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.
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.
Russet and broad mites are tiny garden pests that can wreak havoc on cannabis plants, stunting their growth and destroying your yields.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
A Thrip nymph on a cannabis leaf – I hope this helps show you how tiny they are.
(thrip leaf damage pics by theMallacht)
Spinosad products are organic and unlike many other thrip pesticides, completely harmless to pets, children, and plants. Unlike many insecticides, you can spray spinosad heavily on leaves and roots with basically no negative effects. Spinosad products can be used directly to kill thrips on contact, but can also be used when watering plants to systematically kill thrips via the roots. Spinosad is also effective at fighting caterpillers, spider mites, and many other marijuana pests.
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!
3.) Spinosad Products
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!
Fatty acid salts or insecticidal soaps can be a good choice against thrips. They weaken the outer shell of thrips but are safe to use on your plants and they don’t leave much of a residue.
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.
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!