It is important to make sure your cannabis is growing free from pests which is even more challenging when growing outdoors. Ants are a natural part of the environment just like earthworms, and their constant tunneling helps to aerate the soil, which brings more oxygen to the roots of plants.
Spotting an ant or two on your cannabis plants is not a reason to get alarmed. If you see ants in large numbers, however, this can cause problems for your plants and could damage an entire crop. Know the signs of an ant infestation to act quickly and learn how to treat and prevent ants from damaging your crop.
Signs of an Ant Infestation on Cannabis Plants
Pay attention to the following signs of an ant infestation and take action quickly before they damage your plants.
- Ants crawling on plants
If you notice a swarm of ants crawling on and around your plants, it is a clear sign of an ant infestation. This is also an indication that something in your grow environment is out of balance.
- Ant nests in the soil close to your plants
When you notice ant hills, the earthy mounds that ants create aboveground, you can be sure there are many more below. An ant hill could tunnel 7 foot deep and hold hundreds of thousands of ants. Left untreated, ant colonies can multiply quickly and become a nightmare for your garden and even start infesting your home.
- The presence of whiteflies, aphids, or mealybugs
These insects are some of the favorite food of ants, and the honeydew secretion they leave behind is irresistible to ants. Ants will feed on aphids, but they will also farm them and create a home for them to secure their own food source. This is double trouble for your cannabis plants.
- Droopy, pale plants
Cannabis plants that appear droopy and pale in color instead of looking vibrant and healthy could be a sign of an ant infestation, although this is usually not the cause if ants or ant mounds are not also visibly spotted nearby. Drooping is also a sign of dehydration and may cause plants to be less resistant to mold and disease.
Tips To Eliminate Ants From Your Cannabis Garden
It is best to remove ants from your garden with natural methods rather than using harsh chemicals or pesticides. There are some very effective organic and safe options to eliminate ants that also provide preventive measures to keep them from coming back.
- Apply cinnamon, coffee grounds, or cayenne pepper
Ants are highly sensitive to cinnamon which is very effective in repelling ants and keeping them from returning. Other ordinary household items that repel and kill ants include coffee grounds and cayenne pepper. Just sprinkle the product around your ant-infested and ant-prone areas.
- Eliminate the aphids, whiteflies, or mealybugs
Get rid of the ants’ food source and that sweet sticky secretion to help take care of your ant problem. Keeping your garden clean is one of the best ways to prevent invading insects from settling in your garden. Be sure to properly dispose of any rotted plant parts or clippings, and do not overwater your plants which can attract pesky insects.
- Maintain an optimal growing environment
The best defense against pests and disease is to maintain an optimal, well-balanced growing environment. You can optimize your growing environment by using high-quality organic compost or earthworm castings and checking the pH of the soil regularly. Provide the right temperature and humidity for a comfortable climate and ensure proper exposure to light and water. This will help protect your plant against pests and disease and improves your success rate for maximum yield of large buds.
- Included diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is also known as Diatomite and is a natural and safe material made from siliceous rock containing crushed fossils. The powdery consistency is actually sharp and deadly to soft-bodied insects like ants.
It’s easy to sprinkle this material around your plants and in ant-prone areas of your garden as well as on anthills. Use caution when handling to avoid inhaling or having contact with your eyes and skin. Combine with cinnamon for an even greater effect.
- Introduce beneficial insects
Some insects, such as beneficial nematodes, wasps, spiders, and some butterfly species, like to eat ants. If you already have an ant infestation, however, introducing beneficial insects won’t be enough to destroy an existing colony. Maintaining a garden rich in these insects in the first place can be a good prevention method to make it more difficult for ants to colonize initially.
Make sure to take control if you notice an ant infestation, as they can threaten the well-being of your roots and overall crop. Healthy genetics improve the pest and disease resistance of your plants for successful growth.
Always start your cannabis garden with high-quality cannabis seeds from a reputable seed bank like The Seed Cellar. We offer a wide selection of seed types, including regular, feminized, and autoflowering, as well as potent and high-CBD strains. Check out Seed Cellar today for high-quality cannabis genetics delivered in original breeder packaging.