When it comes to cannabis plants in your lawn or garden, there’s one pest that often goes unnoticed – Root Aphids. These little pests can prove to be a big problem for the health of your plants if not taken care of. They are a common problem for cannabis farmers in North America and Europe.
So why are they so bad for cannabis plants? This is why. They can consume entire root systems in a few hours, transforming healthy, thriving plants into withered sticks overnight.
Here is what you need to do as soon as you start seeing Aphids. To begin with, you should start treatment and prevention immediately. The reason is that they can multiply so quickly that if you let them get too far along, you can have a much bigger problem on your hands
Find out if your plants are affected by Aphid infestation and how you can get rid of it.
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Read our article on all bugs, pests and viruses here.
What Do Root Aphids Look Like?
Root Aphids, part of the phylloxera species, are very small, typically, an eighth of an inch in length. These tiny insects have soft, slimy, and pear-shaped bodies.
However, they can vary in color from red, green, black, or gray as they have camouflaging properties. Root Aphids tend to blend with whatever roots they feed on, so cannabis Aphids can be white or brown.
A defining characteristic of all Aphid species is a tube-like protrusion on their rear. Also, they are found clumped together in the plant roots.
Root Aphids develop wings as they grow, which is why they can look like fungus gnats. So how can you tell them apart? While fungus gnats have rounder and longer legs, in contrast, Root Aphids have thinner, shorter legs.
Also, Root Aphids have longer and narrower wings as compared to the fungus gnats.
Aphids are painful for the cannabis producers not just because they damage the crop but because they can be difficult to control. In certain situations, they breed asexually and uncontrollably.
Root Aphids Symptoms
Next question, how do you know if you’ve got Root Aphids in your plants? Here are some of the symptoms that can set your alarm on.
Your plants may begin to look withered, with flowers showing a retarded growth. They will also display symptoms similar to nutrient deficiencies such as dry, yellow, and wilted leaves.
In such a case, you should begin by checking on all the possible causes that could make your plants look unhealthy. These might be nutrient deficiencies, insufficient sunlight, and water, imbalance in pH.
Subsequently, you should check the roots and if you find tiny, pear-shaped creatures swarming around, there you go. Your cannabis has been hit by Root Aphid infestation.
Root Aphids damage plants by draining nutrients from their roots and leave unrecoverable lesions on the leaves because of an enzyme they release. The roots may become bloated, and yellow, and are susceptible to other issues, such as gnats, mites, fungus, and root decay.
Another way to determine Aphid activity is the use of yellow sticky tapes or ribbons. You can place a fair-sized patch near your plants and their roots.
Although yellow sticky tape doesn’t do anything in affecting the population of Aphids in your garden, it can help you spot them. If you use a tape with grid markings, you can even determine the extent of Aphid populations.
Another way you can tell if the cannabis plants are invaded by Root Aphids is if you find ants around the field. Ants and Aphids come together.
Ants will be transporting Aphids around plants, defending them from predators. In exchange, the Aphid secretes a sugary material that the ants like to feast on. Yes, both insects are partners in crime.
Simply put, if your plants look unusual with tiny bugs flocking around their roots. Most probably, you have contracted a Root Aphid infestation.
How to Kill Root Aphids Cannabis?
If you’re hit by Aphid infestation in your cannabis, it can be a challenge to control it.
The easiest way to get rid of a Root Aphid infestation is to remove all your plants after harvesting. If you spot these pests early enough, there are a few approaches that can help curtail their population.
So to get rid of the root Aphids, you can proceed with our two-fold process to control and curb their growth: identify and control.
The first step of our process is problem identification. This is one of the most important steps in pest control as you need to be certain that it’s Aphid attacking your plants and not a disease or other pest.
Also, you’ll want to examine your plants regularly, for Aphids multiply and spread more quickly than you can imagine.
Use Disinfectants to Control
The second step is to control the infestation. You can manage to get rid of Aphids by using the right products. It is better to spray liquid insecticides on the plants directly. Usually, professional-grade and organic solutions are used to avoid root damage.
Choose an insecticide made of the living fungus Bassiana Beauveria, which attacks and destroys Aphids. It can be used in combination with neem, pyrethrum, and citrus oils, but caution should be taken to avoid damaging the roots.
Mix the chemical with water and contain it in a spray bottle. Be sure to follow the guide for usage instructions. Spray the plant entirely leaving no safe sanctuary for the Aphids. This means you will have to spray both sides of the leaves and any branches. Soak the infested soil every other day for a total of six treatments.
Alternatively, you could use Azadirachtin, a derivative of neem oil. What it does is it halts the growth of Aphids and gives you time to hit them with neem oil. There are also pyrethrum products like gamic which are very effective against Aphids and also organic.
Pyrethrum-sprays may be beneficial if they are used early in the outbreak. Spray water after application to let this chemical into the ground. Continue to apply this mixture every two weeks until the plant regains health and all the Aphid signs vanish.
However, it is common to face a bad outbreak that’s just gone too far. In such a case, it’s best to tear out all of the plants, sterilize everything and replant.
Be careful not to drop the affected soil or Aphids to other areas of your field, while removing affected plants. Put the roots and the plants in a container. Plant removal, in combination with a protective spray, may be the most efficient method of prevention.
How to Prevent Your Cannabis Plants from Root Aphids?
Prevention is better than cure. The best solution is to take preventative measures against Aphids damaging your plants. Here’s what you can do.
Keep the growing region clean. Make sure to keep all your farming equipment and surroundings sterilized. Be careful while buying the grow medium and soil for your plants. It’s highly advisable to go for sterile options and trustworthy retailers.
Avoid using industrial soils, including packaged manure, which can include Aphids and eggs. This is possibly the most common way in which Aphids have spread to gardens all over the world.
Do not wait for the plants to fully grow to save the crop. This just gives Root Aphids the time to immunize themselves in the entire growing field. It’s best to start by sterilizing all the containers and the equipment used. The indoor growers should clean up the entire growing area.
Regular Use of Pest Controls
Root Aphids tend to lay eggs in the fissures or crevices in the soil, which may stay dormant throughout the winter. It won’t be long enough when these bugs will hatch and invade your plants and farms.
Keep your soil drenched at all times and use pesticides regularly. It is better to repeat the treatments every 90 days. One word of advice for you, keep switching the insecticides that you use so that Aphids do not develop immunity to them.
You can also grow other plants around your cannabis plants that can help you get rid of Aphids. These hunters include ladybugs and parasitic wasps that feed on Aphids.
You can even introduce beneficial nematodes into your soil, which are microscopic worms that feed on Aphids.
It functions by destroying Aphid eggs. Be cautious when using it, because if you use excessively, it may damage the roots.
Dry the soil over a few days, then add one part of the hydrogen peroxide to four parts of the water and soak your contaminated cannabis plants. Once the medium begins to foam, it means that the eggs are destroyed.
As far as pests are concerned, Root Aphids are by far the worst of the kind. Nothing ruins the excitement of a cannabis farmer than finding a Root Aphid infestation. But don’t worry, we’ve provided you everything you need to know to avoid or handle root.
Aphid infestation. However, it is highly recommended that once you discover the infestation, take prompt actions. If they are left unchecked, Root Aphids will surely give you a tough time.
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