Most Common Pests In Cannabis: Aphids

Aphids are tiny bugs that hide on the underside of leaves and use their mouths to suck the nutrients out of them.
26 May 2020
10 min read
Most Common Pests In Cannabis: Aphids

Contents:

Although aphids consume nutrients from your plants, that is not the only reason they are a problem, they also carry viruses and may infect your plants when they feed on them.

These viruses can stunt growth and flower production, some aphids even carry diseases that can ultimately kill your plant if left untreated.

1. What Are Aphids?

Aphids are parasites within the order of Hemiptera. 

Like many other insects, they can be a serious pest in many plants and can also carry several viruses and diseases.

2. What Do Aphids Look Like?

These bugs are soft and may appear white, green, yellow, black, brown, and red, depending on their stage of life. They can be found all over the world and their color changes depending on where you live.

 

What do aphids look like.
 

Aphids look very different depending on their stage of life. The bigger ones are adults, they usually are oval-shaped and can even have wings or antennae, while the younger ones are long, thin, and usually white.

3. Where Are They Found?

Aphids prefer the stems and undersides of leaves. Some species are easy to spot because their color stands out from the plant (like the black ones).

 

Where are aphids found.
 

Others are often colored green and camouflage in with leaves which makes it very difficult to spot their infestation on time.

4. What Do Aphids Do?

Aphids use their tiny mouths to make a hole on leaves and suck the nutrients out of the branches, stems, and leaves in order to get food to be able to reproduce.

When they eat too much, they excrete honey-dew (sugary water). This attracts ants and other bugs and also can have fungus growing in it.

 

When overfed aphids excrete honeydew that attracts other pests.
 

If you have a serious infestation, the aphids will cause leaves to curl and wilt, resulting in slow growth and affecting flower production. You will see an overall slow down of plant growth.

Aphids also carry diseases that can quickly infect other plants in your grow space, they can easily go from plant to plant, biting plants and infecting them with the viruses and bacterias they carry.

5. Symptoms

When infected with aphids, your plant will not show symptoms until it is already too far into and not able to be saved anymore.

 

It's best to prevent an aphids' infestation in advance as the plant doesn't show symptoms until it's already too late to be saved.
 

The only “symptom” you will see is the small black, white, or green aphids attached to the underside of the leaves or branches.

Even if there are a couple, you should already start worrying.

6. How To Prevent Them?

There are only a couple of ways to prevent aphids. 

The first one is having good air filtration, aphids fly for part of their life cycle, using a mesh or filter to keep them out of your grow space is a good way to prevent them.

 

The mesh or filter can be used outdoors and indoors, it’s recommended to use a 340-micron mesh.
 

The other way is by monitoring your plants closely. Aphids are really small at first and it is really hard to spot them from afar. To prevent them, check the plants regularly (at least twice a week), especially in the vegetative phase when the plants are growing a lot.

Inspect the undersides of the leaves and branches, spotting them early is the way to go. Once the number of aphids is high, it may be too late to do anything.

7. How To Deal With Aphids?

If you failed to check regularly for them, there are a couple of ways to try and eliminate them.

Depending on the gravity, you may want to take your plants outside (if you grow indoors) and use a high-pressure sprayer to remove the excess aphids, after removing some of the aphids with a sprayer, remove the leaves and buds that are already compromised.

Once you’ve taken care of the more affected parts, you will need to use an insecticide. We recommend using Neem Oil during the vegetative stage and a natural or organic (safe for plants and humans) insecticide during the flowering stage.

 

To deal with aphids it is advised to use insecticide such as Neem Oil. Use it only during the vegetative stage!
 

Neem Oil has a really strong and unpleasant smell, because of this it is advised to be used during the vegetative stage. If used on buds the smell may stay on the flowers and will produce a super harsh and disgusting flavor. Some even say it is toxic to smoke buds with neem oil.

8. In Conclusion

Aphids are one of the most common and hard to deal pests in cannabis. Their small size makes them hard to spot and you will only see your plant yellowing when it is too late to be saved.

The best way to avoid them is to keep your grow space clean and always be on the lookout, not only for aphids but for any kind of bug. 

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