Battle Indoor Marijuana Pests With Ladybug Super-Hunters
Posted by Lee G. Leissett | 16612 views
By Lee G. Leissett
A ladybug’s favorite entree is aphids, but will feast on just about any bug they can fit in their strong jaws.
(Click to enlarge)
Many medical marijuana growers have turned to beneficial insects as a way to control pest problems. The appeal of these helpful bugs is their ability to control a problem without the use of harmful pesticides. Pest insects, due to their fast gestation periods, can become resistant to insecticides in a matter of a generation or two. This is the ultimate frustration for gardeners because instead of eradicating the problem they have actually worsened it by creating “super bugs.”
I believe the biggest advantage of using beneficial insects is that a pest insect cannot grow resistant to being eaten. The great thing about beneficial insect control is that even the “super bugs” that have developed resistances to insecticides can still be destroyed using predatory bugs that feast on these creatures.
There is no beneficial insect as powerful as the ladybug. Although these tiny critters have been labeled as cute and girly, they are extremely efficient hunters and can tolerate extreme environmental conditions. Ladybugs are actually a type of beetle and feed exclusively on other bugs. A ladybug’s favorite entree is aphids, but will also feast on thrips, mites, mealybugs, or just about any bug they can fit in their strong jaws.
Indoor Marijuana Pest Control
Ladybugs used in an indoor garden can be very effective at controlling a variety of pest insects. The great thing about using ladybugs indoors is that they are confined to the garden space and have to find their food source within that space. Since ladybugs are winged insects they will generally fly around to find a preferred food source and then feed and mate in that area. Being contained within a grow room forces the ladybugs to feed on the available food.
I have successfully controlled mites, thrips, and aphids with ladybugs, in both an indoor garden and greenhouse. My suggestion to anyone thinking about ladybugs as a treatment is to buy twice as many ladybugs as you think are necessary. Having an overabundance of predators can only be beneficial. It’s kind of like sending a hundred wolves after one deer. The disadvantage of using ladybugs indoors is they are messy. You can count on cleaning up dead bugs off your floors, fans, reflectors, ballasts, or anything else contained in your grow room. This can be especially annoying in hydroponic systems with any open reservoirs or containers.
Outdoor Medical Cannabis Pest Protection
Ladybugs can be used outdoors for the control of pest insects on medical marijuana. Unfortunately, unless your plants are infested with aphids, the ladybugs will probably fly away to find a more desirable food source. One way to combat this issue is to spray the ladybugs with soda or a sugar/water solution. This will cause their wings to be temporarily stuck shut, forcing them to establish on your medical marijuana plants. Once established, they will feed, mate, and reproduce on the plants and will be an effective treatment against the pest insects.
Ladybugs are the most versatile and tolerant of all the beneficial insects used for pest insect control. They can be stored dormant in a refrigerator for a number of weeks so a grower can purchase a large batch and intermittently release them in their garden if so desired.
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Tuesday, 08 May 2012
Article by Lee G. Leissett, on May. 8th 2012