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.
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.
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.
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.
Russet and broad mites are tiny garden pests that can wreak havoc on cannabis plants, stunting their growth and destroying your yields.
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.
Introducing natural predators like Orius laevigatus (the common bed bug) is another way to keep your harvest thrip-free.
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.
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.
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.
They pierce cannabis leaves with their mouths and suck out all the good stuff, leaving shiny (sometimes people think it looks slimy), silver or bronze spots wherever the leaves were bitten. The spots are bigger and more irregularly shaped than the bites left from spider mites. If it goes on too long the affected leaves may start dying.
Although it doesn’t really look like it in pictures, in real life thrip damage has been described as looking like “dried spit” or tiny snail trails.
2.) Neem Oil
Note: Most spinosad products are effective for only about 24 hours after being mixed with water, so only mix as much as you will need per application. Anything left over will be waste.
Here’s a picture of an adult thrip on a finger for scale – they’re tiny!
A thrip nymph looks tubular and worm-like, unlike an aphid nymph which looks like a tiny white bug
Pyrethrin products break down quickly, over the course of just a day or two. The major problem with them is they are very toxic to bees. Although cannabis plants generally don’t attract a lot of bees, please use this as a last resort, and also try to use it right after the sun goes down because bees sleep at night. This lets it start to break down before they wake up.
With soaps, coverage is very important as it does not stay on your plant for long, so follow-up applications may be necessary. Although this is considered safe, avoid getting any on your buds!
In their “nymph” (juvenile) form, thrips appear pale, fat and almost wormy from afar
If you see tiny, wormy little bugs, dark winged insects or bronzed discoloration on the leaves, you may have thrips. Learn how to get rid of them!