It is the year of the #aphid and we always preach, prevention is key. Clients get predatory bugs, claim they have no issues, then bam, there they are. In a commercial grow, lady bugs aren't going to eat every aphid, just not realistic. Treatment starts where many seem to neglect, the outside of the building. Here at #TheDopeDealers, we treat our building three times a week. When we show up to a consulting jobs and see ants, I already know aphids are there. Ants herd aphids. They will find the tiniest hole in some wall you forgot you even had and make their way in.
Sometimes, things just get wild and shit happens. Not everyone understands IPM or staying on a schedule. After all, this is a new industry. Just like anything in life, that is alive, it needs a proper schedule of maintenance. So, you can bake your soil or coco before using, above certain temps, things will start to jump out. Do you not think larvae isn't sitting in those new bags you just bought? Nah... how could they? They were bought at a grow store, that would never have anything in it (sarcasm). Also we treat our coco with a cocktail before using it as well. Then we hear,"We did all that, why can't we get our aphids under control?" Well, let's read on here...
So then you still get #aphids, that one lonely sucker caught a wave into your grow room. #RootAphids are bad right now in #OklahomaCannabisGrows. We see it in the cleanest grows, the ones that make you bathe before entering the facility and spray down at every room. Most clients do not even know what they are and it's too late, you sort of have to. live with them once you get them. They are evil, plant sucking, soul crushing, tiny nasty bugs that breed like crazy at a fast rate. Don't get sad, get mad and get it under control. We grow plants for a living, most of us have had every pest under the sun in our grows over the years. You have to understand this is part of #GrowingCannabis otherwise people would have to get a new line of work.
Are you using plastic pots? So many grows from Maine to here, we have seen growers using 25 gallon pots for a plant that should be in a 1 gallon still. My Mother plants are never in anything bigger than a 10 gallon. Baffles my brain over some things I see in #MotherRooms... but this isn't the post for that, this is about tiny bugs. Plastic pots are the WORST, they travel to their buddy down stream and infest another plant in the tray. "But we like plastic, we can pull the plant out and inspect the roots", tough shit, stop. Treat that plant as it is infested, how you should always treat a grow. It's infested even if it is not. So, you are root drenching , spraying like mad and wondering why they spread? Those big ass openings in plastic pots let them crawl right out and make one big happy family in another pot and so on. Look on a black tray you will see green suckers crawling in that run off.
GET THICK FABRIC POTS!
Now here is a tip, breaking this down simple.
Root drench your plants with the proper #IPM solution. 2-3 times a week. If you are in plastic pots, then this is a good way to get them to stop producing babies and spreading. Go to your local Home Depot and get playground sand. All natural. Take cuts, quarantine, restart the plant. Throw those plastic pots out!!! Get thick fabric pots, thicker the better, as the aphids can't get through the fabric, thinner pots they can get through still. For a 2 gallon fabric pot, I take a red solo up and fill it up with 1.5 cups of sand and pour it in the bottom. Get the sand wet and make a concrete paste on the base and all up the inside walls of the fabric pot. Then out coco in and transplant.
Some people like to take perlite and put a layer on top of the sand. I don't, but why? When aphids breed, the eggs can't survive in that sand. I want those suckers dead. This isn't a quick solve, this is preventative and or a solution to try to get the problem under control with a current infestation. Especially for us breeders or growers with genetics we can't lose. Once the plant is in there then do not put them in a flood grow tray, or if you have to put them in a tray due to space, get plant saucers and shop vac water out of the saucer. The aphids and sand should not travel anyway in that thick fabric pot, but we are on a "save my ass" mission, so on the side of caution, get some saucers. Now go grab a bag of Diatomaceous Earth and cover the top of your coco/soil. This controls gnats as well, their larvae and keeps everything in harmony between the two pests.
"But I have fabric pots already?" Ok, now another method is to take your plant, take sterile cuts, we use Zerotol by BioSafe , our cuts swim for a good 15 minutes before putting them into an incubator. quarantine them away from your infested room and start healthy plants over. This is something we do a few times a year with our genetics over the years anyway. Then take sand and layer it on top of your mature plant that has aphids, or doesn't have aphids ( just doing preventative methods). Once you water the sand , this will move to the bottom and make a layer. Repeat this in between feedings with water. Top your plant with DE as previous steps and put it in a saucer. Stop the suckers breeding, stop the spread. We hate bugs too. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.