Integrated Pest Management
for Cannabis Cultivators
Most often for a cannabis grower, integrated pest management isn’t so much a strategy as a set of reactions: gauge the situation, determine how bad the infestation is, and apply a solution that could range anywhere from horticultural oils to pyrethrin sprays. But working with an agricultural product means accepting the reality that pests are inevitable – they always come back. With an integrated pest management plan, cannabis cultivation managers can be more proactive in their approach. That’s the key difference between extermination and IPM: cannabis cultivation teams having to deal with pests as they come, versus introducing improvements and efficiencies to create an environment that’s healthy for plants and less hospitable for pests. By opting for integrated pest management, cannabis growers focus their efforts on sustainable practices that help mitigate pests continuously. When cultivation teams embrace IPM, cannabis plants benefit – and so does their business in the long run. Here are 3 steps to a better IPM strategy:
Create an integrated pest management plan for your cannabis cultivation in 3 steps:
Get to the root cause
Finding out how pests got into the facility to begin with is the important first step of every IPM strategy. Where did they come from? Why are they showing up on a plant now? Did something change at the facility, or is the plant’s health in jeopardy in some way? Taking the time to thoroughly assess the situation can tell you whether you’re dealing with an anomaly, or if there’s a much larger issue at play.
Do a cleanliness check
Take a good look around your facility – is it as clean as it could be? How are those corners looking? Is any organic debris lying around from the last harvest, or do cracks in the floor need caulking? Conditions like this are like paradise to thrips and other pests, so making it a regular habit to clean every inch of the facility and address maintenance issues in real time instead of procrastinating is only going to benefit your business in the long run.
Turn those learnings into SOPs
After finding the cause of the infestation and doing your cleaning due diligence to get rid of the pests, there’s just one thing left to do: keep it going. Turning what you’ve learned into standard operating procedures (SOPs) gives the cultivation team clear direction on what they need to be doing at the facility daily to keep pests at bay. For example, if we know old organic plant material draws pests, then it’s important that the team not cross-contaminate when checking grow rooms. This learning could evolve into an SOP that stipulates never to enter a veg room after checking on a flowering room, even if it’s to address something quickly.
How AROYA helps with IPM
Growers who use AROYA for observational logging and tracking plant health are already set up for IPM success. Take detailed notes and photos of your plants regularly, including issues related to pests, then attach them to harvest groups to keep track of your IPM applications. Pulling historical data from AROYA enables your team to look at a past run, then make informed decisions on how to proceed from there. Because at the end of the day, the best way to avoid pests and diseases is to not enable an environment that will allow them to thrive – and that insight can only come from data.
Looking for more information on integrated pest management? Check out this deep dive from Office Hours Ep. 45.