When working with plants, pests and disease are always a concern. For professionals in the cannabis industry, it’s important to be familiar with the ones that threaten cannabis plants, in particular if you’re working in an area like cultivation, where you’re directly in contact with the product in its vulnerable state.
Pests that can attack cannabis plants include:
- Other insects
These are insects that cultivators know to look out for. In addition, fungi can be a threat to the plants, such as:
- Powdery mildew
- Phythium (Root Rot)
- Other fungi
Plant pathogens like alternaria can also ruin cannabis plants. Read on to learn more about the threats to plants when working in the cannabis industry!
How to Recognize Pesky Bugs in Cannabis Industry Careers
There are a few insects to be on the lookout for if your job is tending to cannabis plants.
Aphids are tiny insects, only measuring 1-3 mm. They have egg-shaped bodies and can be green, yellow, or black. Sometimes they have transparent wings, and sometimes they don’t. Here are a few quick facts about aphids:
- You’ll most often see them underneath stems or leaves
- Usually they are found in clusters of 10-100
- They secrete a molasses-like substance to attract ants, who protect the aphids from being eaten
Mealybugs are another common pest to watch out for in cannabis careers. Most of the time, mealybugs are only a threat to crops being grown outdoors. It’s quite rare that you’ll see them inside. Here are a few facts about mealybugs:
- They have a protective shell that combines various shades and consistencies
- They excrete sugary honeydew, which can cause mold to grow on plants
- You can find these insects attached to the stem, or sometimes the leaf, of plants
Both of these types of insects suck sap out of cannabis plants, harming them. If you see stains on plants, mold growing, or plants losing their vigour, it could indicate the presence of pests.
What Are the Plant Diseases that Pop up in Cannabis Careers?
Pathogens can also negatively impact crops. One common category of plant pathogen is alternaria—in fact, they are the species responsible for a fifth of agricultural spoilage. Alternaria are:
- Common fungi that are all over the environment in various habitats
- Made up of 299 species
- Producers of many toxins that can kill plants
Powdery Mildew is another threat to cannabis plants, as it spreads very fast. It looks like a white powder, starting to appear lower down on the plant before spreading. This disease:
- Is often spotted before it can kill plants, since it’s quite obvious
- Thrives in darker, more humid conditions with poor airflow
- Makes products useless for sale on the market, despite not killing the plants off
Root Rot, or Phythium, also attacks cannabis plants and is well-known by people in cannabis industry careers.
- The organisms can live inside of topsoil or dead plant tissue long-term, without a host plant
- Once plants are placed in the soil, they can be attacked
- Wetness, temperature, and nutrients can all be factors that cause root rot
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