You’re Growing and You Have Pests. Now What?
Indoor growing definitely lowers the chances of your plants being taken over by pests. Not only are you removing uncontrollable environmental factors like wind and rain, but your plants are also generally stronger and healthier because you can directly provide them with the proper amount of nutrients.
You’re also automatically eliminating potential predators when you grow indoors. Keeping your plants covered is also encouraged, and that’s why grow boxes are so great – there’s no need for makeshift covers with awkwardly poked holes.
Unfortunately, plants grown indoors aren’t immune to pests. That being said, it’s still a lot easier to manage them because you’re in full control of the environment As a rule of thumb, prevention is always the best method. There’s no sure-fire method to get rid of an infestation, other than getting rid of your plants. And you don’t want to risk that!
Be good to your plants
Your plants are literally delicate little flowers and they’re highly sensitive to their surroundings. Tiny things that you don’t care about, like a rise or drop in temperature by a few degrees, can stress them out. Stressed out plants will release a specific type of defense hormones which – ironically – attract bugs and fungus.
Disinfect your growing area
While pests hate things like wind and rain, they also love moist environments. This means that they love their hydroponics. Protected from unfavorable outdoor climates, they have the option of just hanging out around your plants, making your plants their home.
So, what’s the first thing that you can do to prevent this? Keep your grow space clean. Sterile clean. No living thing – other than your plants and yourself – should be able to survive in your growing environment. After planting, make sure that every time you re-enter the growing space and are able to handle your plants, you wash your hands with soap.
You should also make sure you aren’t carrying any pests in your sleeve cuffs, behind your ears, or tucked underneath your snapback. It may be a good idea to clean the clothing that you usually work in every week or so. On that note, regularly disinfect any tools you use to grow.
Remove any dead plants
Plants die. Sometimes they just don’t make it despite your best efforts. And that’s okay.
The best thing you can do is remove the dead plant right away. Remove dead leaves and plant debris. Dead things rot. Rotting things will infect your healthy plants. To play it super safe, dispose those dead plants elsewhere.
Fight back against pests
If you manage to locate where the bugs are coming from, you can introduce foliar feeding. Instead of adding the nutrients to the water, apply liquid fertilizer directly to their leaves. It’ll irritate the pests, and slow down outbreaks. You can also try placing predatory bugs to your plants. These bugs eat up the bugs you don’t want.
Before you carry out your plan of attack, however, you should make sure that you know what type of bugs you’re dealing with. Pay attention to the details. The most common types are aphids, scales, whiteflies, mealy bugs, and mites. How many bugs are there? How many of your plants are infested? How big is the area of infestation? The more you know, the better you can fix it.
For example, say your plants are infested with spider mites. They leave a web-like residue that encases your plants. They also have exoskeletons that soak up things through their pores so spraying them is an effective solution. Try cooking down habanero peppers into a liquid and spray that on your plants (with protective gear, because it can really sting your eyes) to naturally and inexpensively kill the spider mites.
Now, that method may not work on every type of pest. But figuring out which you’re trying to get rid of, and you’ll be well on your way getting rid of them.
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As a rule of thumb, prevention is always the best method.