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caterpillars on cannabis

How To Get Rid Of Caterpillars On Weed Plants

Marijuana Grower

Caterpillars are one of the worst problems marijuana growers need to struggle with on a daily basis. These small yet destructive pests can devour a small area filled with marijuana plants in a matter of days. Because your weed harvest is at stake, it is important to learn how to get rid of caterpillars on cannabis the easiest way possible.

While experienced weed growers would argue that it is not a hard thing to eradicate caterpillars and other harmful insects from a weed yard, amateur marijuana growers are still in the search for amicable answers on how to keep caterpillars off weed plants effectively.

Nonetheless, I have done a lot of research on how to prevent caterpillars on weed plants and how to get rid of caterpillars on weed plants completely. For that reason, I urge you to keep reading to see for yourself the simple and effective ways on how to get rid of caterpillars on marijuana plants.

Before we learn how to get rid of caterpillars on cannabis, it is important to know what a caterpillar is. That way, it will be easy to learn how to handle the enemy that is likely to destroy your weed plantation.

What is A Caterpillar?

Caterpillars are insects in their larval stage. They are not yet mature. You can find caterpillars in butterfly and moth species and scientists believe you can get over 175,000 different species across the world.

At larva stage, a caterpillar is perhaps the most devastating creature in the butterfly and moth family. Although small and not yet mature, a caterpillar can measure anywhere between 1mm and 15 centimeters.

A majority of the caterpillars in the world today are herbivorous, meaning they purely feed on greens or herbs. However, you can find a minority is either carnivorous or cannibalistic.

Considering their specific anatomy, it is easy to tell the difference between caterpillars and their larval counterparts from other species. Some of the features that distinguish caterpillars are:

12 simple eyes (stemmata).

5 pair of legs at maximum.

They have V or Y-shaped lines on the front cleavage.

They have crochets/limbs that make it easy for caterpillars to climb on their prey without difficulty.

It is not easy to see a caterpillar on your weed plantation but you will definitely notice a big change the moment these insects invade your crops. They are known to cause massive destruction within a few days and unless you do something, soon they will clear the whole plantation.

Interestingly, you are not without help. Now than any other time in history, you can learn how to keep caterpillars off weed plants. However, even before you learn how to prevent caterpillars on weed plants, you must know if caterpillars have invaded your plants.

How To Tell Caterpillars Have Infested Your Cannabis

Caterpillar invasion can come in several ways, ranging from small subtle signs to big and noticeable features such as complete devastation of leaves, buds and branches. Whatever the way these creatures may show up, if let without any control measures, caterpillars will sweep away everything from your marijuana plantation.

Nonetheless, when they come, you will notice a few things quickly. Some of the noticeable features of caterpillar invasion include:

Chewed flowers – the first thing you are likely to see if there is a caterpillar invasion is holes on leaves. As mentioned, caterpillars are herbivorous thus they devour any green matter fast. Leaves are the first culprits. Apart from the leaves, caterpillars will burrow deep inside the marijuana buds. In fact, caterpillars target fresh buds and the result is a wilting bud and crop in general.

Leaf yellowing – after a few days of caterpillar invasion, your plants will start to yellow their leaves. In most cases, this happens after some damage has been done of the stem and or the roots.

Irregular holes – caterpillars have no manners at all. They chop your weed leaves with no regular pattern at all. The chomped holes may be tiny, even some measuring a few millimeter while others measure up to a few centimeters without following any specific pattern.

Stem damage – the worst havoc is when the caterpillars eat up the stem. These insects start by digging holes into the stem to usurp the ingredients in the marijuana stalk. If left without guard, the stalk will fall within no time and that would be the end to that marijuana stalk.

Ingenious Ways On How To Get Rid Of Caterpillars On Marijuana Plants

Once you’ve noticed the infestation of caterpillars in your marijuana, you need to act fast, lest, they will devastate the crop. What can you do to get rid of these insects from your cannabis? This part will explore on the four proven ways on how to get rid of caterpillars on weed plants.

1. Remove Them Physically

Are you wondering if it is possible to remove caterpillars from your farm physically? While it may not be possible to do so on large parcels of land, those growing marijuana on small parcels will not find it a problem to remove caterpillars physically.

You see, it is easy to spot a caterpillar using your naked eye. Remove it and kill it the moment you spot it.

2. Use Bacterial Sprays

Bacterial sprays that contain pesticides are the best in annihilating caterpillars. If you choose this as your preferred method, you need to find a spray pump and use it as directed on the pesticide label.

PS. You should not apply pesticides when you are nearing harvest time for this may pose irreversible danger on the people who will smoke the marijuana thereafter.

3. Depend on Praying Mantises

Praying mantises may appear to be other pests but they are good in eliminating caterpillars. These creatures wait patiently for anything that may invade your crops and the moment they spot caterpillars, praying mantises turn these devastating caterpillars into their delicacy.

4. Count on Parasitic Wasps

Another army that will work on the caterpillars on your behalf is a contingent parasitic wasps. This army of parasitic wasps knows what they want in caterpillars – they kill caterpillars and use the bodies of caterpillars to lay and hatch their eyes. Yes, you don’t need to worry or a lot when the ecosystem has its own ways of dealing with its problems such as the invasion of caterpillars on your cannabis.

Bottom Line

You should not be overly anxious when caterpillars invade your cannabis. If you are able to pick them manually, do it. But if you have a huge parcel of land where you’ve put your cannabis, then apply other methods especially the use of bacterial sprays. Otherwise, for small portions, wasps and praying mantises can do the job for you and save you a lot of time and resources.

Do you wonder how to get rid of caterpillars on your marijuana plants? We’ll tell you everything! Read our guide on how to get rid of caterpillars on weed plants.

Caterpillars & Inchworms

Stop Caterpillars From Attacking Your Cannabis!

Caterpillars. Argh. Sometimes the first sign of caterpillars / worms / cabbage loopers is just seeing chunks of your leaves missing. You may also see clumps of black/brown “dirt” on your leaves, which is caterpillar poop. Lastly, you may actually catch a caterpillar munching on your leaves. It can be so angering to catch them in the act!

Zebra caterpillar on a cannabis leaf, picture by Whitney Cranshaw of Colorado State University

Saltmarsh caterpillar on cannabis leaf, picture by Whitney Cranshaw of Colorado State University

Another saltmarsh caterpillar on a marijuana leaf, picture by Whitney Cranshaw of Colorado State University (thank you. )

You’ll see chunks of your leaves missing from the caterpillars devouring your leaves

caterpillar leaf damage pic by molpes

Caterpillar Droppings on Leaves

You Actually See Caterpillars, Inchworms or Cabbage Loopers

caterpillar pic by Waterproof

Proven Caterpillar Remedies

  • Caterpillar “BT” Spray (safe biological insecticide) – This biological insecticide contains the bacillus thuringiensis (BT) bacteria which kills larva and prevents caterpillars from being able to eat. This is one of the most effective ways to kill caterpillars, and won’t hurt most beneficial insects. As a bonus, it also kills other cannabis pests like fungus gnats, worms and moths. Apply a caterpillar BT spray as soon as you see leaf damage, caterpillars or caterpillar poop. BT sprays work best on small caterpillars that are actively eating your leaves. Repeat every week for as long as you’re still seeing caterpillars, though you can give BT more often if there’s a heavy infestation. Make sure to thoroughly mist both the tops and bottoms of leaves, and apply again after a heavy rain (since that will wash the BT away). Since BT is harmless to humans, you can use BT products up to the day of harvest! One thing to keep in mind is BT spray almost instantly stops caterpillars from being able to eat, but doesn’t kill them directly. So although you may see the caterpillars alive and apparently unharmed after spraying, the BT is still doing its dirty work.
  • Spinosad Products (safe & organic) – Although not as effective against caterpillars as a BT product, Spinosad can be a good choice, especially if your plants are also suffering from other insects like aphids, spider mites, thrips or white flies since this will attack all of them at once. Spinosad products are organic and completely harmless to pets, children, and plants. Unlike many insecticides, you can spray properly diluted spinosad heavily on leaves and roots with basically no negative effects. Spinosad products can be used directly to kill caterpillars on contact, but can also be used when watering plants to systematically kill caterpillars via the soil.Spinosad is an organic insecticide made from the fermentation of a specific soil bacteria (actinomycete Saccharopolyspora spinosa) and kills caterpillars via ingestion or contact by effecting the insect nervous system. Spinosad can be a good choice for organic and outdoor growers, because it is very toxic to caterpillars, but is less toxic to many beneficial insects.Note: Most spinosad products are effective for only about 24 hours after being mixed with water, so only mix as much as you will need per application. Anything left over will be waste.
  • Avoid butterflies and moths! Although these beautiful creatures look great resting on your cannabis plants, they lay eggs that hatch into caterpillars! Don’t let them hang around your garden!

Learn how to identify and get rid of caterpillars (and other little worms) and prevent them from ever attacking your cannabis again!