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How to Deal With Cannabis Pests and Bugs: Identification and Control

Cultivating cannabis can sometimes be challenging, but the endeavor is always rewarding. What do you do when faced with a problem like bugs that eat cannabis invading your garden?

Multiple solutions can help eliminate the infestation, but there are different ways to deal with each type of pest. There are also preventative measures to put into place to protect your fast growing weed seeds from insects.

Are you ready to discover more? Keep reading.

Identifying Common Weed Pests

Cannabis pest identification is the first step in getting rid of the bugs. There are various invaders, and some of them can severely damage your weed crops. Below are the most common ones.


You might have a thrips invasion if you notice small insects with fine hairs. Each bug is roughly a millimeter long, about the thickness of an ID card, with some thrips species having narrow wings. These creepy crawlies are brown, yellow, or black and breed up to 12 times a year.

Why are they a danger to your weed crops?

They consume the sap of plants and lay eggs on the leaves that create small holes. In turn, your crops face a higher risk of bacterial infections, which could kill them. This threat is higher in younger vegetation.

The typical symptoms of a thrips infection are:

  • Plant scars
  • White spots on the foliage
  • Wilted or brittle leaves
  • Stunted growth

One of the easiest ways to confirm an infestation is with sticky traps. Once you verify that you have a thrips issue, take immediate action. Their numbers increase quickly, so it’s best to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Clean your cultivation area and prune any affected leaves. Spray your crops with neem oil or potassium soap.


Are the creepy crawlies on your crops sap suckers? They could be aphids. Noticing these bugs on your plants is one of the most disheartening cannabis pest pictures.

They vary in size and color, but green is the most common. Certain ones are red, black, or white. Aphids have two short antennae and soft, broad bodies. There are over 4,000 species of the bug, but extermination methods for all types are similar.

The impact aphids have on the cannabis plant is twofold. They first suck the crop’s sap, then excrete honeydew which causes black, sooty mold. The bugs reproduce quickly, which further endangers your marijuana’s health.

Steps to get rid of them include:

  • Cleaning the cultivation area
  • Pruning affected leaves
  • Introducing predator bugs
  • Using insecticidal soaps
  • Spraying organic insecticidal soap
  • Applying neem oil

Leaf Miners

These are bugs that eat weed plants. They tunnel their way through the foliage into the tissue of the crops. Leaf miners are insects in the larval stage of their life cycle, and they mature into a variety of species, including:

  • Wasps
  • Beetles
  • Sawflies
  • Moths

During their development phase, they inflict severe damage to cannabis. They nibble on the delicate plant tissue, which is juicier and more filling.

This gnawing weakens your marijuana crops and may even impact their yield. The easiest way to detect an infestation is by inspecting the foliage. White markings that look like brush strokes signify a potential issue.

Effective methods of extermination include using:

  • Predatory bugs
  • Sticky traps
  • Neem oil


Noticing bugs in weed gardens that resemble mini moths might be a whitefly problem. The creatures are typically two millimeters long and consume nutrients from the plants.

These insects can lay up to 400 eggs per week, so populations multiply quickly if left unchecked. The bugs are usually easily identified as they fly around the cannabis plants. Shaking the leaves is another way to determine if these creepy crawlies exist.

Whiteflies consume nutrients from the plant and excrete honeydew, which causes black sooty mold.

Get rid of these pests by:

  • Cleaning your grow room
  • Pruning the foliage
  • Hosing down the crops
  • Applying organic soaps and insecticides
  • Spraying neem oil on the leaves
  • Introducing predatory bugs

Spider Mites

Spider mites are common insects affecting weed plants, but getting rid of them can be tricky. They suck the crop’s juices, which eventually leads to its death.

These creatures are tiny and come in different colors. They thrive in hot environments and typically reside on the underside of leaves.

The insects leave small teeth marks on the foliage, but this evidence requires microscopic confirmation. Another symptom is silvery blades.

Methods of exterminating spider mites include:

  • Spraying the foliage with soapy water
  • Applying a neem oil solution
  • Using an insecticide like spinosad
  • Spreading essential oils like rosemary or cinnamon
  • Wiping down the leaves with a rubbing alcohol solution


When you see a bug on a weed plant, it’s easy to dismiss it. Ants are harmful in homes and gardens. They’re not initially problematic, but over time they make nests in your soil, damage cannabis root systems, and affect bud production.

The insects also farm with aphids, putting your crops at risk for mold. Signs of an ant infestation include:

  • More ants than usual in your grow area
  • Pale plants that droop
  • Infestations of whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids

There are multiple ways to eliminate an ant colony in your garden. Natural options include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cornmeal
  • Coffee
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Neem oil
  • Insecticidal soap

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats and fruit flies look similar. They’re small and dark and typically jump around on the soil in your garden.

These insects target the roots of your marijuana plants as they live in the substrate, and the larvae feed off it. They pose a more significant risk to young crops.

Fungus gnats appear during significantly moist conditions. Symptoms of an infestation include:

  • Damaged roots
  • Noticing tiny insects on the soil
  • Pale leaves with brown edges
  • White grubs in your substrate
  • Stunted growth
  • Leaf discoloration
  • Weak seedlings
  • Wilting

Eliminating fungus gnats is possible when you implement the following steps:

  • Water your crops less frequently
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your soil
  • Use a fan to blow air over your substrate
  • Place sticky traps around your crops
  • Apply neem oil

Keep the Bugs off Your Buds

The best way to keep your marijuana plants safe from pest infestations is by creating a healthy cultivation environment. Keep the temperatures moderate, and avoid high humidity levels. Regular pruning is essential, and observe your cannabis plants for any changes.

Good airflow and a clean environment also minimize the risk of bugs that eat cannabis. Take preventative measures and keep your crops clear of unwanted creepy crawlies.

Jennifer Gallagher

Jennifer Gallagher, an experienced cannabis grower at SeedSupreme Seedbank. During a 7-year career in the marijuana growing business, Jennifer has gained a high competence in this field. As far as weed is concerned, she knows it all inside out. Jennifer is an expert in pot-growing, as well as cannabis types and their effects. She’s also familiar with all legislation nuances.


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