Preventing Bugs When Growing Cannabis

Changes in laws across the country have resulted in increasing numbers of people growing their own cannabis. The process is surprisingly manageable, but there are some significant challenges. Perhaps one of the biggest problems growers face is…….bugs!  

Of course, this is not surprising. Anyone who has ever planted anything (including small, personal flowers or vegetable gardens), has struggled with insects and the problems they cause. Growing cannabis is no different, and for some reason, insects are truly attracted to these plants. 

Below we have shared some tried and true tips to naturally protect your plants and keep the bugs away.

  • Introduce Predatory Bugs: We know, this sounds crazy! But, fighting bugs with more bugs actually does work. Insects including ladybugs, praying mantis and even lacewings can help keep other, more harmful bugs away.  Did you know you can even purchase some of these bugs specifically for this purpose? Quite often, this is an easy and relatively inexpensive fix to your problem. 

  • Integrate Other Plants: Certain plants can repel bugs from cannabis. Growing them alongside your cannabis plants can offer significant protection. Especially in the early stages of growth, when cannabis is at high risk for damage. Geraniums and marigolds are a beautiful way to care for your cannabis. Their strong odor repels bugs that tend to feast on leaves.  Additionally, herbs can be helpful as well, particularly basil. It naturally repels a host of insects including, but not limited to flies, beetles, and thrips.

  • Spray Tomato Leaf/Garlic Water: Particularly effective against aphids, this fix is easy.  For garlic spray, simply peel a garlic bulb and crush the cloves. Add just over 4 cups of water to a saucepan and let it sit, covered in a dark place for 24 hours.  Then, boil uncovered for 5 minutes and strain.  Add to a spray bottle with just over two more cups of water and you are ready to go. Tomato leaf water is even easier to make.  Place 2 tomato leaves in one quart of water overnight.  Then, strain the mixture and put it in a spray bottle. 

  • Managing Your Soil: If the insects at the heart of your issues are fungus gnats, it may help to focus on your soil.  By keeping the top layer of it dry - the gnats will have nothing to live on. Flypaper may also be of help. If you are growing indoors, make sure your windows are closed, preventing the gnats from entering your home.

Clearly, you have a host of options available to you. That said, if you don’t have luck with the strategies shared above,  there are a host of organic pesticides available on the market. Free from harmful chemicals, these are safe to use. Among the popular are neem oil and pyrethrum. Both are readily available and easy to use.