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Thrips on Cannabis Plants

Thrips cannabis

Thrips on cannabis plants can wreak havoc. Find out how to deal with these pesky bugs on cannabis in the article below.

How to identify thrips on cannabis plants

One of the easiest methods to tell whether you have thrips damage on leaves is to look for the minor white fly-like markings that they leave on your plants. There will also be little sparkling patches and dark spots in the thrips’ excrement. Toxic compounds in thrips’ saliva may create deformations on some plant sections, particularly on the leaves, which is a strong indication that you have thrips on cannabis infestation.

However, what does a thrip look like? It may range in length from 0.3 to 14 millimeters, depending on the stage in which it is and how many leaves it has. Some thrips are bright green or white; others are brown or completely black. Look out for green thrips, as they tend to be unnoticeable sometimes.

What causes thrips on cannabis?

Thrips on cannabis plants lay eggs in the thin layers of leaves, allowing many kinds of germs and fungus to pass through when they hatch. When it hatches, it begins feeding on the plant sap, resulting in splotches and distorted shapes.

Deeply infected plants lose their strength and cease developing correctly; in certain circumstances, particularly in younger plants, they may even die off altogether. Thrips may cause adult plants to succumb to disease or fungus that enters via the holes produced by the insects on the leaves.

How to get rid of thrips on cannabis?

Insecticidal soap

You can control thrips on cannabis using fatty acid salts or insecticide soaps. However, they do not harm your plants and leave a minimal residue when used on thrip cannabis. Soaps don’t last long on plants, so you may need to reapply if you don’t get full coverage. It is safe to use, but do not get any on your buds! Thrip damage cannabis, so the sooner you take care of the problem, the better.

Neem Oil 

Using Neem Oil on blooming plants can leave a bad taste and smell on the buds; therefore, avoid this at all costs! Use Neem oil with caution since there is some evidence that it is toxic to people. The natural cure of Neem oil, on the other hand, is potent against a wide variety of pests and mold. Because neem oil and water may quickly separate, you’ll need a mister (also known as a “One-Hand Pressure Sprayer”) to spray all of the leaves uniformly.

Spinosad Products 

Unlike many other thrip insecticides, Spinosad products are fully safe for pets, children, and plants. Because spinosad has no toxicity, you can spray it liberally on leaves and roots. There are two ways to utilize Spinosad products: kill cannabis thrips on the spot and kill thrips via the roots. Caterpillars, spider mites on cannabis, and many other cannabis pests are all susceptible to the insecticide Spinosad.

You can use spinosad products topically or straight to the roots depending on your preference. By fermentation of an actinomycete (Saccharopolyspora spina) in the soil, spinosad is produced as an organic pesticide that targets the insect nervous system and kills the pest known as cannabis thrips. Because spinosad is poisonous to thrips cannabis, it is a suitable option for organic and outdoor producers. However, it is less hazardous to many beneficial insects.

In general, the effectiveness of spinosad products is limited to 24 hours after they are combined with water, therefore only mix enough for each application. Anything that you don’t use, you should throw it away.


Vegetable gardens are usually advised to use pyrethrin-based pesticides because of their low toxicity to people and rapid degradation. To uniformly spray all the leaves, you’ll need a mister (sometimes known as a “One-Hand Pressure Sprayer”).

Products containing pyrethrin degrade after a few days. The main issue with them is that they are very harmful to bees. Even though bees aren’t drawn to cannabis plants, you should use this as a last option and apply it after sunset since bees sleep at night. That way, it has time to start breaking down before they awaken.

Diatomaceous Earth

To combat many insects, try employing diatomaceous earth in eco-friendly agricultural practices. It can dehydrate and perforate insects’ shells due to its substances. It promotes plant development and enhances the substrate’s natural properties. If you have thrips on cannabis plants, this is one of the effective methods of getting rid.

Dealing with thrips outdoors 

Once you have had your plants savagely assaulted by this bothersome, hard-to-kill bug, you may want to try cleaning the plant and substrate to eliminate any remaining excrement and probable eggs that may still be lurking around. Insecticidal soap is the most acceptable approach to eliminating any lingering insects or eggs since this product cleans your plant from top to bottom. If you experience thrip damage on cannabis, disinfecting your whole grow space and removing your substrate at the end of the growing cycle are two more options to consider.

Stop thrips before it becomes a problem

Will thrips ruin my harvest? Yes, they will, especially if you leave them to dominate your cannabis plants. The most straightforward approach to avoid cannabis thrip damage is to avoid having one at all. Make sure your growing area is thoroughly sanitized before you get started. In addition to maintaining the site clean, you must remove any dead plant materials from the area. Remember, thrip damage cannabis pretty fast, so you must stop the infestation as soon as possible.

Thrips on leaves
Thrips bugs and larvae on a leaf

Install sticky insect strips once you have set up the growing area. These insect traps will catch most flying insects, similar to fly paper in their effectiveness. The bugs get stuck to the strips of paper.” The issue has been resolved.

Once you have cannabis thrips damage on your crops, eradicating them is the only way to preserve them and avoid a recurrence. Potassium soap or neem oil is the most effective (and does not need harsh chemicals). Rotenone and pyrethrins are other viable choices. However, pyrethrins should be used sparingly due to their severe toxicity to bees.

Picture of Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. About this Author

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