in Amsterdam. The funding for this research came partially from the Dutch Government, the rest from DEA. Watson had been busted for growing in Santa Cruz California 3-20-85 and resurfaced in Amsterdam to start his seed company Cultivator’s Choice. DEA supported the Skunkman’s application for a license to grow for research in Holland, even though they should have been extraditing him back to Cali for his 1985 in Santa Cruz grow bust! DEA endorsement was so strong that he was the first to be granted a permit in Holland when several universities and domestic research groups with PHD’s and legitimate reasons for research were denied! The Dutch government even supplied three greenhouses for Dr. Frankenbeanstein to do his heinous experiments, while normal Dutch growers lost all their equipment and had to serve murder-like sentences at that time! Dutch seed companies have become the Monsanto of the cannabis seed industry, and hope to make us all seed junkies at $20 a seed.!

The license gave Hortapharm/Skunkman/DEA control over what researchers are allowed access to pedigreed seeds of predictable quality! The object is to patent up every possible combination of cannabinoids and terpenes with efficacy for every possible disease they can treat, and every possible genetic sequence! Once ready to make the move, they will shut down every medical cannabis grower for patent fraud, and those they can’t will be run out when they produce a more effective product for significantly less than $250 an ounce the growers are getting! The Skunkman’s company Hortapharm, is the only private organization approved by the Drug Enforcement Agency to supply genetics to researchers to this day!

Gibberillen is a natural growth stimulant, that also changes the sex in plants, male to female, female to male. First discovered in the 1930’s by researchers looking for hormones to stop elongation of the stem during early growth stages of rice and prevent crop failures due to to drought or excessive rain, during early growth stages. After many years of research, in the 1950’s, gibberillens were found that had the optimum of success in treating this problem. This is also when researchers discovered that gibberillens had beneficial effects on many food crops, increasing their yields ten fold! Professor Carlson of Midwestern University created sonic bloom in the late 70’s, using gibberillens and fertilizers, that when applied to crops , then bombarded with sonic waves at a specific frequency, produced yields in most crops that were increased 4-10 fold!

The discovery of the effects of gibberillens were first noted by Sues who discovered the product in the early 80’s, and tried it as sold by Carlson for increasing his gardens yield by using their product and playing (Music) to his plants. It worked! It not only increased his yields but produced a few seeds in his stable of pure females plants! The ingredient was gibberillens! After using the product several times, he has seeds in every crop there after. Confused as to why, his research discovered the main active ingredient was gibberillen. After using this for several years, he noticed that depending on when you sprayed gibberillens that there would be a few seeds or a large amount of seeds! Size was pretty much increased every time. From these experiments he discovered that pure stable female plants could be sprayed at the (right) times, and produce a few a few male stamens that would create, exact duplicates of the mother and would be feminized seeds, sprouting out as females every seed!

At that 1997 Vancouver Hemp conference Master Grower Seus met Watson and explained his discovery and findings on gibberillens. That information went back with Dr Frankenbeanstein, and when he got back to Amsterdam he called it his own invention and from there came the feminized seed phenomenon.. Watson sold his new discovery to all takers. One Dutch seed bank even claim that it is their own invention, I guess cause the bought the formula from Skunkman? Over application of gibberillens cause smaller and less vigorous seed! The habit of not letting them fully finish, the seeds are grey, in distinct and hard to sprout.

Recently Dr Frankenbeanstein testified at another conference in Canada against the use of industrial hemp in Canada! GW Pharm/Hortapharm are scared of the hemp industry, why? You see, low industrial hemp produces GW’s miracle drug, CBD as a by product! There is primariy one gene that tells a plant to be either a primary CBD producer or a primary THC producer! The Bd gene produces the enzyme that converts cannabigerol into CBD, and the gene Bt gene produces enzyme that converts cannabigerl into THC. If a plant inherits a Bt gene from each parent it will only produce low cannabigerol of CBD, and visa versa if it gets a Bd gene from each parent. If it receives a Bd from one parent, and Bt from another, it will be roughly 50/50 chemotype, but this is not true breeding. Most herb in the med clubs is homozygous for BT, meaning that it does not produce appreciable amounts of CBD. Since CBD actually blocks the psychoactive effects of THC, it was selected against by American breeders, even though it is extremely effective in boosting the medical efficacy of cannabis, especially with regards to degenerative nervous condition, without any psychoactivity! CBD by itself has also been shown to be very effective in treating anxiety disorders with effectiveness of valium and other benzo drugs, without the extreme addictiveness and potential for overdose! Valium and benzos are the most dangerous drugs to detox from! Their withdrawal many times worse than crack or heroin!,

The only time cannabis users ever really had assess to a higher level of CBD was with hashish farmed with populations with varying ratios of Bd and Bt genes! So as it stands now, CBD is not available to any real extent to medical cannabis users! If industrial hemp farmers were to catch on, that they’re producing a very needed medicine, it will harm GW Pharm/Hortapharm!

In the UK all you hear is the dangers of the new Skunk-weed, that it leads to psychosis, that it drives people insane. Just a few years back it looked like cannabis laws in the UK were loosening. Cannabis was re-classified back down to level 2, it was the lowest priority for the police. Then all of a sudden this new Skunk strain is introduced causing mass hysteria and reefer madness, to the extent that cannabis is reclassified back up to level1! What happened?

One thing we know, the last thing that GWPharm/Hortapharm want is the medical cannabis scene catching hold as it has in California, and many other states in the US, in the UK! Hortapharm with the support of DEA and GW Pharm have introduce a geneticly engineered super strain of Skunkweed, that makes people paranoid, psychotic, and makes you completely stupid. If your not an experienced smoker you may not handle it well. First time smoker’s can be scared straight, never to use cannabis again! Remember chief lobbyist/ spokeperson for GW Pharm is an XDEA head!

Cannabis has only been illegal 72 years, it had all ways been legal. 100 years ago you could buy Cannabis Sativa Americana and Cannabis Indica extract from Parke Davis Pharmaceuticals at your local drug store! In fact in the early 20th century Parke Davis seed collectors introduced Indian sub-continent seed into Southern Appalachia to create Cannabis Americana of equal or greater potency to the Indian sub-continent product they were having difficulty importing due to disruption of shipping from world war one! Parke Davis collected seeds from India, Turkestan, and Nepal, and sent them back to be grown in the Blue Ridge mountains and Mexico! Parke Davis Scientist conducted blind trials on themselves and found the American product both more pleasant and more potent! Those heritage medical strains were selected from 100’s of years of selective breeding legally! Nothing today comes close to the heirloom medical strains from that period. Anyone who states that the cannabis of today is stronger than yesteryear is dreaming. The pot they smoked in the tea pads of Harlem in the 1920’s-30’s was much better than any concocted strains today! Dr. Frankenbeanstein with the help of Rob Clarke, Mel Frank, Ed Rosenthal, Milla engineered the largest misinformation ripoff campaign in Cannabis history, that only diluted the original Ice Water technique by attaching the ancient dry seiving method, to confuse the origin of the now patented Ice Water Method. Attaching this seiving technique to the Ice Water method, enabled them to sell Nylon at wedding dress prices, but makes no sense! Due to their scam most of the bag product is no progress since it contains more fiber than old style quality dry seived Hash and lost taste and aroma!

In the Soumi LaValle book on hashish, you see first hand the seiving technique used by a Lebanese family in Baalbek , the different screening process is shown in it’s entirety, from that book came the idea for bags. In a dry seive you don’t release oils, so the naturals terepenes are in the hash, which is sticky. The bag technique releases the oils but only collects broken pieces of resin akin to kief not hash! The Lebanese women doing the seiving, could out perform 1000 people using bags. It wasn’t a revolutionary technique in hash making it was backward steps!

Yet clever Dutch and Canadian marketing sent out a huge learning curve, and people have been ruining there medicine ever since! This ripoff of a patent method will soon be settled in a Canadian court. I hate to burst your bubble but Milla and Bubbleman had nothing to do with inventing the Ice Water technique! A patent which made all traditional forms of processing cannabis obsolete. Dr Frankenbeans sold a patented method that did not belong to him, and laid the foundation for GW Pharmaceuticals, we all know that the first step of making Sativex is Ice Water Extraction! The damage that has been done to Cannabis is immeasurable! He even sold Mexican and Central American genetics, as well as Afghan genetics to GW, as his own!! A call to GW and we were told that David Watson and Robert C. Clarke no longer work there. Robert Clarke’s book on hashish, as well as Rosenthal, Cervantes, Mel Frank, all wrote in support of the fraud. You see those idiots go by one rule, all stoner’s are stupid, they feed on young stoner’s and medical patients with no cannabis knowledge. Since Dutch seed companies control the media and information, they feel that cannabis consumers will buy whatever they tell them to buy!

When old school ran the cannabis scene, you paid $30-50 an ounce for super Columbian gold and red, $60-75 an ounce for high altitude seedless Mexican sativa, $100 an ounce for the best Thai, $150 for Hawaiian so strong you thought you were on acid.! Now you pay $35 for one seed of Jack Herer, which is Mexican genetics. Ed Rosenthal sold our pot culture to the Dutch Monopoly, and now the Dutch seed companies are selling it back to us at $20 a seed!

By 2009, several old school pioneers whose books debunked all the myth and out right lying surrounding David Watson/Dr Frankenbeanstein. Dutch cannabis industry should thank Ronald Reagan by naming a sewer canal after him! Reagan shut us down, imprisoned for years, stripped of their wealth and left with nothing to defend themselves. In fact The Black Tuna gang leaders still in prison nearly 30 years, Brian Daniels the Thai Stick King recently released after 27 years. Howard Marks who no doubt sold a lot of cannabis, was a spoke in the Daniels wheel! They used the US Air force, Navy, and the Coast Guard to shut down the entire Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern and Western seaboard, to finally shut us down, but before we were shut down we had a baby, and that baby was called Home Grown American, from the seeds we brought back from Asia!

Watson’s claim that he was the breeder of California Orange debunked by Jerry Beisler’s book, The Bandit of Kabul. In the book Jerry shows his creation California Orange, and some of the earliest photos of outdoor grows known circa 1973-74, Jerry ran one of the earliest documented seed banks in California!

Without Ronald Reagan the Dutch cannabis industry would have never happened, the pot scene is an American phenomenon that spread around the globe!

It is just a matter of time before one of the medical states legalizes and taxes and regulates cannabis. In fact there is a bill being presented in California that would do just that! It would tax cannabis $50 an ounce! The Billions in revenue that would generate would cause other medical states to follow, remember folks we are in a depression! California legalization is the Dutch Cannabis industry’s worst nightmare. Once the coffee shops open in San Francisco, that will be the death of the Dutch ripoff scene. American seed banks will be able to operate openly on the world stage!

Organic land race American seed unpolluted by Dutch genetics will take over the market world wide!

The original strains are still available and wild cannabis still flourishes. American growers are going back to the original heirloom medical strains and creating there own hybrids. Most of the original American strains have been bred and re-bred, engineered and re-engineered by the Dutch seed companies, that at this point are useless to the breeder.

Monsanto terminator technology being applied to our beloved Cannabis by Dr. Frankenbeanstein at Hortapharm in Holland. Let me explain exactly what this means and use cotton as example!

In the cotton example, the goal is to develop a variety of cotton that will grow normal until the crop is almost mature. Then, and only then, a toxin will be produced in the (seed) embryos, specifically killing the entire next generation of seeds. The system has three components: 1. A gene for a toxin that will kill the seed late in development, but that will not kill any other part of the plant. 2. A method for allowing a plant breeder to grow several generations of cotton plants, already genetically-engineered to contain the seed-specific toxin gene, without any seeds dying. This is required to produce enough seeds to sell for farmers’ to plant. 3. A method for activating the engineered seed- specific toxin gene after the farmer plants the seeds, so that the farmer’s second generation will be killed.. These three tasks are accomplished by engineering a series of genes, which are all transferred permanently to the plant, so that they are passed on via the normal reproduction of the plant.

Dr Frankenbeanstein threatened Skunk magazine to have all Dutch advertizing cancelled, which amount to 60% of their revenue, after printing part one of this article! This is the complete article. Skunk, High Times, Cannabis Culture, Weed-World in reality are trade pamphlets, that support the continuing rip off of our cannabis community by Hortapharm/GW Pharm/DEA, and the Dutch Cannabis Industry.

The one beacon of truth telling is Treating yourself magazine in our community. My only claim to fame being that I have always been a general in Lord Shiva’s Ganja Army. Bom Shiva Bom Shankar Joe Pietri