What types of insects might attack my plants?
A variety of insects may be attacking your plants. Some that you may encounter are: •Spider Mites •Thrips •Aphids and Root Aphids •Mealy bugs •Fungus gnats •White Flies
I see spiders in my grow room, are they bad for my plants?
No, spiders are not bad for your plants. In fact they will eat many other insects which may harm your plants.
How can I prevent insects from getting into my grow room in the first place?
The best way to prevent an insect infestation is to take some precautions. Intake filters are a must. If you cannot find them at your local gardening store, furnace filters are the second choice and can be adapted well. The gardener should also wear clean clothes when entering the garden. Never work in an outdoor garden and then enter your indoor garden. This is a sure way to transfer pests to an indoor garden. Changing shoes is also a good practice as many pests can be tracked in that way. Pets should not be allowed to enter the indoor garden as they can also carry pests in their coat. Sealing gaps and cracks will also go a long way towards preventing unwanted pests from entering the sterile garden environment. Any new plants entering the garden should first be kept in quarantine for at least one week if not longer, where they can be examined. Once they are determined to be insect free, they can then be introduced safely into the garden.
I see bugs on my plants, what can I do about it?
There are several ways to deal with insects in the garden. Insecticides containing Pyrethrins are a good way to kill most insects on contact. They come in aerosol cans as well as concentrated forms that can by mixed in a sprayer. The active ingredient is derived from the Chrysanthemum flower making it a natural insecticide. It has a short half life so it is not very toxic to humans. When applying the aerosol varieties only small burst of product should be applied from several feet away from plants to avoid soaking them and causing damage. Only a small amount of the product is necessary to kill insects on contact. As with any insecticide several applications should be done to kill any insects that may hatch from eggs after the initial application. Usually repeating application ever 5-7 days is a good rule of thumb, however each insect has a different life cycle and higher temperatures dramatically speed up insect reproduction rates. Pyrethrins are known to be effective at combating Aphids, Spider Mites, Whitefly’s and exposed Thrips amongst other insects. Diatomaceous Earth or DE is a powdered insecticide comprised of microscopic crustaceans. These crustaceans are extremely jagged and actually cut through the exoskeleton of the insect causing them to dehydrate. This makes DE a very effective contact insecticide. It can be applied to the growing medium, dusted onto plants or spread around the grow room to kill any insects on contact. It is safe for human contact and is even consumed orally as a natural cleansing product. Another approach is to use natural predator insects to hunt down and eliminate the pesky insects you are dealing with. Every insect has a specific predator which are most effective at eliminating them. Lady Bugs are good all purpose predators and are stocked at all Homegrown Hydroponics locations.
How do I determine which type of insect I am dealing with?
The best way to identify the insect which is attacking your plants is to capture a specimen and examine it under a microscope or magnifying glass. This will aid tremendously in indentifying the pest as most insects that damage plants are very small. Once you have a good look at the culprit, compare with a book or online reference of garden pests to find its identity.
Are there natural predators that I can use to eliminate an insect infestation?
Yes, natural predator insects can be utilized to hunt down and eliminate the pesky insects which are damaging your garden. Every insect has a specific predator which is most effective at eliminating them. Lady Bugs are a good all purpose predators and are stocked at all Homegrown Hydroponics locations. Specific predators can be ordered by request.
I know I have spider mites, but I can’t seem to get rid of them! What should I do?
The two most common barriers to ridding a garden of spider mites are using only one type of insecticide which they may become resistant to as well as not applying your insecticides at the correct intervals. Alternating insecticides is all it takes to get past the resistance problem and doing at least three applications an average of 5 days apart should also interrupt the reproduction of the mites as well as kill any eggs that hatched after the first or second applications. Whenever a Spider Mite outbreak has occurred, the entire garden should be sterilized after harvest by spraying down and scrubbing all surfaces with a bleach water solution and or employing the use of an insecticide “bomb” or total release fumigator. The total release fumigator is a can of insecticide which can be opened and placed into the sealed garden where it will release all of its contents. The garden is left sealed with this insecticide for two hours before it is ventilated. All insects should be eliminated with one application.
There is a white powder on my leaves, is it bad for the plants?
This is most likely Powdery Mildew and it will damage you plants. Powdery Mildew spores are present virtually everywhere. When conditions become favorable for it to colonize, it will do so on your plants. Lowering humidity and having good circulation are good preventative measures. Once you have the problem, there are several fungicide products which can be applied to the leaf surface to eliminate the mildew. Safer’s Defender and Serenade are two effective treatments sold at all Homegrown Hydroponics locations.
My leaves have black and rusty spots on them, what’s wrong?
Similar to powdery mildew, black spot is a fungal infection of the leaf tissue. Lowering humidity and avoiding getting water directly on plant leaves are the best ways to avoid this problem. If it does start to occur on your plants, several garden fungicides are known to be effective at treating the issue.
My flowers have a black/grey fuzz growing on them, what’s wrong?
This is a fungal problem that occurs when flowers are in areas of high humidity or when they do not dry off after being wet from rain or watering. Keeping the humidity of the garden below 50% and ideally around the 40% range during flowering will often eliminate this problem. Certain moist areas can develop in a garden when air circulation is poor. Ensuring proper air circulation and lowering humidity levels will often eliminate this flower rot. In outdoor gardens there is unfortunately not much that can be done to lower the humidity and to dry plants out faster after heavy rainfall. This often becomes a problem with outdoor crops in the autumn when rain is frequent and day temps are not warm enough to thoroughly dry off plants. These prolonged periods of moisture often cause flowers to rot. If possible the gardener should try to spread apart the branches of their plant to improve airflow around the flowers.