How to Get Rid of Thrips on Cannabis Plants

How to Get Rid of Thrips on Cannabis Plants

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Thrips are a common threat to cannabis growers, inflicting thrips damage that can significantly reduce the overall yield. As a cultivator, understanding how to get rid of thrips is crucial to safeguard your valuable crop. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most effective thrips treatment and thrips control strategies, using natural and organic methods that are safe for both the plants and the environment to prevent thrips.

What are Thrips?​

Thrips, often referred to as thrip bugs or thrips bugs, are small, winged insects from the Thysanoptera order, boasting over 6,000 known species. Measuring between 1-1.5mm in length, these plant thrips are challenging to spot with the naked eye. The most prevalent species attacking cannabis plants is the Frankliniella occidentalis, also known as the western flower thrips. These minuscule insects feed on plant sap, causing damage to leaves, stems, and flowers.

Thrips Life Cycle​

Thrips have a brief life cycle, with adults surviving for approximately 30 days. During this period, a female can deposit between 80 and 300 eggs within plant tissues. These eggs hatch within a few days, and the larvae descend to the soil, where they consume organic matter and occasionally attack plant roots. After pupating, they emerge as adult thrips and continue the cycle.

Identifying Thrips on Cannabis Plants​

To effectively combat thrips, you must first learn how to identify their presence on your cannabis plants. Here are some key signs of thrip damage on leaves to look for:

  • Small, silver or white stains on leaf surfaces, indicating feeding and egg-laying activity.
  • Tiny black dots on leaves, which are thrip feces.
  • Leaves becoming brittle, withering, or dying.
  • Slow, deformed new growth.
In addition, you can use yellow or blue sticky traps placed near your plants to catch adult thrips and monitor their presence in your grow area.

Preventing Thrips in Cannabis Crops​

Prevention is always superior to cure, and there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of a thrip infestation in your cannabis crop. Knowing how to get rid of thrips and implementing measures to prevent thrips can save your crop from significant damage.

Indoor Growing Spaces​

For indoor growers, maintaining a clean and sanitized grow area is crucial to thrips control. Remove any dead plant material and ensure your grow space is free from debris. Installing insect adhesive strips can also help catch adult thrips before they lay eggs, contributing to how to get rid of thrips.

Outdoor Growing Spaces​

For outdoor cannabis plants, knowing how to get rid of thrips is crucial. One effective method is to remove weeds and plant debris from around your plants, which can help deter thrips. Changing the substrate between crops and introducing beneficial insects, such as Amblyseius swirskii, can also prevent thrip infestations, contributing to thrips control.

Natural and Organic Thrip Control Methods​

Using chemical insecticides for thrips may harm your plants and pose risks to your health when consumed. Instead, consider these natural and organic methods to safely and effectively eliminate thrips from your cannabis plants, providing a healthier approach to thrips control.

Neem Oil​

Neem oil is a popular organic pesticide that can help control thrips. If you're wondering how to kill thrips, try mixing neem oil with water and spraying it on your plants. This disrupts the feeding and breeding patterns of thrips, preventing them from causing further damage and effectively killing thrips.

Potassium Soap​

Potassium soap is another natural option for controlling thrips and an effective way on how to get rid of thrips. The fatty acids in potassium soap break down the exoskeleton of thrips, causing them to dehydrate and die. Simply mix potassium soap with water and spray it onto the affected areas of your plants.


Pyrethrin is an organic compound derived from chrysanthemum flowers that is effective against thrips and can help you learn how to get rid of thrips. Use pyrethrin sparingly, as it can be toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. Apply it to your plants according to the product instructions for the best results.


Spinosad is an organic pesticide made from the fermentation of certain soil bacteria. It is safe for use on cannabis plants, as well as pets and children. Spinosad can be used as a topical spray or applied to the plant roots to target thrips in the soil, making it an effective solution on how to get rid of thrips.

Beneficial Insects​

Introducing beneficial insects, such as green lacewing larvae, ladybugs, pirate bugs, and predatory mites, can help keep thrip populations under control. These insects feed on thrips, preventing them from damaging your cannabis plants and offering a natural solution to manage thrips.

Diatomaceous Earth​

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural powder made from the fossilized remains of phytoplankton. It's a great solution on how to get rid of thrips, as sprinkling DE around the base of your cannabis plants can help kill thrips and prevent further infestations.

Companion Planting​

Companion planting with plants that naturally repel thrips can be an effective preventative measure against these pests. Some plants that are known to deter thrips include:

  • Garlic
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Chives
  • Catnip
  • Basil
By integrating these plants into your cannabis garden, you can help protect your crop from thrips and other pests, enhancing your defense against these invaders.

Dealing with Soil-Dwelling Thrips​

Thrips can also live in the soil, particularly during their larval stage. To eliminate thrips in the soil and understand how to get rid of thrips, you can use diatomaceous earth or spinosad as mentioned earlier. These treatments can help target thrips at all stages of their life cycle, ensuring a more effective control strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions​

Does neem oil kill thrips?​

Yes, neem oil can effectively control and kill thrips when mixed with water and applied to affected plants. It's a practical solution on how to kill thrips.

Are thrips hard to get rid of?​

Thrips can be challenging to eliminate due to their rapid reproduction rate and ability to live in both plant and soil environments. However, using a combination of natural and organic control methods can help break their life cycle and provide a solution on how to get rid of thrips, preventing further infestations.

Will dish soap kill thrips?​

Dish soap containing fatty acids can be used as a DIY insecticidal soap to control thrips. Mixing dish soap with water and applying it to affected plants can help dissolve the exoskeleton of thrips, causing them to dehydrate and die. This is another effective method on how to get rid of thrips.


Thrips, a common pest, can inflict considerable harm on cannabis plants if not properly managed. By comprehending their life cycle and employing preventative strategies, you can reduce the likelihood of an infestation, effectively mastering how to get rid of thrips. Utilizing natural and organic thrips control methods, such as neem oil, potassium soap, and beneficial insects, not only safeguards your plants and the environment but also ensures a healthy, abundant yield.
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