When growing cannabis, you could run into various problems – one of which is pests. If you are growing outdoors, one of the pests that can pose a threat to your progress towards an optimal yield is grasshoppers. These plant-chewing insects are great at camouflage and can cause serious damage to your cannabis plants. It is very important to get rid of them once you see an infestation. This article will help you spot the signs of a grasshopper infestation early on and will also provide you with tips and tricks to keep them at bay.
Grasshoppers on Cannabis Plants
If you have outdoor cannabis plants, you need to be wary of grasshoppers for numerous reasons. They like eating cannabis plants – particularly seedlings. The main way they can destroy your cannabis plants by chewing through them. These herbivores insects have a ravenous appetite and they can eat through the leaves and stems of the plant.
Grasshoppers are able to jump about a meter and can also travel long distances. They are also fully capable of multiplying in numbers under favorable conditions. Although a grasshopper infestation means inevitable damage to your cannabis plants, their presence cannot go undetected for long. Once you spot one, you can start the treatment and take action to keep these pests away from your precious plants.
Signs of a Grasshopper Infestation
Grasshoppers are big enough to see with the naked eye but their ability to camouflage makes them difficult to see. Although, if you keep an eye out for them, you will definitely be able to spot them on your plants. Here are few other ways you can check if grasshoppers are damaging your cannabis plants:
- Holes in the leaf, particularly in middle, is a sign that grasshoppers are munching on your plant. While many pests start eating the leaves from the edges, grasshoppers can puncture them in the middle.
- Damage to stem or branches is another sign of a grasshopper infestation.
- Grasshoppers are not very quiet creatures. Their chirping and stridulation sounds are a strong giveaway of their presence.
- If you notice that cannabis seedlings were first to be consumed, you can safely assume that it was grasshopper as they like to feed on seedlings.
- Plant damage in dry conditions and rapid leaf damage is a strong indicator that the grasshoppers are feasting on your cannabis plants.
Grasshoppers Treatment and Prevention
Monitor your Plants
The first step to save your cannabis plants from an infestation is to monitor them closely. If you spot any grasshoppers jumping around or even hear their chirping sounds, take action to avoid any damage to your cannabis plants. They are more likely to attack when the conditions are dry and arid, so be attentive to your plants in dry weather. This step will also help spot any leaf damage to your plant and help you detect the problem early on.
Row covers or floating row covers are a great way to keep bugs and pests away if you are growing outdoors. This is a very cheap and effective way to keep grasshoppers from feasting on your cannabis leaves. Row covers are very light, therefore, you can draw them onto your plants directly. If you are worried about wet-spots, use sticks to keep the cover lifted. Sometimes grasshoppers chew through the covers, so if you decide to use them, check on your plants regularly to make sure there is not any holes in your cloth or covers.
There are a few solutions that you can make from the items in your pantry. One effective remedy is garlic spray. Crush a few garlic cloves and put them in water or mineral oil, then spray onto the plants. Another solution that you can use is vinegar and water; Mix vinegar with water and spray it on your cannabis plants.
Neem oil is the go-to solution for many cannabis growers. It is very effective against numerous pests and it’s easy to use. Spraying neem oil with a mister on your plants directly will keep the grasshoppers away. It is recommended to avoid using it near the buds as it can leave a strong smell.
A good and safe way to eradicate grasshoppers is insecticide salt or fatty acid salts. Grasshoppers have exoskeletons that can be weakened by this soap on contact. The key to getting results from these soaps is coverage since they kill pests on contact.
These organic products are known for their effectiveness. These are better than harsh insecticides and safe to use. Follow the instructions on the product and spray it on the plants to kill grasshoppers. You may need to respray these products since they work for a certain number of hours.
Plant Other Crops
One way to keep grasshoppers away from your cannabis plants is by planting companion crops close by to repel these pests. Peas, sweet clover, and cilantro are known to serve as a grasshopper repellent and can save your cannabis plant from an infestation.
Birds like to catch and eat grasshoppers. Having perches and posts that keep the birds like sparrows, bluebirds, and mockingbirds close means that you have natural predators around which will feed on the grasshoppers and reduce the chances of them attacking your cannabis plants. If you have chickens and ducks around, that’s helpful as well as long as they are kept away from your plants.
The key to keep your plants safe from grasshoppers is observing your plants daily. If you spot a hole in the leaves or damage to your cannabis plants, look for other signs of an infestation. Catching the problem early on and starting the treatments using the tips and tricks given above will keep your outdoor cannabis plants healthy and ensure that you get the optimal yield that you are hoping for.