Caterpillars are one of the most destructive pests that marijuana growers struggle with daily.
These tiny, destructive pests can devour a small area filled with marijuana plants in days. So when your harvest is at stake, it is essential to learn how to get rid of caterpillars as quickly and efficiently as possible.
While experienced marijuana growers may argue that it is not challenging to eliminate caterpillars and other pests, in your grow area, amateur growers may still need some information on how best to get rid of pests effectively.
Read on to learn simple and effective ways to keep caterpillars off your cannabis plants. First, look at what a caterpillar is and learn how to handle this hungry pest that will destroy your weed farm.
What is a caterpillar?
Caterpillars are insects in their larval stage. They are not yet mature. You can find caterpillars in butterfly and moth species; scientists believe you can get over 175,000 species worldwide.
In its larval stage, a caterpillar is perhaps the most devastating creature in the butterfly and moth family. Although small and not yet mature, a caterpillar can measure between 1mm and 15 centimeters.
Most of the caterpillars in the world today are herbivorous, meaning they feed on greens or herbs. However, you can find a minority that is either carnivorous or cannibalistic.
Considering their specific anatomy, it is easy to tell the difference between caterpillars and their larval counterparts from other species. Some of the features that distinguish caterpillars are:
- 12 simple eyes (stemmata).
- Five pairs of legs at maximum.
- They have V or Y-shaped lines on the front of the body.
- Finally, they have crochets and limbs that make it easy for caterpillars to climb on their prey without difficulty.
It is difficult to spot a caterpillar in your weed garden, but you will notice a significant change when these insects invade your crops. They are known to cause massive destruction within a few days and, unless you do something, can quickly destroy all of your plants.
Luckily, you are not without help. Learning how to keep caterpillars off your weed plants is more accessible now. However, before you learn how to prevent caterpillars on weed plants, you must recognize if caterpillars have invaded your plants.
How to tell caterpillars have infested your cannabis
A caterpillar invasion of your cannabis can occur in several ways; learning how to recognize them is essential. To recognize them, you must look for small and subtle signs to be significant and noticeable. Some leaves have been chewed on, or it can be as destructive as the complete devastation of your leaves, buds, and branches. However, if left undealt with, the pests may show up, and they can eventually destroy your entire marijuana growth.
There are a few early signs to keep an eye out for. Some of the noticeable features of caterpillar invasion include:
Chewed leaves and flowers
The first thing you will likely see if there is a caterpillar invasion is holes in the leaves. As mentioned, caterpillars are herbivorous and devour any green matter quickly. Leaves are the first signs. Apart from the leaves, caterpillars will burrow deep inside the marijuana buds. Caterpillars target fresh buds, resulting in a wilting bud and crop in general.
After a few days of caterpillar invasion, your plants will start to show yellow leaves. In most cases, this happens after some damage has been done to the stem and the roots.
Caterpillars have no manners at all. They chew your weed leaves with no regular pattern at all. The holes may be tiny; some measure a few millimeters, while others measure up to a few centimeters without following any specific pattern.
The worst havoc is caused when the caterpillars eat the stems. These insects start by digging holes into the stem to devour the materials in the marijuana stalk. If left untreated, the stalk will fall in no time, which would be the end of that marijuana stalk.
Ingenious ways on how to get rid of caterpillars on marijuana plants
Once you’ve noticed the infestation of caterpillars in your marijuana, you need to act fast lest they devastate the crop. So what can you do to get rid of these insects from your cannabis? This part will explore four proven ways to eliminate caterpillars on weed plants.
1. Remove them physically
Are you wondering if it is possible to physically remove caterpillars from your farm? While it would be difficult, if not impossible, to do so on large parcels of land, those growing on smaller plots may be able to remove the caterpillars by hand. Once you spot the caterpillar, you remove it and kill it. This method requires a lot of time and observation. You will need to keep a constant eye on your crops.
2. Use bacterial sprays
Bacterial sprays that contain certain pesticides are very effective in annihilating caterpillars. If you choose this as your preferred method, you need to find a spray pump and use it as directed on the pesticide label. Make sure you find a spray that will not harm humans. Also, keep in mind that these may kill beneficial insects also. You should not apply pesticides when you are nearing harvest time.
3. Depend on praying mantises
Praying mantises may appear to be pests, but they are very good at eliminating caterpillars. These creatures wait patiently for anything that may invade your crops, and the moment they spot caterpillars, praying mantises to turn these devastating caterpillars into their next meal.
4. Count on parasitic wasps
Another insect that will work at controlling caterpillars on your behalf is a parasitic wasp. This army of parasitic wasps knows what they want in caterpillars – they kill caterpillars, and some use the bodies of caterpillars to lay and hatch their eggs. If you can get the ecosystem to do your work for you, then that makes your job so much easier.
It would be best if you were not overly anxious when caterpillars invade your cannabis. If you can pick them up manually, do it. But if you have a massive parcel of land where you’ve put your cannabis, apply other methods, especially bacterial sprays. Otherwise, for small portions, wasps and praying mantises can do the job for you and save you a lot of time and resources. The best way to take care of a caterpillar invasion on your cannabis is to act quickly!