Got your own grow operation? Be on the lookout for cannabis aphids. They can decimate your crop and leave you without weed in no time.
In this article, the all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana discuss these pesky pests and give you tips for preventing, identifying, and getting rid of cannabis aphids on your precious pot plants.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are tiny winged insects that feed on the sap of plants. Sap is literally the blood of all green growing things, so aphids are, in a very real sense, vampires of the vegetation world.
The loss of sap weakens the plant causing it to turn yellow, wilt, and eventually die.
But sap sucking isn’t the only way aphids harm plants. They also serve as vectors for — a fancy way of saying they carry and spread — plant diseases and viruses.
Aphids also leave behind a thick, sticky substance called honeydew that promotes the growth of a black, sooty mold.
If that weren’t bad enough, honeydew also attracts ants that may actually protect the aphid from predators that want to eat it. If the predators can’t eat the aphids, the infestation gets worse.
When it comes down to it, aphids are among some of the most aggressive and destructive pests in the temperate regions where cannabis likes to grow.
That spells potential doom for our friend the pot plant.
What Are Cannabis Aphids?
Scientists have identified about 5,000 species of aphids. They range in size from one to 10 millimeters and vary in color from green to black to red to white.
The most common types of aphids found in home gardens — where your DIY grow operation is most likely to be located — are usually green and about one millimeter long.
One aphid is particularly worrisome, though, when it comes to growing a healthy batch of marijuana. Phorodon cannabis — literally cannabis aphid — feeds exclusively on Cannabis sativa plants.
They spread when a female aphid flies into your garden or grow operation, lands on an uninfected plant, and lays eggs that hatch into a colony in the spring and late summer.
While the cannabis aphid can wreak havoc to grow operations of any size, they’re not yet an uncontrollable problem.
There are ways to prevent cannabis aphids from infesting your plants in the first place, and other ways to get rid of them if they do.
How To Prevent Cannabis Aphids
1) Choose Resistant Strains
Some strains are more resistant to cannabis aphids than others.
Common cultivars of this type include:
- Durban Poison
- Purple Haze Auto
- Afghan Kush
- Cash Crop Auto
- Sweet Tooth Auto
- Onyx Auto
- Strawberry Amnesia
- Lemon Haze
Planting these strains won’t do away with the threat completely, but they will help cut down on the likelihood that aphids will thrive on your crop.
2) Maintain The Right Temperature And Humidity
Most garden pests prefer, what we humans consider, the hot and humid conditions of deep summer. We’re talking temps in the 80s with humidity above 70%.
If you’re growing your plant outside, there’s not much you can do to control these variables. But, if you nurture your cannabis in a greenhouse or indoor operation, you can take steps to maintain the right temperature and humidity at all times.
Marijuana plants thrive in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels between 40 and 50%.
Though this won’t reduce the possibility of cannabis aphids to zero, these numbers are on the low end of what the insects can tolerate so they’ll be less likely to flourish.
3) Ensure Plenty Of Airflow
Another way to prevent an infestation is to ensure plenty of airflow.
Cannabis aphids like stagnant (still) air so installing a few fans is an easy way to keep the air circulating around your growing plants.
4) Keep A Sharp Eye Out For Trouble
Catching an outbreak of cannabis aphids early is the best way to keep your crop from failing. That requires that you keep a sharp eye out for the tiny pests.
If you do spot an aphid or two — and you know for sure what you’re looking at — skip down to the How To Get Rid Of Cannabis Aphids for suggestions on how to save your plants.
If you’re not sure whether that little thing crawling on your growing green is an aphid or not, check out the next section for tips on how to identify the little buggers.
How To Spot Cannabis Aphids
1) Look Under Leaves
Cannabis aphids love to hide on the underside of the marijuana leaf.
This protects them from any flying predators that may come their way and gives them access to the more tender areas of the plant. From here, they inject their stylus into the stem and suck out the sap.
Unfortunately, they’re so small, you won’t see the actual physical damage they cause. What you will see is the trail of destruction they leave behind.
2) Look For Sooty Mold
As they eat, cannabis aphids secrete a clear, sticky substance called honeydew. This honeydew is the perfect growth medium for a black fungal infection that looks like sooty mold.
So while you won’t see the aphids actually eating, you will see where they’ve been when mold starts to grow on your marijuana plants.
3) Look For Exoskeletons
As they grow, cannabis aphids shed their skin and leave behind a tiny exoskeleton as proof that they were there.
Again, you may not be able to see a single aphid exoskeleton, but if enough of them cluster together and shed their skin at the same time, you’ll be able to see a pile of light brown papery stuff left behind.
4) Look For Droopy And Discolored Leaves
Ultimately, the presence of cannabis aphids means that your plant will suffer from a dramatic decrease in sap.
Without enough lifeblood to sustain the plant, the leaves will droop, become discolored (yellowish), and eventually curl and wilt.
Unfortunately, once you’ve spotted the signs of cannabis aphids, the infestation is already well along.
That doesn’t mean that all is lost, though. You can still save your plants. Read on to find out how.
How To Get Rid Of Cannabis Aphids
1) Wash With Water
While water isn’t technically an insecticide, and it certainly won’t kill the cannabis aphids, we’ve included it on this list because it is a viable way to wash them off your pot plants.
Even just spraying the plants with water from a garden hose is enough to knock those suckers loose.
This is, by no means, a permanent solution because the aphids can make their way back up the stem of the plant again. Some may die in the process or fall prey to ants and spiders, but one or two might survive.
2) Spray On A Water/Vinegar Mix
While vinegar may be something you add to your salad for flavor, to a cannabis aphid, it’s lethal.
Try mixing up this water/vinegar solution as a gentle, organic way to get rid of pests on your marijuana.
- Pour one ounce of vinegar into a small bucket
- Add three ounces of distilled water
- Pour the solution into a garden spray pump
- Spray the aphids on the infested plants
After one treatment, wait a week and reapply to get rid of any remaining pests.
3) Up The Ante With Castile Soap
While a water and vinegar mixture is good (for killing cannabis aphids), a water, vinegar, and castile soap mixture is better.
Try this recipe for even more kick.
- Mix a spoonful of castile soap into a gallon of water
- Add a spoonful of white vinegar
- With a garden sprayer, apply the solution onto the affected foliage
- Rinse excess soap with a garden hose
Avoid The Stress Of Cannabis Aphids
Want to avoid the stress of cannabis aphids? Skip the DIY and buy high-quality, organic marijuana instead.
We love growing our own weed, but it’s not without its difficulties. Thing is, we here at Honest Marijuana have been doing it for a looooong time.
We’ve perfected the process to the point that, when you see the HMJ label, you can be sure that you’re getting the cleanest, highest-quality product out there.
And, really, that’s what it’s all about.
Instead, whenever possible, always buy the best beasters — or better yet, headies if you can swing it — to ensure.
So, if you’re looking for the top shelf, cream of the crop, marijuana gold that can get you high just by looking at it, spend a little extra for high-quality organic cannabis.
We’re kidding about that last part. You won’t experience a high at first sight with organic cannabis, but you just might experience love at first toke.
We always recommend trying high-quality organic weed (like that produced here at Honest Marijuana) at least once in your life so you can taste ganja the way mother nature intended.
Don’t miss out! Avoid the stress and strain of cannabis aphids and discover what clean, high-quality organic cannabis is all about. Find a dispensary near you and get to toking. You won’t be sorry.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.