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How can I control pests outdoors?

Effective Strategies for Controlling Outdoor Cannabis Pests​

Cannabis is a lucrative and rewarding crop that can be grown successfully outdoors. However, outdoor grow conditions can expose your plants to a variety of pests, which can lead to enormous losses and reduced yields. These pests can attack plants in different ways, from chewing leaves and stems to burrowing into the soil and roots. Therefore, it's critical for growers to have effective pest control strategies to defend against these threats and ensure maximum yields. In this article, we discuss the most common outdoor cannabis pests and techniques you can use to prevent or control their infestations.

Common Outdoor Cannabis Pests​

1. Spider Mites​

Spider mites are a common and frustrating pest for cannabis growers. These tiny bugs can be difficult to detect due to their size, but their presence can severely damage plants by puncturing leaf cells and withdrawing the sap. They are known to cause yellowing, curling, and browning of leaves, resulting in decreased photosynthesis and stunted growth.

Spider mites thrive in dry and warm conditions, making them particularly troublesome in outdoor grows during hot and dry seasons. To prevent spider mite infestations, you can apply preventive or curative measures, such as introducing predatory mites or spray neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrin.

2. Caterpillars​

Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies that chew cannabis plant leaves, leaving large holes and causing significant damage. They can also bore into the stems and lay destructive eggs at the base of the plant.

To control caterpillar infestations in outdoor cannabis crops, use organic sprays such as Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) or spinosad. These treatments target the caterpillars without harming beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.

3. Aphids​

Aphids are pesky insects that feed on cannabis plants by sucking on the sap and love the tender growth of young plants. They cause leaves to curl, yellow, and wilt, leaving behind a sticky residue called honeydew that promotes the growth of mold. Aphid populations in outdoor cannabis can increase rapidly, making it necessary to control them early before they cause significant damage.

To control aphids, introduce predators like ladybugs, lacewings, or hoverflies that prey on and eat aphids. You can also use various organic sprays, such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrum.

4. Whiteflies​

Whiteflies are tiny, white-winged insects that are common in outdoor cannabis plants. They feed on the plant's sap, causing yellowing, wilting, and leaf drop, leading to reduced yield. They can also transmit viruses from one plant to another, making it necessary to control infestations quickly.

To control whiteflies, apply organic sprays such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrum. You can also remove infested plant parts and use yellow sticky traps to trap the adult whiteflies.

5. Cutworms​

Cutworms are moth larvae that feed on cannabis plant leaves and can cut stems of young plants at ground level. They are primarily active at night, making it difficult to detect early infestations. Cutworms like to hide under debris, so keeping garden areas weed-free can reduce their presence.

To control cutworms, use organic sprays such as BT or spinosad. You can also use collars around the stems of young plants or apply diatomaceous earth around the plant beds.

Preventative Measures​

The best course of defense against pests in outdoor cannabis crops is prevention. By taking necessary preventive measures, you can minimize the likelihood of pest infestations. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

1. Choose pest-resistant cannabis strains​

Choosing cannabis strains that are pest-resistant can help reduce the chances of infestation. Resistant strains usually have natural chemicals that deter pests, such as terpenes that repel aphids or pyrethrum that repels spider mites.

2. Site Selection​

Selecting a suitable site for outdoor cannabis is crucial in preventing pest attacks. The site should not have standing water, should be well-drained, and have good air circulation to reduce moisture levels that attract pests such as spider mites.

3. Crop Rotation​

Having a rotation schedule to grow different plant types in the same area can help reduce pest buildup in soil, which can help keep pests at bay.

4. Scout regularly for pests​

Scouting for pests at least once a week can help detect infestations early enough and allow for quick action to reduce pest impact. Check the tops and bottoms of leaves for eggs, larvae, or insects, as well as stem damage.


Effective pest control is essential in ensuring healthy cannabis crops and maximum yields. Outdoor cannabis growers have several options when it comes to managing pest infestations, including preventive measures and curative treatments. By knowing the most common cannabis pests and control measures, you can protect your investment and prevent possible crop loss. Remember, the earlier the detection of pests, the more successful the control measures will be. It's always best to invest heavily in proactive pest control to prevent infestations before they happen.
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