How to Deal with Pests During the Summer

Unfortunately, pest problems can occur all-year round.

However, if you begin growing indoors during the winter months, when insects outside are relatively inactive, then you most likely won’t get any problems until the weather warms up.

However, once pests have got into a grow room, they can survive and remain active all year round because of the warm conditions in there.

In this blog we will take a look at the 4 most common pests in summer.

Remember, prevention is always better cure and it is best to stop them from getting into your grow room in the first place.

Probably the most common way that pests get into your indoor garden is on YOU (or a pet)! If you have been outside, particularly where the are plants then it is a good idea to change your clothes before you enter your indoor grow space. Never let your cat or dog into your indoor garden!

Spider Mites

Spider mites feed by puncturing the surface of a leaf and sucking out the juice. The excess water in the juice that they don’t need is then evaporated off through the surface of their bodies. That is why they find it difficult to feed in cold, damp conditions. It is also why they thrive in warm, dry conditions. Although there are many types of spider mite, the most common is the two-spotted spider mite shown above.

Spider mites live and lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. The punctures they cause by feeding appear as white dots on the top of the leaves. The other sign that your plant could have spider mites is the webbing they create. The webbing disrupts air flow around the plant, causes water loss and creates a home for fungal infections.

A spider mite infestation can first suspected by the effects of the damage they are causing to the leaves (the white dots). Or a lot of little black dots can be seen on the underside of leaves. Infestations usually begin on lower leaves and they work their way up the plant. Confirming spider mites is usually done by holding a piece of paper under a leaf and shaking it to get them to fall off. Black dots will appear on the paper if they were on the leaf. Use a loupe or microscope to confirm that they are spider mites.

In their ideal environment, spider mites can reproduce at an alarming rate. A female can produce between 50-100 eggs in her lifetime about (3 weeks). This is how a few spider mites can turn into a complete infestation in a few days. It takes about 3-7 days for eggs to hatch and about another 3-5 days for them to be old enough to start laying eggs of their own.

Not all pesticides will kill spider mites. If you use one that does not work on them it can actually make the situation worse because you could be killing their natural predators. We usually recommend Plant Magic Bugicide, Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide or SMC Spider Mite Control which are all-natural products. With Ed Rosenthal's Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide we would say is it is very strong and may be too much for some plants. We would recommend using it at quarter strength or even lower. Always do a patch test before spraying the whole plant.

Spider mite eggs are incredibly robust and even those pesticides that claim to kill spider mite eggs are often not reliable.

It is wise to reapply the pesticide 3-4 times with about 3 days in-between. This kills the spider mites as they emerge from the eggs and before they can reach adulthood and start laying eggs of their own.

Aphids

Aphids include greenfly and blackfly but they come in a variety of colours.

Like spider mites, aphids feed by puncturing the leaf and sucking out the sap.

This usually leads to yellowing leaves and stunted shoots. However, they also produce a sticky substance called honeydew. Often fungi will grow on the honeydew which creates more damage.

Unfortunately, some aphids have built up a resistance to many pesticides which sometimes makes them difficult to get rid of. However, Plant Magic Bugicide, which uses a physical mode of action, is reported to be effective.

Also, Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide should be effective because it contains a blend of 4 of the most powerful insecticidal essential oils - clove, cinnamon, rosemary and thyme. Insects hate it! That’s why Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide can be used as a preventative because insects are repelled by those essential oils and don’t want to go anywhere near it. The only thing we would say is it is very strong and may be too much for some plants. We would recommend using it at quarter strength or even lower. Always do a patch test before spraying the whole plant

Whitefly

Whitefly are not aphids but they are very similar except for being white and slightly smaller. However, they breed like crazy! They feed the in the same way as spider mites and aphids, and the damage they cause is similar. They too produce the sticky substance called honeydew which can attract fungal infections as well.

Control of whitefly is the same as for aphids – Plant Magic Bugicide or Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide should do the trick. With Ed Rosenthal's Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide we would say is it is very strong and may be too much for some plants. We would recommend using it at quarter strength or even lower. Always do a patch test before spraying the whole plant.

Thrips

Like the other pests mentioned in this blog, thrips are tiny insects that feed by puncturing plant leaves and then sucking out the juice. They have wings so that they can fly.

They are only about 1mm long and very slender and can look like tiny slivers on the plants. Like most of these pests, you will definitely need magnification to identify them.

The damage they cause by feeding is usually stunted growth and reduced yields. Leaf damage often looks like thin, beige to brown streaks on the leaves.

Unfortunately, the problems they can cause does not end there. Thrips, along with aphids can carry plant viruses which they transmit to plants when they bite into plant tissue, most notably the tobacco mosaic virus which, as its name suggests, causes a mottled "mosaic" pattern on plant leaves.

Thrips become active during early spring. Eggs, which are embedded in plant tissue, hatch out and the nyphs become adults about a couple of weeks later. Adult thrips live for around a month.

Control of thrips is the same as for aphids – Plant Magic Bugicide or Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide should do the trick. With Ed Rosenthal's Zero Tolerance Herbal Pesticide we would say is it is very strong and may be too much for some plants. We would recommend using it at quarter strength or even lower. Always do a patch test before spraying the whole plant.