Get to know the types of pests that can possibly infect your indoor garden.
Aside from light burn, pests are another pet peeve of indoor growers. That is why they do everything possible to keep these insects out of their grow tents. Prevention is key, of course, but there might be instances when it gets out of hand, and an infestation starts. Pests usually get into your grow tent by transfer — this could be via the tools you are using or even your clothes. That is why you should wear a set of clothes specifically for gardening time, wear gloves which you should dispose of after, and disinfect any tools you are going to bring inside your grow room. However, when you think an infestation indeed has started, eliminate immediately, as it’s much easier too in the early stages. Check the leaves for patchy discoloration and damage, as well as the insects, their larvae, eggs, and even feces.
Here are the five common types of pests the usually invade a grow tent:
These small sap-sucking pests travel by transfer. They have soft bodies and can be black, brown, green, pink, or white. Although the common ones are the green and black aphids. They invade by biting the leaves and sucking the sap out. The result is holes that turn brown and leave a silvery track. They start sucking from the roots so always check them as well. Aphids can easily spread plant disease from plant to plant and kill your crops easily. Add a top dressing on your grow medium like stones or pebbles as prevention.
These pests are small, dark flies that have short lives; they only live an average of 28 days, but lay hundreds of eggs. Their relatively large wings make them good flyers and just like the aphids, they first attack the roots. These gnats can easily pass on plant diseases which can kill your plant in just several days. In the case of infestation, add a top dressing of decorative pebbles or sand, which will prevent the eggs to get to the medium. You can also place sticky pads near the plants; hang them from your LED grow lights or put them directly above the soil to catch the flying ones.
Spider mites are less than a millimeter in size, lay white/transparent eggs on the underside of the leaves, and travel by transfer. Most of the species spin silk webs which protect their colony from the predators, earning them the “spider” in their name. These pests are responsible for tiny brown spots on the leaves of the plant. Spider mites thrive in a dry climate, so one effective way to slow down their infestation is by having high humidity in your grow area.
These pests are small, have slender bodies, and can be brown or yellow. Some of these thrips can fly, while those that can’t are jumpers, and travel by transfer. They puncture the sap of leaves from the topside, they release a digestive enzyme to break down leaf cells so they can suck the sap. One indication of an infestation is a silvery and sometimes bronze trail making the leaves look scabbed. Dark specks on the leaves and fruits are the pest’s feces. One way to stop the infestation is to use sticky pads and place them surrounding your plants.
Lastly, we have the white flies. These airborne insects look like small moths and well, are white. They are just a millimeter in size and are relatives of the aphids. The feed on the undersides of the leaves by biting the leaf and sucking the sap. These then make the leaves look lifeless and spotty. Because they travel by flight, sticky pads are the answer. Gently shaking the plant to cause them to fly off your plant can be a good way to catch them with the pads. As for the young white flies that couldn’t fly yet, spray the underside of your plants’ leaves with neem oil.
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