Aphids in Cannabis threaten yields and in some cases require the grower to destroy a crop. They are by no means a new problem, but they create a unique set of challenges due to the limited research of control techniques in Cannabis and the limited tools available to growers. We can overcome some of these challenges with a deeper understanding of pest biology, broader acceptance of cannabis as a significant economic crop and collaboration between growers to find and disseminate accurate and usable information.
As the grower will discover, biocontrol is not as simple as ‘this insect eats this pest.’ It requires careful monitoring, employee buy-in and the integration of mechanical, physical, cultural, and sometimes chemical control methods. Each aphid species could be discussed for the duration of the show, so to limit the scope of this talk we will focus on their biology, the biology of their natural enemies and methods that we have observed to help manage these important pests.
Our goal is to help the grower become acquainted with the pests and their natural enemies so that they are empowered to make decisions that are helpful for their crop in their conditions. We know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to managing aphids so we hope that some of the tools presented here will help the grower make effective management decisions. As is the case with many crops, an integrated approach will help reduce economic loss while increasing yields and minimizing the need for chemicals that pose a threat to human health and the environment.