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thrips on cannabis plants

Thrips – How To Get Rid of Them?

Thrips are a common threat to cannabis cultivators. They are small pests that look like little worms or flying insects. They are tough to get rid of and survive by sucking the sap out of your plants. Here is a quick guide to spotting thrips, and a few ideas for preventing and controlling an infestation.

Growing cannabis can be an exciting and rewarding hobbie. But what happens if others decide to enjoy your cherished crop before you do?

WHAT ARE THRIPS?

Thrips are a common problem faced by canna-cultivators. They are a minute pest that literally suck the plant sap out of your crop. Thrips also come in several different species. They can be tiny winged insects (measuring in the millimetres), or they can look like small, pale worms.

Regardless of their species, thrips are the bane of farmers everywhere. They can reproduce up to 12 times per year. When mature, they can survive just by flying from one plant to another. Outside of cannabis, thrips’ favourite crop seems to be cotton, although they can damage many kinds of crops. But they really seem to love cannabis! Unfortunately, they are particularly damaging when they appear early on in the grow process.

The most damaging thrip threat to cannabis comes from a species called Frankliniella occidentalis. These thrips are yellowish-white flying bugs. They lay their eggs on the plant itself. The first signs of their presence are small, silver stains or dots on the underside of leaves. This is how thrips lay their eggs. They are also easy to miss.

Worse? While not a significant threat to outdoor growers, they thrive inside. Indoor grows and greenhouses are their favourite environments. They love high temperatures. Thrips can also be persistent if not treated properly. And if not eliminated early, they can significantly reduce yields.

THRIP PREVENTION AND CONTROL

The best way to rid yourself of thrips is to never have an infestation in the first place. Make sure that you thoroughly sanitise your growing space before you begin. This means not only keeping the place spotless, but removing all dead plant matter.

Once the grow space is set up, install insect adhesive strips. Much like fly paper, these are insect traps that will catch most of the free-flying bugs around. The bugs will get glued to the strips. Problem solved.

Eradicating thrips once they have established a presence is the only way to save your crops and prevent a new infestation. The best method (without using harsh chemicals) is to use potassium soap or neem oil. Pyrethrins and rotenone are also good options, although use sparingly as pyrethrins are also highly toxic to bees.

Neem oil serves as a completely natural way to protect your cannabis plants against pests.

Neem oil serves as a completely natural way to protect your cannabis plants against pests.

Spinosad products are also organic and harmless to pets, children, and plants. Spinosad is an organic pesticide made from the fermentation of certain kinds of soil bacteria. This form of insecticide can be used both as a topical spray and at the roots. When added to water, these products are only good for about 24 hours, so only mix what you need at any given time.

If you want to use chemicals to clean your space and crop, try to use the least toxic substances available. Remember to use both masks and gloves when handling all toxic chemicals.

Introducing natural predators like Orius laevigatus (the common bed bug) is another way to keep your harvest thrip-free.

Thrips are a common pest facing indoor cannabis cultivators. They can seriously damage the plant and lower yields. Here is a guide on how to get rid of them. ]]>