Agriculture & Cultivation

Introduction to Integrated Pest Management in Cannabis Cultivation

August 31, 2017 / By 3C Team

Cannabis cultivation, like any agricultural pursuit, requires strict attention to pest management. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is preferable because it utilizes resources more efficiently and minimizes or eliminates the use of pesticides. Therefore using IPM techniques results in a safer product for the consumer. IPM is also important because it is an ecosystem based strategy with long-term goals, as opposed to other strategies that are more focused on short-term goals and maximizing speed over quality.

Integrated Pest Management in Cannabis Cultivation is most often utilized in controllable environments such as greenhouses. It involves closely monitoring for pests (i.e. any organism that could potentially damage the cannabis crop) and taking the most logical steps to eliminate the pest.

Using Integrated Pest Management for Cannabis Cultivation

Integrated Pest Management includes:

  • Identifying the pest organism(s)
  • Knowing the pests’ life cycles
  • Treating to take advantage of those life cycles

Treatment under IPM ranges from biological to cultural to mechanical to chemical. Biological control might involve the introduction of the pests’ natural predator. It might involve the introduction of sterile males into the system at the right point in the life cycle that they can mate with females yet produce no offspring.

Mechanical control in IPM might involve actually hand picking the pests from the plants or setting up traps to capture them. Cultural control might include modifying the habitat itself in order to make it less conducive to the pests. Cultural control might, for example, involve improving airflow through a crop and lowering humidity. It might include modifying irrigation schedules or other approaches that make the environment not as attractive to the pest organism(s) in question. It is essential to plan for cultural control procedures in the initial stages of grow facility design. A sick building leads to sick plants and retrofitting solutions can be costly and potentially ineffective.

Pesticides in IPM cannabis cultivation are regarded as a last measure and, when used, are often complemented by other methods of control noted previously. Under IMP pesticide use is intentionally restricted in application to times when it is most effective. A pest organism might, for example, be more susceptible to a certain pesticide at a certain period in their life cycle but not susceptible at all during other periods.

In conclusion, effectively managing a cannabis crop means knowing the system from top to bottom. That knowledge will enable you to increase production and decrease your operational costs. Ultimately, this will result in the consumer receiving a safer product.

Do you need help developing IPM procedures for your cannabis cultivation facility?

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