These lovable little hive-minds cause problems with marijuana plants by creating nests in the substrate medium. This can damage the root system – stunting growth, delaying flower production, and putting all your hard work to waste.
When pests attack the plants, they often leave visible signs which help us figure out which critter is responsible. In the case of an ant infestation, one indicator is the presence of aphids and whiteflies, as well as mealybugs. This has a unique ecological benefit for both the ants and the aphids or white flies. The ants themselves won’t do much direct harm to your plants. Although they don’t directly injure your marijuana plants, they can indirectly cause problems within your garden. The mounds of soil they create for their home can negatively impact your plants’ taking in of nutrients and water, and it can reduce the quality of the soil itself. This will be bad news for the roots of your marijuana plants.
Aphids take the juice out of the marijuana plants and formulate the sugars into a “honeydew.” The ants will then squeeze the aphids to harvest the honeydew. At the same time, the ants are very protective of the aphids and they ward off any predators. Just by looking at it, you might think the ants are really “everywhere,” but, if you follow their trails, you’ll notice that only one or two spots are really being colonized. It is vital to the health of your marijuana plants that these ants be eliminated. You can do this in a number of ways that don’t involve the use of poisons.
Marijuana plant symptoms:
– Presence of aphids
– Presence of white flies
– Earthy mounds around your plants
– Ants crawling on plants
– Plant dehydration (pale and drooping plants)
How To Get Rid Of Ants:
Insects will not up and go away without treatment, and they will be back without preventive care. So, if you want quality and purity in your cannabis crop, you must learn how to get rid of ants and other insects in your grow room.
As a general rule of thumb, if you spot ants in your grow room that are not an intentional part of a managed indoor ecosystem, it’s best to take action. If an ant colony has taken up residence in your grow room, don’t panic. There are a few natural things you can do to prevent infestation and keep ants from getting out of hand. Here are a few ant management tricks. When removing bugs, you want to keep harsh chemicals and pesticides away from your plants.
- Organic is always the best way– and so we use ordinary household cinnamon. Look closely at your soil or potting medium. With any luck the ant infestation hasn’t gotten too far and they’re only beginning to colonise just one or two spots. Take a tablespoon full of powdered cinnamon and dump it on the soil, where the ants are building. The strong flavour of the cinnamon should be enough to scare off any ants that were thinking about colonising your plants.
- Diatomaceous earth is amazing. Not only is it safe to use on pets and around the house for flea management, but it also can kill ants without harming your plants. Diatomaceous earth is made from crushed, fossilized diatoms. Under a microscope, the powdery stuff looks as sharp and jagged as glass.
- Insecticidal Oils use natural oils from peppermint, rosemary, and NON-GMO soybeans. Sprayed on your plants according to directions, the oils kill on contact. Because these oils naturally contain terpenes and terpenoids, they confuse and repel insects with their neurotransmitter disrupting properties. It’s sort of like fighting fire with fire.
- Neem oil is a fantastic natural insecticide and can be sprayed directly onto your plants, working immediently. This essential oil doesn’t just ward of ants either, defending your precious plants from pretty much all kinds of critters, from gnats to spider mites.
- Use other beneficial insects. Earthworms are excellent aerators and can keep your soil nice and tilled, limiting the need for ants. Earthworms also excrete expensive worm castings, which are basically pockets of beneficial nitrogen. Ladybugs and praying mantises are frequently used in grow rooms, as these predatory bugs eat aphids, excrete nutrients into the soil, and keep harmful pests to a minimum. Nematodes are microscopic, predatory organisms that can be found in healthy compost made from leaf litter and other organic matter.
If you’re just looking to keep ants away from your marijuana garden, create a perimeter composed of diatomaceous earth and cinnamon powder with an inch-wide barrier. If aphids are still present, make sure you treat them as well. You can also ask your local gardening center for other products.
[Updated, originally published 22.3.2017]
- Give your plants the best start, by purchasing seeds from our Zenpype seed store. We ship worldwide. If the order doesn’t get to you, then you can get new seeds free of charge.