As cannabis cultivation has shifted indoors, nuisance pests have shifted with it. Past damaging bugs have been replaced by other opportunistic ones perfectly suited to the protected, food-rich indoor settings now being propagated. Three key cannabis pests have become particular nuisances to indoor growers - fungus gnats, root aphids and thrips. While we will only cover the impact of beneficial nematodes on them here, in depth information about full control programs for each can be found on their respective pages.
Like most crops, cannabis and hemp can benefit greatly from preventative pest control. Monitoring and planning only get a grower so far before action needs to be taken. That’s where beneficial nematodes come in for the three pests listed above.
Benefits of Using Beneficial Nematodes in Indoor Grows Include:
- Interrupts a pest’s life cycle, limiting damage from future larvae/adults.
- Compatible with most fertilizers and insecticides allowing growers to maintain their feeding or pest control schedules.
- Limits pesticide use in vegetative and flowering stages by limiting population growth through the growing season.
- Persist in the soil well and provide ongoing biological pest management long after initial treatments.
- Leaves no residue or testing hazards, helping to ensure a clean end product.
Beneficial nematodes work best as a prevention or early season treatment; however, they can combined with other beneficial organisms and sprays to maximize control of existing pest infestations. For example, B. bassiana sprays have become a popular choice within the cannabis community for their broad target pest range and relative effectiveness controlling hard to treat pests. Beneficial nematodes actually help spread the B. bassiana spores, ensuring more complete coverage in the soil and increasing infection rates within the pest population. Similarly, S. scimitus mites feed on many of the same soil-borne pests, but do not attack nematodes giving growers a second option that can target pests before they do damage. Nematodes’ high compatibility with other beneficial organisms makes them ideal for growers who want to eliminate pesticide sprays from their IPM approach without risking results.
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