Here the saying “prevention is better than cure” applies. The best way to prevent disaster is through hygiene. So if you grow indoors never take your plants outside except permanently. Likewise, do not bring other plants or pots into the system.
Before entering the system, if you have been in contact with other plants outside it would be advisable to change your clothes and wash your hands thoroughly.
Maintaining ideal atmospheric conditions in the system is another way to prevent problems, healthy plants are more resistant to diseases and pests. Therefore it is necessary to avoid situations of excessive heat and low humidity inside the system as they would weaken the plants and favor the proliferation of parasites.
Plants should be periodically examined for pests, deficiencies and diseases so that one can eventually take action to remedy on time.
The main parasites are: the red spider mites and the white fly. Caterpillars and aphids are less common indoors but may still enter the system somehow. Let’s see together the most common and how to treat them.
spider mites are tiny dot-sized mite with red, brown or black colorings depending on the species. They live on the underside of the leaves, rapidly forming very numerous colonies. Spider mites lay their eggs and weave their webs between the ribs on the underside of the leaf.
They suck the juice from the leaf, leaving a mark like a yellowish spot. Precisely the presence of these points on the leaves are proof of the possible presence of the red spider or white fly.
Spiders start by attacking the large lower leaves. So we have to remove the affected leaves and eliminate the visible individuals with an alcohol swab, or with our fingers. You can spray macerates and products always from the bottom reaching the lower part of the leaves. These parasites are quite common and there are specific products for sale. Soap and water, garlic macerates, nettle and tomato leaves can counteract them. Introducing a few ladybugs into the system is another great way to prevent and combat these and other parasites.
The whitefly acts in a similar way to the spider mites by leaving similar traces on the leaves. They got their name because of the white powder that covers them. It nourishes itself in the larva and in the adult state on the sap of the plants it attacks.
Insecticides that contain pyrethrum seem to work well. Clearly the treatments can only be done in the vegetative growth phase since we don’t want to contaminate the precious flowers with toxic substances.
An effective insecticide can be self-produced by emptying the contents of a pack of tobacco per liter of water. A clove of garlic is added, left to macerate for a couple of days and filtered. To this you can possibly add a spoonful of liquid soap. By spraying the plant once a week for a few weeks we should be able to get rid of any infestation if caught early.
Another DIY insecticide can also be made by adding a tablespoon of ethyl alcohol, bleach and liquid soap per liter of water.
Fungus gnats live in the substrate feeding on the small capillary roots, damaging the root system. They are especially dangerous for still undeveloped seedlings because by damaging the root system they slow down their growth and metabolic functions. Once developed it emerges and develops its wings but remains visible at the base of the plants.
These parasites thrive in stagnant substrates and particularly humid environments. They are not the worst parasites that can happen in a system, but they can still lead to serious problems if neglected. Their action weakens the plant and paves the way for major problems.
It’s possible to eliminate them by removing the first layer of soil probably full of larvae and eggs, keeping the substrate drier and the system adequately ventilated. Also, sticky yellow tape traps can be placed near the bases of the plants where they will stick.
Aphids are among the most feared pests by cannabis growers, their rapid ability to reproduce and spread from plant to plant can create serious problems within a system. Each individual can generate 30 to 100 larvae per day. They are also vectors of other diseases and if they are not contained in time they can jeopardize the entire crop.
These parasites are as large as the head of a pin and can come in different colors from black to green and yellow. Aphids also feed on the lifeblood of plants, especially the leaves. The most noticeable symptoms are yellow and dry leaves. Colonies of these parasites are found under the leaves and stems.
They also produce molasse that attracts ants. Seeing ants in your system is another red flag that could indicate the presence of aphids. These parasites can be eliminated manually and by inserting predators such as ladybugs, or by spraying on pyrethrum plants once a week for 2 or 3 times.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to treat your plants with natural substances and try to self-produce pesticides yourself, you may be interested in the article: “Natural repellents for your organic garden“
Neem oil is a broad spectrum insecticide, fungicide, nematicide, foliar fertilizer and natural leaf shine. It has three modes of action as an insecticide: Insect Growth Regulation, Feeding Deterrent & Oviposition Deterrent