Why I never spray for pests

Thread starter #1

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
In my ragged corner of the continent, we usually have little problem with spider mites in normal summers, but we had a hot & dry one & in came the mites, not only on the cannabis, but just about everything else in the garden, too.

I did my usual, hosing down on plants w/ water, which knocks the bastid mites back a bit & cutting out leaves, but that was barely holding 'em in check this year. For the first time ever, I thought about taking other means, but while I was pondering this while spraying the entire garden down, I noticed that a lot of small, webless leaf spiders had moved in & they almost exclusively feed on mites, plus a few ladybugs & 2 praying mantis had moved in.

In less than 2 days, the mites were gone.

If I'd taken other action, it would have taken out the spiders, ladybugs, and mantis, too.

Why I never spray!
 
Thread starter #3

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
No need to wait for me to get back to you, especially since a russet mite infestation might not ever affect my simple outdoor grows. If that did happen though, I wouldn’t spray, because I’m more committed to maintaining a healthy garden, including insect communities, than I am to overreacting to losing a coupla cannabis plants.

I don’t think russet mite infestation would happen because in 30 yrs of gardening many things, including weed, in many locations in the West, I’ve never had bugs wipe out any of my crops, partially because I don’t do things that’ll knock out beneficial insects, including not only predators, but also pollinators. The approach works.

On the other hand, treating infestations inevitably knocks out mite predators, leading to an endless spiral of infestations & treatments.

To be sure, if there was some sort of relatively benign treatment that only targeted the mites, I’d consider it, but virtually all treatments are broad spectrum & also knock out predatory spiders, wasps. Even diatomaceous earth, which is pretty benign, has broad spectrum effects.

This is not an arcane approach, there’s now companies in OR that provide mite control for commercial ops via the use of natural predators, which can be found quite easily via an internet search.

& though it’s probably heresy here, I wouldn’t be that crushed if I lost a crop. I grow outside with minimal fiscal investment, relying on my own compost & taking care of the soil, so I’m never really out much. Plus, every year, I grow enough for about two years of use, now that it’s legal. But, again, losing a crop to mites or other critters hasn’t ever happened…yet.

I also use other strategies, including not growing the same plants, including weed, in the same plots every year. Well-documented that monoculture contributes to infestation problems. I’ve also found that “companion” plants seem to work quite well (something I was initially quite dubious about before I started doing it decades ago).

We all have our own priorities, but main is trying to maintain/improve the garden ecosystem.

I started growing weed decades ago, because it was the best & cheapest way to get quality product. But over the past decade, I’ve done it so that I’m not party to inflicting unnecessary harm, which lots of grows, including some monocultural agrobiz production certainly do.

As a gardening amigo once told me: “Every garden ends up being a reflection of the gardener.”
 

4Dutchess

Well-Known Member
AndIhelped, great post. I did trash some plants but not soon enough. I also tried to save some. I shouldent of. Ive got enough meds also. Im learning. I wont try to save them from Russets in flower again. The D.Earth is my preventive measure inside and out. A Rosemary spray too. Im sure Ive had a Russet infestation before outside just dident know why the plant was shit. Next year I plan to plant allot of mint outside. My goal today is to keep them from the tent. Ive got one more plant outside that has Russets and Harvest whats left soon. I should of pulled her too. Two of the outdoor plants with Russets had nothing left at harvest and were trashed anyways. The one thats left looks ok. All that work for nothing seems like. However I did make my own ISO wash and its great!! So we did have a ying to the yang. Im building an enclosed green house in November for next year. The Russets also got me good with my scope. I scope messed up leafs from now on inside and out. Get them early.
My trim buddy and his brother say my growing is awesome inside and out. Best theyve seen. They are impressed with the professional tent set up I got going. "A reflection of the grower" I grow great weed!!
Happy Sunday!
 
Thread starter #5

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Happy Sunday 2 U 2, 4Duchess!

Growing can be challenging, but we're all navigating in our own way.

Very sorry to hear 'bout the mite problems, but Qwiso hash is an xlnt salvage approach. I've had to go that route a coupla times due to mold/mildew (once because I completely screwed up the drying curing, very badly!).
Funny you bring up the hash, because last nite I broke out some of last yrs Qwiso hash that I made from trim & it got me very buzzzzzzzzzzzed.

I've got no doubts that you grow great weed. Stay at it & enjoy. Growing's a lot more fun now that it's legal!
 
Thread starter #6

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Next year I plan to plant allot of mint outside.
I've had really good luck with mint as a companion plant for keeping bugs away, but also marigolds, which are a long-time gardening go-to. Rosemary & oregano seem to also be good, as are various hot peppers--jalepenos & serranos seem to work best. Chiles are the only thing in my garden that never get hit by anything, except, godammit, slugs. I can't believe those slimy bastids chomp on my peppers!
 

4Dutchess

Well-Known Member
I've had really good luck with mint as a companion plant for keeping bugs away, but also marigolds, which are a long-time gardening go-to. Rosemary & oregano seem to also be good, as are various hot peppers--jalepenos & serranos seem to work best. Chiles are the only thing in my garden that never get hit by anything, except, godammit, slugs. I can't believe those slimy bastids chomp on my peppers!
Ive also thought of Marigolds. I thought grow all that companion stuff and throw the trash/dead stuff in a bucket as they grow and crush and sprinkle when dry all over. Since Rosemary is going to be my essential oil Im using I wont plant that one. Maybe some peppers. Im going to take pics today of what I got going now. Great Day!!
 
Thread starter #8

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Our invertebrate friends are doing great work in my garden this year. Spent a bit of time y-day, just observing.

There's predatory wasps combing leaves, including their undersides, for mites, a phalanx of multiple species webless ground spiders patrolling the soil surface, and many webless spiders in residence on the plants, plus web spiders setting up shop too.

All but the web spiders are relentless mite munchers.

Watched a wasp carry away a small grasshopper.

Leafmunchers don't have a prayer against this formidable array of insects & spiders.

Plants look great.

Never spray, never will & absolutely no pests, not on my 'maters, peppers, herbs, & weed. Nature's a pretty cheap & very effective hired hand.

Thanks bugs! :goodjob: One of the things I love about outdoor growing!
 
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Thread starter #9

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
One of the volunteer foot soldiers in my garden's army...

Obviously a predator. But while I recognize most predators in my garden, I don't recall seeing one of these.

Anyone know what it is?...@liquidintel you're quite good on insect IDs, so let me know if you're able to key this one out.

I'm stupidly curious (& vice versa) per usual...
 
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Thread starter #10

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
One of the volunteer foot soldiers in my garden's army...

Obviously a predator. But while I recognize most predators in my garden, I don't recall seeing one of these.

Anyone know what it is?...@liquidintel you're quite good on insect IDs, so let me know if you're able to key this one out.

I'm stupidly curious (& vice versa) per usual...
It seems to be this:
Assassin Bug, Family Reduvidae

It is about 1/4 to one inch long, with a cone-shaped head and wide curving beak. They may cause a painful bite to a human if captured. Some species squeak if caught. Females lay single eggs in cracks, under rocks or in other sheltered spots in summer, and new adults emerge around the following June. There is only one generation per year.
Assassin bugs are voracious predators of many garden pests including flies, mosquitoes, beetles and large caterpillars.
Fun fact
Adult and nymph assassin bugs stab their prey with long, pointed "beaks" that are held folded under their bodies while not feeding.
 

I'mOne

Active Member
When my daughter was 5 she came in the house after being outside. She had a very serious look in her face. She said "Mom, never ever mess with an assassin bug!"
 
Thread starter #12

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Found one of these fine friends in my garden today...
One of the reasons that in 3 yrs of growing, I've had absolutely no cannapest probs, even though I never spray, not neem, not soaps, & no DE (which shreds friends as effectively as it does foes).

Though I do occassionally squirt my plants down with water & only that.
 

Oldgrowth

Well-Known Member
Same here Andihalped, my plants are a merciful kingdom left alone to their own devices including the predators like the Assassin Bug that evidenced its displeasure at the trimming disturbance I made of its own "merciful" kingdom. I grow much more than I need for gifting, so short of a locust migration, uncommon in these So. Cal. parts, I can afford to share with some insects but haven't had to yet. Of c course there's the "be careful what you wish for" curse. The GG4 I grew this year did not seem to attract many, brittleness was their main issue, the insects might have stuck to the copious resin like critters in the La Brea Tarpits otherwise, and I could vape em or eat em along with the rest of the nug. I'll also plant White Widow next year and similarly hope for the best.
 

Oldgrowth

Well-Known Member
It seems to be this:
Assassin Bug, Family Reduvidae

It is about 1/4 to one inch long, with a cone-shaped head and wide curving beak. They may cause a painful bite to a human if captured. Some species squeak if caught. Females lay single eggs in cracks, under rocks or in other sheltered spots in summer, and new adults emerge around the following June. There is only one generation per year.
Assassin bugs are voracious predators of many garden pests including flies, mosquitoes, beetles and large caterpillars.
Fun fact
Adult and nymph assassin bugs stab their prey with long, pointed "beaks" that are held folded under their bodies while not feeding.
Watch out for them when trimming. They will pierce a human too.
 
Thread starter #15

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Same here Andihalped, my plants are a merciful kingdom left alone to their own devices including the predators like the Assassin Bug that evidenced its displeasure at the trimming disturbance I made of its own "merciful" kingdom. I grow much more than I need for gifting, so short of a locust migration, uncommon in these So. Cal. parts, I can afford to share with some insects but haven't had to yet. Of c course there's the "be careful what you wish for" curse. The GG4 I grew this year did not seem to attract many, brittleness was their main issue, the insects might have stuck to the copious resin like critters in the La Brea Tarpits otherwise, and I could vape em or eat em along with the rest of the nug. I'll also plant White Widow next year and similarly hope for the best.
Agreed, hermano!

I remain kinda surprised how many growers go into a frenzy at the site of bugs or caterpillars on their grow, and begin the assualt with sprays, powders, etc, most which, even if they're organic, do collateral damage to a host of beneficial of helpful insects and spiders. Sometimes the assault begins without even keying out what the bug is, or if it even poses any real threat to the plant.

Every year, I have a few aphids & leaf -eating leaf hoppers. Not for long, ever though, because they're fodder for the other bugs. As noted in my orig. post, even had mites last year, which grower friends assured required treatment or they'd wipe out my grow. But they were wrong: spiders, wasps, lady bugs & a coupla mantis wiped out all the mites within literally days.

& yeah, the leaves on my grow get chomped on some, but it's certainly no big deal. As you note, there's plenty to go around.
 
Thread starter #16

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Watch out for them when trimming. They will pierce a human too.
Yep, I'm careful when trimming/harvesting. Grabbed a branch with a bald-faced hornet on two years ago when harvesting. It definitely has made me more careful!

And a belated thanks @Liquidintel for the spiny soldier beetle ID in this thread Insect identification
 
Thread starter #18

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Another garden buddy, the “digger” wasp (Scolia Dubia). The photo’s from the web, but I’ve watched these little soldiers take down many leaf munchers in my grow.
Here’s bit more on them: “The digger wasp is one of the more beneficial insects to have at your residence. They are named for the female’s nesting behavior of digging into dry dirt to create a nest for its offspring to grow in.
These non-social burrowing wasps can also fly, and use this as their primary means of hunting for other bugs. Their diet includes grubs that are harmful to the garden plants, making them a potentially useful resource to homeowners.
"
 

Oldgrowth

Well-Known Member
I admire wasps - at a distance usually. 2 days ago I found a tarantula hawk out back, gimpy and unable to fly because of some likely scuffle. As it reflects my own physical status I could not but let it live, give it some chance. I thought the most likely outcome would see its remains traveling down an ant hole the next day. Nope. There was the gimpy tough little wasp carrying on, just flightless. It inspired.
 
Thread starter #20

andIhalped

Well-Known Member
Tarantula hawk's are so cool, one of the largest wasps on the continent!
I'm very familiar w/em having grown up in the Sonoran desert...they have biosynchronous emergence, so if one's around for the hatch it's pretty amazing to see so many in the air at once...of course, that's only possible where there's enough host tarantulas.

I miss the desert, but I don't miss being witness to it's continuing decimation by the most dangerous animal on the planet...the unhairy lying ape (homo destructus)