If you are growing cannabis in Colorado, then you know that there are really only a handful of pests that will make up the bulk of your infestation problems. Root aphids are one of those pests. The term “root aphid” actually refers to a variety of species of root dwelling aphids.

How root aphids terrorize cannabis plants

They burrow deep into the soil and then feed on the sugars and starches contained within the root structure. They form colonies and using their long, needle-like mouth to suck the life right out of your plants. Fortunately there are a number of safe and effective methods of ridding your garden of root aphids and ensure happy, healthy cannabis. Root aphids leech nutrients from the root system, preventing them from making their way to target areas within the plant. This will result a yellowing of the leaves, cankers,  and in extreme cases, death. The early stages of a root aphid infestation might appear to resemble a nutrient deficiency. In this case, the nutrient deficiency is a symptom, not the cause of the problem. No level of nutrient adjustment will compensate for the damage being done by those little cretans of cannabis destruction.

You know it’s bad when root aphids get wings…

If you start to see winged root aphids crawling around your soil, your problem is worse than you might think. This means that they have passed through a sufficient number of life cycles for the winged variety of aphid to have been born. That means that the nitrogen deficiency you’ve been trying to fix for the last month, isn’t just a nitrogen deficiency. And that powdery mildew that just started to form? Yeah that too is probably caused by the overall weakening of the cannabis plant, which was left vulnerable to mold and disease by the aphid infestation.

Root aphid cannabis treatment

Understanding how to get rid of root aphids is easier than you might think. In trying to maintain a more natural cannabis garden, stay away from harsh chemicals and pesticides. There are too many organic and biological controls available to even consider using any of the over-the-counter cure-all solutions. In the early stages of your grow cycle, predatory nematodes are a great way to not only fix a problem, but prevent one. Considered a biological method of pest control, nematodes are microscopic eel-like creature that resemble earthworms. They consume the root aphids, then they themselves die, leaving your root system as clean as can be. Soil and coco often come with dormant aphids, so treating your medium with nematodes in the beginning can ensure you won’t have a problem later.

Natural solutions to root aphid infestations

Neem oil or azadirachtin is an incredible natural solution for aphids. Made from an oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, azadirachtin suffocates the pest by clogging the breathing holes of the aphid. Drenching your root system with a treatment of azadirachtin will stop those pests in their tracks. There are a number of other natural or organic treatments that will help if your aphids make their way up the stalk and onto the leaves of your plants. A foliar treatment of an insecticidal soap or a natural pyrethrin are both very effective ways to stop crawling and winged aphids. Pyrethrin is an insect neurotoxin made from Chrysanthemum flowers. Whenever you can help it, stick with more natural pest control products, as they help foster a more natural ecosystem.

When it comes to root aphids, prevention is key

The key to maintaining a healthy cannabis garden is preventing problems before they start. Treat your soil with nematodes to prevent aphids from springing up and use an azadirachtin drench if the problem resurfaces. Staying one step ahead of your pests is the key to maintaining a vibrant and fruitful garden.

Have you experienced the plight of root aphids? Let us know about your experience on social media.