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  • Post Time Posted June 13, 2019
The intersection of science and nature is an integral crossroads in the cannabis industry. It’s at this junction that innovation, health and safety find harmony. One of the lead characters in this aspect of the discussion, beneficial insects provide growers and consumers one of the most organic defenses against predatory pests like spider mites, thrips and aphids.

The safest and most efficient means of dealing with predatory pests is to introduce beneficial insects to a cannabis crop. These insects leave no harmful residues or substances, meaning they can be used safely even during the flowering stage of the cultivation cycle, and provide the necessary defenses against a multitude of pests.1

Cannabis and the Bonus of Beneficial Bugs
Of course, there are many different types of beneficial bugs that can be used. The most common of these are ladybugs which, to many people’s surprise, are carnivorous and can devour thousands of pests over one lifespan. Ladybugs can be used to treat aphids, spider mites and thrips, to name a few.

When dealing exclusively with the altogether acute and insidious threat of spider mites, many growers use predator mites. Particularly when caught at an early stage, these beneficial insects can be very powerful in the context of treating the issue of spider mites. Because there are a number of types of predatory mites, it’s important to be selective and choose the appropriate species for the garden in question.

Somewhat similar, tiny insects known as predatory nematodes can be incredibly advantageous for killing any pest that spends part of its life cycle in the soil or grow medium of the cannabis plant. These predatory nematodes can also be used through the cultivation cycle without posing any contamination risks to the end user.

One of the more notorious figures in the discussion on beneficial bugs is the praying mantis. Some growers hold the mantis, known for eating virtually any pest in its path, in high esteem for its indiscriminate clearing of most any crop. In the cannabis world, mantis are known for controlling populations of aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and even the occasional grasshopper.2

In addition to avoiding contamination from chemical pesticides, beneficial bugs present a wealth of laudable features to cannabis cultivators. These insects ensure that no chemical resistance buildup in pests is created; a better growth rate is achieved; reentry intervals are avoided; and a better-quality end-product for consumers is achieved.3

According to some reports, the use of beneficial insects can even be a boon to the overall health of the plants and the soil in which they are being grown. It’s important to view these insects as living and breathing pesticides that both protect the garden from predatory pests and boost the overall health of the garden. For these reasons, there are few solutions that are as successful as beneficial insects when it comes to protecting valuable crops.4

Surely something of a nuanced component of the cannabis discussion, beneficial insects are nonetheless an important footnote on the conversation. As commercial practices start to dictate the pace of play in the cannabis industry, these beneficial bugs can be a real bright spot – both for the viability of the industry, and also for the health and well-being of patients and consumers. 

References:
  1. "The best pest control for cannabis." https://www.maximumyield.com/the-best-pest-control-for-cannabis/2/4159
  2. "Friendly bugs for cannabis plants – the praying mantis." https://www.cannabisfarmer.com/friendly-bugs-for-cannabis-plants-the-praying-mantis/
  3. "Tired of spraying? Choose beneficial insects." https://naturalenemiesbiocontrol.com/
  4. "Biological pest control and prevention for cannabis plants." https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-biological-pest-control-and-prevention-for-cannabis-plants-n941

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