How to control cannabis aphids

Cannabis aphids (Phorodon cannabis) are quickly becoming one of the most prevalent pests on cannabis crops. Fortunately, their physical and behavioral characteristics allow them to be easily identified and distinguished from other aphid species. 

The cannabis aphids’ most defining feature is their antenna tubercules which appear as horn-like structures at the top of their heads and can be observed with the use of a microscope. Their coloration can range from yellow-green, green, or pink-brown and may have vertical stripes running down their bodies. Winged morphs are generally brown and green and appear to have harder, more chitinized bodies.

Crops should be scouted and monitored regularly with clear documentation of pest pressures. Plants should be examined by flipping leaves to detect early infestations. Sticky cards should be hung near the plants, but avoid touching and monitored. Winged aphids looking to establish within the crop, or looking to disperse from an already established hotspots, can be found on cards and indicate corrective action will need to take place. Corrective action can include removing infested leaves, releasing beneficials, or applying pesticides. Keeping accurate documentation will help determine if control methods have been successful. 

Releasing beneficials preemptively can aid in ‘scouting’ as they hunt for prey. However, specialized aphid predators will have to be replaced weekly or bi-weekly as they may starve due to a lack of food. Depending on the predator and/or release rate, they may only provide suppression by slowing the population growth. 

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