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Pest Control

Pest Problems

Despite the enjoyable weather, summer tends not to be so pleasant for your plants, especially as harmful pests are more common during the warmer weather. Below we illustrate some of the most common pests and detail how you can prevent, identify and eradicate them! 

Spider Mites

Identification:

  • Resemble minute spiders.
  • Can be red or beige/brown in color.

Damage:

  • Feed off the sap of your plants, causing leaves to turn yellow (can be spotted early as small white dots on the upper surface of the leaf).
  • Nymphs and adults also weave webs that often cover the plant completely. These webs serve as transport paths, which enable the mites to completely swarm the plant.
  • Lay white eggs on the underside of leaves.

Threat Level

Solution

Guarded (General risk of pest attacks)

As a preventative measure, Spider Mite natural predators are highly effective.

Elevated (Significant occurrence of pest attacks)

Spider Mite predators will effectively kill spider mites

Severe (Damaging results from pest attacks)

If damage is already done by the time you notice the spider mites, we recommend you spray your plants with an effective spray (Azamax). Follow this up by releasing your predators.

Thrips

Identification:

  • Yellowy brown in color.
  • Look like a small splinter of wood (up to 3mm in length).
  • The larvae of thrips are usually a lighter yellow/beige color; they look like tiny maggots.
  • Leave behind silver-grey slug like patches/trails, and black dots (thrips excrement) on the leaves; a good indication that thrips have attacked your plants).

Damage:

  • When attacked, the plant is forced to use scarce resources to defend itself and recuperate from the damage done. This essentially leads to wasted resources; thus heavily deteriorating the overall quality of the plant.   

Threat Level

Solution

Guarded (General risk of pest attacks)

Use the natural predator, Amblyseius Cucumeris, which is highly effective in controlling thrip populations.

Elevated (Significant occurrence of pest attacks)

Use Amblyseius Cucumeris in shaker bottles. They can be brought into your grow room on a weekly basis in a bottle containing vermiculite as a carrier material. They contain many adult Amblseius Cucumeris mites, which will quickly reduce thrip numbers.

Severe (Damaging results from pest attacks)

If thrips have already built up a large population in your grow room, we would advise spraying your plants with alternate sprays of Azamax or SNS products, in addition to Neem. This will kill off a large proportion of the adults and larvae. Follow this up by releasing your predators.

Sciarid Flies

Identification:

  • Also known as fungus gnats/fruit gnat or black fly.
  • Small black flies between 2-3mm long with veined wings.
  • Attracted to moist conditions around the root zone and rotting vegetation.

Damage:

  • Lay eggs in the growing media, which hatch into larvae that feed on your plant’s roots. This results in decreased root function and poor plant growth.
  • The larvae also spread viruses and disease, resulting in further damage.

Threat Level

Solution

Guarded (General risk of pest attacks)

You can use yellow sticky traps to monitor and catch the adult flies.  Make sure you don’t over water your growing media; sciarid flies like wet conditions. Lower levels of water in the growing media will make it difficult for larvae to survive.

Elevated (Significant occurrence of pest attacks)

The natural predators, Hypoaspis Miles are excellent for preventing and combating sciarid flies. Simply sprinkle them around the base of the plant and they will eat the sciarid fly larvae in the root zone.

Severe (Damaging results from pest attacks)

Use Fungus Gnat Off with your nutrient solution to kill the larvae. Follow this up with nematodes (a parasitic worm).

Top Tips - Prevention Better Than Cure!

It’s always better to be pro-active instead of reactive when it comes to pests, which means you must not wait for the problem to occur before taking action. Creating an environment which stops pests from occurring in the first place will allow plants to grow freely. Here are some tips: 

  • Spray your plants once with pesticide, before following it up with slow-release sachets of predators to prevent the pests from turning up.
  • Or use Sulphur Burners to release vaporized sulphur into your environment, which eradicates pests and disease. Please note: filtration needs to be off during use, so only use during the dark period. 
  • Use of intake particle filters (Hepa Filters or Bug Shields) as an inexpensive way of cleaning incoming air, where airborne pests may exist.
  • Closely inspect any new plants, including cuttings you bring into your grow room. Pay particular attention to the underside of leaves. Always carry out these checks even if your new additions have been given to you by friends.
  • Keep your room clean, especially in between cycles. 
  • Empty, clean and change re-circulating tanks once a week for general maintenance.
  • If using rockwool blocks, cube caps can help to prevent pests.

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