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Controlling cannabis pests is critical, and a pest management strategy should be part of the initial growth plan. When choosing your grow space, lighting, and nutrients, make sure you have a plan for integrated pest management before planting your first seedling. Insects and mites can do a lot of damage to cannabis plants and even quickly ruin an entire crop if not managed promptly and correctly.

Some of the most damaging cannabis pests include:

Cannabis aphids – there are many different types of aphids, and they can be of different colors, either yellow, green, or black, and are about the size of a pencil tip. Aphids extract fluids from the cannabis plant, causing leaves to pucker and appear distorted and may cause serious crop problems. They also leave a sticky fluid called honeydew which leads to fungal contamination. They are often found on the underside of leaves and can go undetected until their population explodes.

Spider mites – these are actually arachnids and not true insects. Therefore, insecticides do not always work on the biology of spider mites. Spider mites feed on the chlorophyll in leaves and leave a speckled appearance. They can be difficult to see without the use of a magnifying glass, but like all spiders, they spin webs which might be the first sign of their presence, and cause damage to leaves.

Hemp russet mites – these are much smaller than spider mites and must be identified with a microscope.

Thrips – these annoying flying insects are small and difficult to see, typically leaving marks like dots on canvas leaves and turning the leaves brittle. Their damages usually notice before they have been identified unless monitoring traps are used as part of pest management, prevention, and control.

Eurasian hemp borers – these pests go through several generations in one season and attack cannabis flowers. They can be found in the stems and cantonal through into the bud when in the flowering stage. They cause dead areas and damage. Cutting a stem close to wilting leaves may reveal the tunnels caused by these insects within the plant.

These are some of the most damaging pests to cannabis plants. Learn more about the prevention, suppression, and eradication of pests with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan.