At one time or another almost all cannabis growers will encounter pest bugs. Insects are considered a 'pest' when they cause damage to your plants. Some examples are: spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats, and aphids.
While pest bugs are commonplace in the cannabis growing community, it can be quite frustrating when trying to get rid of them. Plant health, grow space, climate conditions, and even genetics can all be contributing factors to pest bug development. However, cultural practices can also be a major factor in the spread and upsurge of pest populations.
Here are 5 ways to decrease and limit the spread of pest bugs through cultural practices:
- Sanitization - If you are moving operations into a new space that was previously used don't be shy to break out the heavy duty cleaning supplies and use a little elbow grease. Cleaning in between crop cycles can also be crucial to keep pests from continuing their development from the last crop to the next. Lastly, be sure to keep the space tidy during day-to-day activity. Decaying plant matter laying around after de-leafing or pruning can be a breeding hotspot for pest bugs.
- Monitoring and scouting - This is one of the most important practices to implement in your grow. When you are able to catch the beginning signs of pests, a treatment program can be implemented right away. This will curb the spread and reduce the chances of having a full blown infestation.
- Get employees on board - Train regular and contract workers to use proper sanitation techniques such as boot baths when entering the facility, frequent hand washing, use of gloves, and wearing clean clothing. This will reduce the possibility of employees transmitting/introducing pest bugs. Making sure employees are on the look out for pest damage during their day to day work can also help identify an infestation before it gets out of control.
- Have a smart work flow - Once pests have infiltrated, it's important not to spread them from one part of the facility to the another. Work with the propagative and small vegetative plants first, as pest problems tend to increase proportionately to plant size and age. Bigger plants can host larger pest populations. Save the contaminated area last on the to do list. After the pest ridden plants have been handled, leave without visiting any of the uncontaminated areas.
- Implement an Integrated Pest Management Program - IPMP for short, is a well thought out plan for pest management. This is a facility specific plan to keep pests out and what to do if they do get in.
The bottom line is to work cleanly, monitor, train employees, have smart work flow, and a killer IPMP. Pest management will be less stressful and more successful.
If you need help implementing an Integrated Pest Management Program at your facility or have any questions, please reach out to us through our contact page.