Thrips on Cannabis: Identification and Cure

Thrips on Cannabis

Table of Contents

Similar to any other plants grown outdoors and indoors, marijuana is not an exemption when it comes to the attack and harm caused by destructive insects in the surroundings. Many species of insects lurk anywhere that are feed on plants’ leaves and flowers.

Cannabis is a great one target for various insects such as thrips, a kind of pest that infests weed by drinking the sap of every cannabis plant in nearby areas. They attack during the most vulnerable stage in cannabis’s stage in life, such as during seedling and cutting stages.

To know more about thrips on cannabis as well as their identification and cure, you may read further on.

What are Thrips and how they look like

These small insects are less dangerous than others but can be a serious problem if not given proper immediate medication. Thrips or Thripidae comes from the family of Thysanoptera, which develops into a large one, having 1 to 1.5 mm.

Common to marijuana plants is the type of Thrips that are called Frankliniella Occidentalis. This kind of insect is a tiny and yellowish intruder in cannabis plants that develop into an expanded shape upon reaching adulthood. Those crops being grown indoors and in greenhouses are the ones prone to this kind of infection.

Thrips destroy the leaves of the crops as a way to suck the sap from the plants. Thus, not treating this problem as soon as it is diagnosed will result in deformed and dying leaves.

Types of Thrips on Cannabis

Thrips come in different forms, names, behavior, and appearance that you might want to know about so you can immediately remove them from your crops if ever you see one. Read on and see the list below for more information about each type of thrips.

1. Flower Thrips

The most common of all types that feed on marijuana crops. They appear in colors of yellow, amber, and orange and which were born during the spring season.

2. Red-banded Thrips

Tropical countries like the United States are now the targets of these pests, but it was originally born in Guadalupe, West Indies. They used to cause damage to cacao crops and not. They target the green buds.

3. Six-Spotted Thrips

Also known as Scolothrips sexmaculatus, are thin insects that can only be 3 mm in measure. The six spots they possess are found in their wings and usually appear in corn crops. Farmers consider this pest as a good and beneficial one as it can protect the plants while they grow.

4. Banana Rust Thrips

With the scientific name of Chaetanaphothrips signipennis, is a common type of thrip that infest those banana trees you might have grown for a long time.

Banded Greenhouse Thrips, Banana Rind thrips, and Hawaiian Flower Thrips – all these pests damage banana crops, which is their favorite.

5. South African Citrus Thrips

Only 1 mm in size and yellow-orange in appearance. They love to lurk during the hot and dry times, which is when they like to look for green, soft leaves of crops and their young fruits.

How to Diagnose Crops if they have Thrips Plague 

Early detection of such condition is of high importance, because, as they say, time is gold. Knowing whether your crops have the Thrips plague or not is the first step to do. There are some observable signs that you may find if you closely look at your crops. 

Here are the important steps to follow when identifying this problem. Try to apply them in your crops to manage the thrips plague well.

  1. Use some sticky traps inside your greenhouses or within your grow area inside that will catch any thrip that may be present in the area. Observe them daily and see if you will find some.
  2. Look for stains in the leaves of your crops, which appear light silver in color. Otherwise, you may also find some small dots that are feces of thrips.
  3. These insects usually attack the lower or middle portions of crops where it is supposed to be visible to the naked eyes. However, because they have the ability to camouflage and hide among the leaves and stems, it becomes more challenging still. Try to look into those parts of plants to examine the crops further.

How to Combat Thrips in Marijuana

In case the problem already occurs and you got almost half of your beloved crops infested by these creatures, your last resort, which can still be effective and useful, is to apply some of the following remedies to this kind of infestation.

1. Neem Oil

Is a spray mist that you need to use with proper caution and care because it may harm your crops, particularly during their flowering stages. Your buds shall be the most prone of all the plants’ parts for this mist can give them a foul taste and odor. Neem oil is made up of all-natural elements that are effective for fighting against all kinds of pests, including molds and bugs. This oil has to be evenly applied onto the leaves, too. As humans, this can be toxic to growers’ health, so there’s really a great need to handle it with care.

2. Pyrethrins

This one is less toxic to both humans and crops. It is highly recommended, too, for vegetable growing. Bees are the only prone victims of this insecticide, which help in the pollination. So, this should be considered as the last choice among others when in need of a combating element against Thrips. They break down easily and quickly, so applying them at night is advised to let the bees sleep at sundown so they will not be affected by this.

3. Insecticidal Soap

Made up of fatty acid salts, a perfect choice for fighting these destructive pests. It weakens or softens the outer covering of Thrips, which is made up of a shell. Despite such an effect on Thrips, growers can rest assured that this is still safe to be used for the crops. Avoid the insecticidal soap from touching your buds at the same time apply some soap after a short while since this does not stay long in the plants.

4. Spinosad Products

These are user-friendly to humans and pets alike. Plants benefit greatly from these products because they can kill thrips directly upon application and also through watering wherein the spinosad products come in through the crops’ roots. Not only does it work efficiently for thrips, but it can also be utilized to kill spider mites and others. Spinosad products are that safe for being a result of natural and organic fermentation of a certain bacteria from the soil, which is called the actinomycete Saccharopolyspora spinose. Such an origin makes this product able to target the nervous system of such insects upon ingestion.

How to Prevent Thrips on Cannabis

Prevention is always better than cure; that is what has been said when it comes to getting sick and staying healthy all the time. This should be the same with crops and plants, too. Preventing these monsters from bothering your green herbs is such a responsibility that you need to fulfill no matter what if you want to have a successful growth process.

One effective way is to always disinfect your grow area, be it indoors, outdoors, or in greenhouses, after every cultivation that you perform. This way, you can be sure that everything is clear, and nothing is going to harm your seedlings until they become mature.

Next is to remove the unnecessary elements from your crops whenever you clean the area. You must be able to keep weeds and other grass away from your plants to also avoid them from getting the nutrients from the soil that is supposed to be for your cannabis.

Lastly, give your crops loving, full attention, and care. By regularly monitoring your crops’ condition, it would be impossible for you not to find any problem sooner and to deal with it sooner as well.

Other Pests in your Garden

Aside from thrips, there are also other destructive pests to watch out for, and those are spider mites, whitefly, leaf miners, aphids, and also loopers. They can all exist in any grow area if growers do not perform some preventive measures to keep them away. 

  • Spider mites are one of the most difficult to get rid of in plants. They got that sharp mouth that can rip open the plant leaves so they can get all of its contents. Also, the mark that spider mites leave on your crops is the yellow, sometimes orange, or white spots.
  • Whitefly infests almost all kinds of crops in which cannabis is his favorite. You might find them very similar to spider mites in terms of behavior and which appears underneath the leaves. They have small bodies that measure only 2 mm with yellow color, too.
  • Aphids have a tiny soft body that measures ¼ inch only, which makes them almost very clearly seen by the human eyes. This pest sucks out all nutrients they can get from plants, which weakens crops fast. 
  • Loopers are caterpillars that have a body divided into segments and which are filled with different colors. They have six large legs and ten others. They camouflage among the crops’ leaves since they got green hue as well. 
  • Leaf miners are no insects or pests that grown in plants. They are, in fact, just the babies of some bugs that linger in your garden, living inside a plant’s leaf and makes a tunnel so they can eat the leaves.

Final Thoughts

Pests are everywhere, and an infestation cannot be avoided. However, with proper caution, care, and attention to your crops will definitely help prevent them from existing in your crops too soon. The thrips on cannabis may always be there, but maintaining it low in number among your crops is what you can do for your beloved crops.

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