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You need to sow healthy marijuana seeds in order to get healthy seedlings and, eventually, an abundant marijuana harvest. But then, there are hundreds of pests that affect marijuana seeds in varying detrimental ways. And although indoor grow tents experience far lenient pest invasion challenges compared to outdoor marijuana gardens, there still are critters that growers need to be wary of when growing marijuana indoors. Be extra watchful for these 3 common pests:
- Spider Mites: These small and oval-like bugs are notorious for spinning webs in grow tents and multiplying exponentially (over 10 times a day). When they do, they rein havoc on marijuana seeds, leaves, and buds.
- Aphids: These yellow-winged bugs reside under cannabis leaves and reproduce at an alarming rate. They also feed on seeds and marijuana leaves.
- Fungus Gnats: These black bugs reside in moist soil and feed on marijuana seeds as well as the lower parts of young marijuana plants.
How can you prevent these pests from destroying your marijuana seeds? Well, the obvious remedy for many people would be to apply chemicals in the soil and around grow tents. But as effective as this method could be, studies have shown that pesticide usage contaminates the environment and makes marijuana unsafe for human consumption. That is why your to-go-to pest control method should be using physical barriers to keep insects and other pests out.
7 Best Ways to Manage Pests on Your Cannabis Plant
Here are 7 pest management recommendations that you will find helpful:
1. Buy pest-resistant seeds
You can bypass the hassles of pest prevention and management by opting for specially-processed pest-resistant cannabis seeds. The chances of a pest infestation even when the seeds germinate are minimal to none. The pest resistant seed have been created so that they are toxic and eliminate several insects. Imagine how disappointing it is to discover that your long year harvest has been gnawed by insects. This is a problem to any farmer or any house that wishes to grow seeds. It has especially become present farms in developing countries where according to experts “Pests are the major constraint to low income farmers, especially in developing countries, and they account for almost 40% of total food losses in marginal areas.”
2. Sterilize your soil
Soil is the most common marijuana growing medium, but it is also home to thousands of bugs that will eat up and destroy your marijuana seeds within a few short days. You can eliminate those bugs together with their potentially destructive eggs and larvae by sterilizing the soil before use.
A few steps for sterilizing the soil are:
- Heat your oven
- Place the soil in the oven at 200 degrees, in a roasting bag
- Add water and tie the bag
- Make a holein the bag so that you can place a thermometer in the bag
- Make sure to put the soil bag in the oven and remove the thermometer once it reads 160 to 170
- Remove the soil from the oven and let it cool
3. Improve your lighting
If your grow room has been infested by gnats, fruit flies, spider mites, beetles, or whiteflies, upgrading your lighting systems might be a workable solution. Research has shown that most insects die off when exposed to grow lights of between 417 nm to 467 nm in wavelength. Invest in modern, high-intensity grow lights for your marijuana grow tent and kill off the bugs when they are still eggs or in the pupae/larvae stage.
4. Install disinfecting trays in your grow area
Pythium and arthropods, among other soil-borne pathogens, can stick onto your shoes or clothing and you unknowingly bring them into your grow area. Placing disinfecting trays at the door of your grow room will lower the possibility of these pests attacking your marijuana seeds.
5. Pest-proof grow rooms
Screen all openings to your grow room, including the vents and windows, in order to lock pests outside. Ordinary window screens might work well for large bugs such as moths, but smaller pests such as spider mites will fly right through. Acquire small mesh screens from your local greenhouse supplies store and install them all around the grow room. However, it is imperative to mention that if the mesh screens are too tiny, they can interfere with airflow in the growing area. You can counter this effect by enlarging the vent and window openings. It’s also worth mentioning that vents turned on in high intensities release loud blows that qualify as unnecessary noise, ultimately inhibiting your marijuana’s growth. You can keep such noises out by soundproofing your room, ensuring a noise-free environment for your seeds.
6. Try custom organic repellents
Most organic repellents, e.g. clove, cinnamon, and coriander oils, have pungent smells that keep pests away without damaging marijuana seeds or plants. Soak your seeds in these repellents and then dry them under direct sunlight before storing/sowing them. Another option would be to spray a concoction of any one of the repellents directly onto your cannabis plants before harvesting the seeds. But as safe as they could be, it is important that you first test your homemade repellents on a few seeds and only soak all the seeds after you are sure that they are safe.
7. Make the grow tent roof as reflective as possible
Silver-colored roofing materials confuse most flying insects by making it appear like light is coming from two different sources- the overhead sun and the reflected light underneath them. Using such materials to make the roof of your marijuana grow room interferes with the insect’s normal flight behavior, so they are reluctant to come anywhere near the tent.
Having a bumper cannabis harvest is an extremely rewarding experience, but it is not the easiest feat to achieve. You have to invest heavily in keeping bugs at bay right from when your marijuana is nothing but seeds, otherwise, your marijuana growth ambitions will remain to be a pipe dream. Any of the tips above can help you keep your seeds safe, but you can combine a few of them to create an even stronger guard.