outdoor marijuana pests

Three of the Most Troublesome Outdoor Marijuana Pests

One of the advantages of growing marijuana indoors is that you do not have to worry about those nasty outdoor marijuana pests.  Plants grown outside have more exposure to pests that will harm them then do plants grown inside.  Beware though indoor plants can still pick up some pests that may come in from outside on your clothing.  So do be careful.

outdoor marijuana pests
outdoor marijuana pests

So what type of pests can harm your marijuana plant?  Following is a list of potentially dangerous pests that can harm your marijuana plant directly or indirectly.

Ants Aphids Barnacles
Birds Broad Mites Caterpillars
Cats Cutworms Crickets
Deer Dogs Fungus gnats
Gophers Grasshoppers Inchworms
Leaf Miner Mealy Bugs Mice
Moles Rats Russet Mites
Scale Insects Snails Slugs
Spider Mites Thrips Whiteflies


As you look at the list above you can see that some of these pest you can keep away from your plants like dogs, cats and deer.  As far as rats and mice you could set traps around your plants so they won’t be able to get at your plants.

So let’s take a look at three of what may be considered the most troublesome outdoor marijuana pests.  

Mealy Bugs

outdoor marijuana pests
mealy bugs

First up we have the mealy bug.  These white hairy looking bugs grow to the size of a human fingernail and they love the warmth.  The male has wings and the female does not.  Mealy bugs also have a protective cover which protects them from insecticides and other insects.  This waxy substance also protects their eggs and the young nymphs.  

They do damage by sucking the juice out of the plant.  Over time the leaves on the plant will start to turn yellow and eventually fall off the plant.  Another way they do damage is by secreting what we call sugary honeydew.  This honeydew can help to grow a fungus called sooty mold.

Mealy Bugs can reproduce several times in a year.  It is interesting to note that the male mealybug does not feed he exists only to reproduce.

How Do We Eradicate Mealybugs?

Mealybugs do have natural enemies such as ladybugs and wasps.  You can buy these natural mealybug predators or you can plant certain plants that will attract the wasps and the ladybugs.  This is commonly known as companion planting.  Many people when planting their vegetable gardens will plant flowers such as marigolds.  Marigolds attract bees which we all know are good for the garden.  They also are able to deter bugs that will attack your garden vegetables.  Their scent helps mask the scent of your garden plants therefore pests go and look somewhere else.

If you find that your plants do have mealy bugs you can gently spray water on them as a stream of water will help to wash them away.  Once they are off the plant it might be a good idea to actually kill them so they won’t just get back on your plant.

If a part of your plant is badly infested with the mealy bugs you may be better off to just remove that part of the plant.

You can also pick the bugs off the plant with a mixture of water and alcohol.  You can mix one part water to one part alcohol.

You can also use insecticides but make sure they are organic such as neem oil.  Hopefully you will not have to deal with these pesky pests.

Spider Mites

outdoor marijuana pests
spider mites

Our next pest that makes the top three list has to be spider mites.  We got these on some small trees this past summer and they were definitely a challenge to get rid of.

Spider mites are tiny measuring only .04 inches but they can do a lot of damage and they are hard to get rid of.  Their eggs can hatch in 3 days and they are sexually active in 5 days.  They can lay up to 20 eggs a day and have a lifespan of 2 to 4 weeks.  They will feed on a wide variety of different plants.  In fact they will feed on several hundred different species of plants.

They are hard to spot at first since they hang out on the underside of the leaves of the plant.  They will puncture the leaves in order to feed thus causing damage to the plant.  They become more noticeable when they start to spin protective webs.

How To Eradicate Spider Mites

Since spider mites reproduce quickly they have adapted at resisting pesticides so treating them chemically can be a losing battle.  Since we are talking about outside pests, we can rid them with natural predators of the spider mites.  Ladybugs and predatory mites will eat spider mites thus taking care of an infestation.  You can actually buy ladybugs online and have them delivered right to your door.  Hopefully when you release them they will hang around and feast on your spider mites.

Another method that helps is the application of insecticidal soap.  YOu can buy it or you can make your own out of certain household soaps.  The problem with this method is that it also kills predatory mites so it is up to you whether to use this method or not.

You can also apply Harpin Alpha Beta which is a protein that helps stimulate the natural defenses of the plant.  After an application of HAB the plant starts to restore its sap sugar levels and starts to replace the damage done by the mites.

Since they do reproduce so rapidly whatever method you choose will have to be done more than once.  For the size of them they are a hardy little pest.

Our next pest to make our list is the following.


outdoor marijuana pests

Aphids are a two time threat.  They cause damage on their own plus they attract other pests that will also do damage.  These small winged bugs can be found underneath the leaves of the cannabis plant.  Your plant can become infested rather quickly since these Aphids reproduce at a very rapid rate – giving birth up to 12 times a day.  The leaves on the marijuana plant will start to wilt and turn yellow after the aphids start consuming nutrients from the plant.

As well as damaging the plant themselves their feces attract ants which creates an even bigger infestation problem.

How To Deal With An Aphids Infestation

Once you determine that your plant is being attacked by aphids you can look to Mother Nature to help with the problem.  Ladybugs and parasitic wasps can help and these can actually be bought online.   If you do not want to wait for your order you can mix up a solution of distilled white vinegar and water.  Fill 1/3rd of a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and top off with water. This will kill the aphids and their larvae on contact.

You can also fill a spray bottle with warm water and add 2 tsp of a mild dish soap and spray under the leaves where the aphids are usually hanging out.

outdoor marijuana pests
ants vs aphids

Also since these plants are outside you can wash the bugs off the plant with your garden hose.  This method may damage young fragile plants so in that case you may be better just to pick them off and throw them in a container of soap and water.  The soap and water will kill them.

There are many more pests out there that can do harm to your plants so you need to be ever vigilant.  Make sure you are checking your plants every day.  An infestation of any of these pests can destroy your plant and you will be left with nothing.

I hope you found some useful information in this article.  

Have you ever had to deal with a pest infestation?  If so how did you treat it?  Everyone has different methods and I would love to hear about yours.

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    • Tucker
    • 02/22/2018

    Awesome advice here!

    I used to work on an organic farm and we had immense issues with these types of bugs. Aphids were especially prominent in the area of Texas where I worked at the time.

    We suggested ladybugs many times to no avail but I wish I had known about this simple solution of distilled white vinegar and water. It would’ve saved us a lot of time and our plants a lot of distress.

    I’ll keep this nice little tidbit in my toolkit for the next time I need it. Cheers!

      • Brownie
      • 02/23/2018

      Hi Tucker Thanks for dropping by. Some of these pests seem to appear out of nowhere. My husband had planted trees that were not very big and they did not seem to be doing to well. Upon closer examination he noted that they were infested with spider mites. Running water over them and then spraying with the vinegar solution helped greatly in getting rid of the infestation. These bugs are persistent though so you do need to repeat whatever method you are using to really get rid of them.

  1. Reply

    I would like more on the thrifts and though don’t grow weed I know for a fact plant lavender around anything you don’t want deer to get to they hate it

      • Brownie
      • 02/28/2018

      Hi Jacey I am going to assume you want to know more about thrips. Thrips are insects that feed on plants by puncturing them and sucking up the plants nutrients. An adult thrip can live up to 30 days and lay 2 to 10 eggs a day. That would add up to quite an infestation. To get rid of themn you can use an insecticidial soap or you can trim away the affected parts of the plant.
      Hope that helps and thanks for the tip about lavender!

    • Clay Westfall
    • 02/27/2018

    I have never considered that Marijuana would have so many enemy’s outside of law enforcement. I have been thinking about trying to grow it, but now I can see that I have a lot to learn about marijuana. Your website is very helpful, and points me in the right direction. Thanks for the knowledge!


      • Brownie
      • 02/28/2018

      Hi Clay Thanks for dropping by.  Your right there is a lot to know about growing marijuana.  Also seeing how you live in the states I would be careful since even if you live in a state that has legalized it you can still be charged federally.  You have an attorney general who truly does not believe in the medical benefits of marijuana.  He has gone so far as to say Good people do not smoke marijuana.  What would he think about JFK smoking marijuana to help him relieve his back pain? 

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