Did you know there are bugs that eat cannabis? These pests slowly sap your marijuana plants’ energy, preventing them from growing and producing big, juicy buds.
If you spot some creepy crawlies on your crops, don’t panic. There are a few easy ways to remove these uninvited guests and keep them away for good.
Techniques such as using quality marijuana nutrients and sterile soil lower your chances of bugs in weed.
At the same time, some insects benefit your marijuana plants, keeping them safe from infestations. The trick to healthy cannabis crops is telling these bugs apart.
9 Common Bugs That Eat Cannabis
Learning how to identify bugs that eat cannabis is an incredibly useful skill for anyone who dreams of cultivating potent marijuana buds. Knowing what these insects look like and their characteristics allow you to determine the best removal method. You also won’t waste any of your money and time on useless techniques or, worse, damaging your plants in the process.
Below is a list of the most common bugs that eat cannabis, helping you diagnose pest problems and how to solve them.
Aphids are small, oval-shaped insects that eventually develop wings. The color of these pests ranges from green, black, brown, red, yellow, or white, depending on your location and the insect’s age.
You’ll spot these bugs that eat weed plants by looking under leaves, stems, and new growth. They tend to live in colonies, attaching themselves to your cannabis and draining its nutrients.
Aphid females don’t require a male partner to breed and produce up to 100 eggs every day. They also secrete a liquid called honeydew, which is like Catnip for ants. They love the surgery syrup so much that they’ll protect the aphids from other hungry insects.
If you’ve identified the bugs on your weed plant as aphids, then use the following removal technique:
- Cut off older leaves with heavy infestations.
- Spray neem oil or insecticidal soap on the remaining aphids.
- Repeat the process every few days until they no longer appear.
Barnacles are tiny bugs that eat cannabis and act in a similar way to their seafaring namesake. Their appearance and color can vary, but all behave the same. You might even mistake an infestation for a type of mold or plant growth.
You’ll find these pesky pests latching onto the soft branches of marijuana crops or under the leaves. They slowly sap your plant’s energy, resulting in them looking weak and droopy. Like aphids, these insects also secrete honeydew, attracting hordes of ants.
Do you believe the bugs on your weed plant are barnacles? If so, here’s how to get rid of them:
- Fill a pressure sprayer with insecticidal soap or a mixture of neem oil.
- Apply the solution directly to the affected area.
- Spray your crops regularly until the pests disappear.
Not all bugs that eat cannabis are visible to the naked eye. Broad Mites are so small you need a microscope to see them. Infested crops typically show signs of distress that seem like an overwatering issue.
New growth becomes blistered and twisted, giving leaves an almost plastic-like appearance. If these terrible pests attack your plants during their flowering stage, the buds start to brown and die.
It takes patience to remove these bugs in weed as they lay their eggs in small crevasses. Begin by increasing the average temperature around plants and placing them in direct sunlight, then follow these steps:
- Wash your crops with organic insecticidal soap, ensuring you don’t miss any sections.
- Spray neem oil on infected areas
- Repeat every day for up to five weeks to break the cycle and remove these bugs on your weed plant for good.
Caterpillars, Loopers, and Inchworms
How do you tell the good worms apart from the bad ones? A rule of thumb is if the insect has legs; you’re looking at a pest.
Caterpillars have loads of legs and come in a variety of sizes and colors. In comparison, inchworms display three pairs of feet in the front and another set in the back. Loopers are also bugs that eat weed plants and have a set of legs on either end.
All three of these pests eat your marijuana plant’s leaves, stems, and buds. It’s rare to find these worms when cultivating indoors with efficient ventilation, making them a primary concern for outdoor growers.
Luckily, removing these bugs that eat cannabis is a simple process as they’re not hard to spot. Use these instructions to stop these harmful pests from damaging your marijuana plants:
- Purchase organic pesticides and apply it to crops with a spray bottle.
- Shake the cannabis plants gently after applying the solution to knock off any unseen worms.
If you see small flies hanging around the bottom of your crops, they could be fungus gnats. These types of bugs that eat weed plants have long legs and are either a gray or black color. Their larvae are hard to see as they are very small and have translucent bodies.
Cultivators who overwater their crops are likely to encounter these pests as they target moist soil to lay their eggs. As the infestation grows, these bugs destroy the root systems, resulting in weak, stunted marijuana plants.
The trick to eliminating these bugs that eat cannabis is by focusing your attention on the soil. Your goal is to destroy any eggs in the top layer of your medium and prevent gnats from laying more. Follow these steps to remove these pests:
- Place yellow sticky traps around plants to trap mature gnats.
- Allow your soil to dry out by blowing air over it.
- Apply neem oil to the top layer of your growing medium.
- Adopt a better feeding schedule.
Sometimes it’s easier to diagnose bugs that eat cannabis by the damage they leave behind. Leaf miners fall into this category as they live inside the tissue of plants. You’ll know you’re dealing with this pest by the brown trail they leave behind them on leaves.
The damage is similar to that caused by caterpillars and commonly affects outdoor marijuana crops.
It’s possible to crush these bugs that eat weed plants with your fingers, but you need to find them first. The easiest way to eliminate these pests is by doing the following:
- Remove infected leaves.
- Spray an organic pesticide on your plant, covering all the foliage in the liquid.
- Add a few drops of neem oil to your soil to prevent more bugs from laying eggs.
Some of the most challenging bugs in weed to remove are spider mites. These annoying pests look like tiny black dots underneath the leaves of your cannabis crop.
Many marijuana gardeners only notice these harmful creatures when leaves start to display yellow spots. Some may even mistake the symptoms as a nutrient deficiency. Eventually, you’ll see webs covering your crops, which is a tell-tale sign of an infestation.
These bugs that eat cannabis are tricky to deal with as they build up a resistance to pesticides. It’s recommended to alternate between any chemicals you use and quarantine affected plants to limit the spread.
Here are a few options you can adopt to remove these pests from your marijuana garden:
- Lower the temperature in your growing setup to reduce the chance of insects reproducing.
- Blow air over the growing medium with a fan to dry out soil quicker.
- Spray the bugs on your weed plant with either a pesticide or organic insecticidal soap.
- Check any new clones for infestations before planting them with other crops.
Indoor crops aren’t completely safe from harmful pests. Thrips prefer controlled climates as they allow them to reproduce quicker compared to outdoor environments.
Identifying these small yellow insects is simple as they like to travel in swarms. You’ll also notice small silver dots on your plant’s leaves, thanks to these bugs that eat cannabis.
Thrips consume the vital chlorophyll molecules in cannabis plants, making the leaves brittle and crumble. Female insects lay their eggs under the surface of the foliage or inside buds, leaving crops weak and underdeveloped.
Removing these bugs that eat weed plants is a straightforward process and only takes a few weeks to fix. Here are some steps you should take to eliminate thrips from your garden:
- Drench your foliage in a liquid mixture containing insecticidal soap.
- Place neem oil at the base of your crops, preventing any bugs from laying eggs in the soil.
- Ensure all ventilation holes for your indoor tent don’t allow bugs to enter.
Some bugs that eat cannabis, like whiteflies, are super simple to identify as they look the way they sound. These small, winged insects are colorless and spend their time under leaves, sucking your plant’s nutrients.
Whiteflies tend to target weaker cannabis crops and begin feeding on the newest sections. They also stick their eggs to the underside of foliage with a type of glue that makes them hard to remove.
If you spot these bugs that eat weed plants, you’ve got to act quickly. The longer you wait to fix the issue, the more your cannabis crops become weak and damaged. Thankfully, the remedy for these pests is simple:
- Spray all infected crops with organic insecticidal soap.
- Use a bottle with a pressure nozzle to dislodge eggs.
- Apply a few drops of neem oil to your medium to prevent further infestations.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Cannabis Bugs
Although there are a few different bugs that eat cannabis, seeing a creepy crawly doesn’t mean there’s a problem.
The first step is always to identify the creature on your crops. That way, you don’t waste time trying to fix a potential infestation.
Use this guide to quickly spot any bugs that eat weed plants and remove them from your marijuana garden.
If you see any ladybugs, earthworms, or praying mantis around your cannabis crops, it’s a good omen. These insects fight off harmful bugs and keep your plants strong and healthy.
Prevention is always easier than cure. Start by ordering your next batch of cannabis seeds from a reputable online store. You’ll find a variety of marijuana strains that can resist bugs that eat cannabis, making your cultivating experience far easier.
Readers – This guest post was provided to Dab Connection by author Derek Benett. Share your cultivation and pest control tips here in the comments or in our hopefully bug-free forum.