Hard to see but easy to spot, whiteflies are one of the biggest problems facing your marijuana plant. If left alone, these pesky critters will weaken your plant and leave it unprotected from other pests. All you need to do is make sure the plant doesn’t have spots or honeydew. The easiest way to do that is just to give it a little shake. If you see flies buzzing around, you’ll know it’s time to spray. Check out below for information on spraying your cannabis plants.
As a cannabis grower, you need to be enthusiastic and stay vigilant. Some pests are hard to spot because of their size or behavior, so it’s best to know what you can do to protect your plants and harvest. One of the nastiest problems in cannabis agriculture is the whitefly. Not only are they difficult to eradicate, but they can ruin your plants before you even realize that there’s anything wrong.
Some species of these flying insects are larger than a grape seed and have a wingspan of up to 3.5 cm. Millions of people will agree that this miniscule, buzzing insect is one of the most annoying in existence. It’s hard to find a flyswatter that kills these little pests without crushing it. Whiteflies are small flying insects that look similar to tiny moths. There are many, many whitefly species, but the one most likely to attack cannabis is the greenhouse whitefly , which is a little yellowish and has four wings that are held flat against its body while at rest.
These organisms are most commonly found in production greenhouses and indoor farms, where their development is favored by ideal conditions. Keeping their temperature range under control will ensure a healthy population that spreads rapidly throughout your crops.
To understand why whiteflies are attracted to indoor environments, you must first understand their habits and natural enemies. It doesn’t help that many marijuana growers want to cultivate cannabis indoors. But most areas of the country with high degrees of humidity also provide ideal homes for the whitefly and some of their best friends, such as ants and beetles. Botanists have studied the threats these diverse groups pose and some excellent insecticides are available to deal with them.
How to spot a whiteflies infestation?
Though devastating, this pest is quite easy to identify. Cannabis plants fear them so badly because they not only feed on their sap but also transmit plant viruses that they have little strength against due to an over sucked dry existence and spent resources. For this reason, remain vigilant of any infestation symptoms
- They can be hard to get rid of because they reproduce several times, each time laying up to 300 eggs. And since the eggs take 6 days to hatch, it’s almost impossible to stop them before they invade.
- Tiny eggs (0.25 mm tops), laid on the underside of leaves, which are where they stay during the larval stage.
- Ants and whiteflies have a symbiotic relationship; one of protection. Ants feed on the sweet liquid excreted (poo) by the whitefly and provide a safe home.
- Honeydew is a sticky, sugary substance that is excreted by the whitefly after feeding. It is initially a light green but turns brown as it ages. Honeydew can encourage the development of sooty mold, which may hamper the photosynthesis.
- Having a few yellowish spots on the leaf or plant could be one of a host of things, not all of which are serious. Bug experts will tell you that if your leaf looks like a piece of corn with holes or has small yellow or translucent dots in it, it could mean whiteflies have settled down into your plant. It could also be due to herbicide damage, water stress, or even fungus.
How to destroy whiteflies on your cannabis plants?
The thrips’ ability to reproduce at an amazing speed is a huge threat to the cannabis plant. Some people get rid of them naturally, by creating certain conditions that will make the pests leave. But since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you decided to go with the classic method, which consists in treating these little terrors with insecticides.
- Although chemicals do have immediate effects on the whitefly, you must remember that they can become resistant and may make a stronger effect on larvae.
- A more attractive and natural way to keep pests away is to grow plants that will protect your cannabis. Growers have found that plants including various types of basil, marigolds, tobacco, and lavender or peppermint are great for repelling bugs.
- A cure against whitefly is not hard to find. Encarsia Formosa wasps and Macrolophus Caliginosus arachnids are both capable of getting rid of baby, eggs, and adult whiteflies. Just introduce two or more individuals every 2 weeks, and the problem is solved.
- Pyrethrin- or rotenone-based natural insecticides are not only cheap, but easy to use on your plants. Simply spray them and watch as pests disappear.
- To prevent whiteflies from destroying your plants, you can strategically place sticky fly traps nearby that will attract whiteflies into getting stuck.
- Neem oil and soap work well together for treating your houseplants. All you have to do is mix them with some warm water in the same bucket and use that solution to clean the leaves of the plants. Be very gentle with your plant as neem is a stronger poison.
How to prevent whiteflies?
Even though some plants are known to have greater tolerance to whiteflies, all plants will suffer a certain amount of damage. The best way to protect your cannabis buds is to avoid infestations before they happen! To keep whiteflies off your plants, install a fan in every vent. Keep an eye out for the bugs. And, as a last resort, you can always try biopesticides.
For a non-toxic, safe way to keep pests at bay, opt for neem oil. Simply mix it with water and spray your plants every two weeks to protect them against bugs and pesky critters. If you have a plant that was affected by leaf-feeding pests, you can use neem oil to eliminate them. This ingredient kills soft-bodied insects, including aphid, spider mites, thrips and white fly.
Breeding whiteflies and other pests can thrive in a grow room set at high temperatures. Dust is another factor to watch out for, especially after trimmers have walked it all over the place. Plus the grow room? We’re going to make sure it’s dust-free too. Clean it up and keep it that way, especially after the trimming. And, of course, we already discussed temperatures and how much we hate whiteflies.
If you do find any small white flying insects, no big deal. Just get rid of them. They’re actually kind of cute. It’s the big ones that will hurt. They grow on sticky resin trichomes (so can’t be treated with heat!). The little ones are just looking for a place to graze.”