PREVENTION INHIBITION OF PESTS AND DISEASES

We strongly encourage the establishment of a naturally-based control program in your garden .Such a program could involve a regular preventative, such as SM-90 added into your nutrient. Or it could mean using periodic releases of beneficial predators (good bugs who eat the bad bugs) into your environment to control invasive insect numbers. OR it could just mean paying special attention to environmental factors in your growing area and keeping your eyes peeled for problems. It should always involve removing dead plant material and debris along with regular monitoring for pests. It takes time and commitment to keep such a natural pest control program working, but it is very doable and not difficult. Below are some things to remember.
A healthy plant has a better chance

Evidence suggests that stressed and/or weakened plants are more likely to be attacked by insects and diseases as they are less capable of fighting them off. Pay close attention to the health of your plants. Monitor the nutrient and pH daily, making sure they are within the range that your plants need. Don’t crowd plants too closely, and be sure to give them a gentle breeze.
Leave the unhealthy plants out!

Avoid bringing insect-infested plants into your garden. Carefully inspect transplants before you introduce them to your grow room. Wash them off with water, especially the bottoms of the leaves.
Keep it Clean
Many pests thrive on plant debris in the garden. Keep your growing area clean. Pick up fallen leaves and keep them in a sealed trash can.
Use yellow sticky traps

These Yellow Sensing Cards are a good way to monitor insect populations. They are seldom enough to provide control, but they do help keep fungus gnat populations low so long as the sticky material is replaced when insects cover the board surface.
Take advantage of natural enemies

Beneficial insects, or predators, have become more common in the last few years. They are a great and natural way to keep pest populations below damaging levels. When used correctly as part of a pest management program they completely eliminate the need for insecticides. Remember, however, that beneficial insects will move elsewhere if there aren’t enough pests to feed on. Also keep in mind that most pesticides don’t discriminate between beneficial insects and pests.
If all else fails… Spray!

If despite your best efforts you find yourself with a raging infestation, you will need to use some sort of insecticide. We carry several natural choices, and some very good organic ones. Read further below about controlling with pesticides.
SPIDER MITES

The spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is a tiny, eight-legged pest related to the spider and tick. Spider mites are members of the arachnid class. The term “spider mite” comes from their behavior of spinning fine silk webs on infested leaves and new growth. Adults are normally green or yellow but turn red when day lengths shorten in the autumn. Adults have an oval body, with two red eyespots near the head end of the body. Females usually have a large dark blotch on each side and numerous bristles covering the legs and body. They look sort of like bristly black dots. Their eggs are visible too – they are very tiny, white and are laid closely grouped together.

Spider Mites attack plants by stabbing the underside of the leaves and sucking out the sap, causing the cells to collapse and die. As their numbers increase, the number of white speckles on the leaf increases and the leaf eventually dies. Once the spider mites begin reproduction, a distinctive `webbing’ forms, usually under the leaf and then at the growing tip of the plant. The mites disperse from a plant of declining food quality on threads of webbing and drift or are blown on to other plants.

What makes this pest truly difficult to control is its rate of reproduction. Each female will lay up to 12 eggs per day. Mating is not required for egg production. At 70º F, these eggs will hatch in as few as three days and will develop into adults in only 14 days. Adult females also ave the ability to go dormant for a time after the photoperiod (daily hours of light) shortens, then re-emerge to lay more eggs a few weeks after the photoperiod lengthens again. That’s one reason Spider Mites keep reappearing crop after crop on indoor plants.
LIFE CYCLE AND ENVIRONMENT

In a given colony of two-spotted spider mites, both adult males and females are present, however females usually outnumber males three to one. This factor accounts for their high reproduction rate as a single female can lay on average over 100 eggs in her life time. Females normally lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The rate at which a two spotted spider mite develops from an egg to an adult is greatly dependent on environment. Their life cycle is accelerated at higher temperatures. This is one of the reasons that these mites are such large greenhouse pests. In the artificial environment of a warm lighted greenhouse or indoor grow space, the mites are able to reproduce quickly and to be active throughout most or all of the year.
GENERAL SPIDER MITE CONTROL

We prefer a more holistic / organic method of controlling spider mites (or any pests for that matter). Predators, Neem Oil, Azatrol, and organic sprays used in conjunction with each other is just as effective and less caustic to the enviornment and to your prized plants. Lower temperatures will also help. The ideal temperature for Spider Mites to thrive is 80 deg. F., so you will want to stay below this range if an infestation is found. It is also very important to keep the growing area clear of dead plant material. Dead leaves should be removed from growing areas as soon as possible, as they often contain mite colonies and clusters of eggs. Leaves showing large amounts of mite damage should also be removed as there are often large populations in these areas. Below we list a variety of management methods. Please feel free to ask us questions about any of these or any other methods / products that you have heard of and we will help you find the best solution to the problem. If all else fails we have also listed a harsher miticide to kill these little buggers DEAD.
Best Practices

Populations can also be reduced by spraying the underside of the leaves with a jet of water to break up the webs and wash the mites off. Soap sprays are also very effective at controlling spider mites. Lower temperatures will help. The ideal temperature for Spider Mites is 80 deg. F. It is also very important to keep the growing area clear of dead plant material. Dead leaves should be removed from growing areas as soon as possible, as they often contain mite colonies and clusters of eggs. Leaves showing large amounts of mite damage should also be removed as there are often large populations in these areas
PREDATORS

Spider Mite Predators not only feed on Spider Mites and their eggs, they also breed twice as fast. Each Spider Mite Predator sucks the juice out of about 5 Spider Mites a day, or 20 of their eggs. Used as directed, predators should begin to gain control within 4 weeks and then continue until the Spider Mites are nearly or completely wiped out. Predators disappear when the Spider Mites are gone.

Please Note: Spider Mite Predators can be purchased as either a “Triple Threat” which includes all three species listed below, or as individual packages.Make sure to get enough Predators to kill your infestation. Please consult with us to find out how many Predators that will be!
Spider Mite Predator Types and Attributes:

Wide Temp Range, Moderate Humidity:

  • Phytoseiulus persimilis
  • Temperature Range: 55 – 105+ F. Humidity Range: 55 – 90%

 

Moderate Temp Range, High Humidity:

  • Neoseiulus californicus
  • Temperature Range: 55 – 90 F. Humidity Range: 60 – 90%

Widest Humidity and Temp Range:

  • Mesoseiulus longipes
  • Temperature Range: 55 – 105+ F. Humidity Range: 45 – 90%

Mite Destroyers eat all stages of Spider Mites, and find new infestation sites on their own by flying. But, it takes 4-6 weeks to really get these guys going, so use Predator Mites as well for more immediate control and for cleaning up small “trouble spots”. Life cycle takes 18 days at 70 F. 100 Spider Mite Destroyers gets a colony started.
Other predators include Lacewings and Pirate Bugs (Pirate Bugs are great at eating up Thrips! too.)

Also note: If using predators make sure to stop spraying any pesticide before application begins. (Every pesticide has a specific amount of time before it is rendered ineffective. Make sure to wait that amount of time. You can also spray water on the leaves for a few applications before applying predators to “wash off” any residual pesticides.)
SPIDER MITE CONTROL WITH PESTICIDES

Spider Mites can be successfully controlled with pesticides, however it will take regular reapplications to knock down all the pests and their eggs.
Azatrol is OMRI listed and Organic. You can feel safe applying this onto your plants all the way through their lifecycle. It will not affect taste, aroma, or color. It works on bugs such as mites, aphids, root aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, caterpillars, etc.
Apply Azatrol as Follows:
In the beginning Spray once and then again 4-5 days later. After control is established continue to spray every other week. Make sur full coverage is achieved when spraying. Both the tops and bottoms of the leaves need to be thoroughly sprayed.

If you are spraying plants that are in the fruiting stage and indoors, you need to worry about mold. Outside, mold is less of a problem for plants because the plants dry out quicker. (When spraying indoors it is recommended to use a wetting agent, such as Coco-Wet. We also recommend turning the lights off for a 3 hour period during your plants day time photoperiod, and turning on all fans to facilitate them drying out.) You can spray up to the first 4 weeks into the fruiting/flowering stage, after which you must take extreme precautions to avoid mold.

Quart size foliar application: In a quart, mix 3 tsp. of Azatrol and a few drops of wetting agent with distilled or RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 5 days and reapply by increasing dose to 4.5 tsp of Azatrol with wetting agent and water. If spraying indoors, we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray either early in the morning or at dusk. For best results use within 24 hours.

Gallon size foliar application: In a gallon, mix 2 oz of Azatrol + a wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 4-5 days and then re-apply with 3 oz per Gallon + a wetting agent with RO water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (For at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors, spray either early in the morning or at dusk. For best results use within 24 hours.
Neem Oil (Cold Pressed)

Neem Oil contains steroids (campesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol) and a plethora of triterpenoids of which Azadirachtin is the most well known and studied. Neem Oil is another all-organic way to deal with Mites and almost any other bug infestation out there. It is best used as a preventative, meaning that you should apply it before the problem begins as opposed to after it is already there. Make sure to purchase “cold-pressed” Neem products such as Einstein Oil. Cold Pressed Neem Oils contain a much higher concentration of the active compounds which repel and retard pests in your garden.)
Application of Neem Oil

Mix Neem Oil with a wetting agent (such as Coco-Wet) to thin out the spray and allow it to adhere to the leaves better. Spray every three days, starting with the lowest concentration listed on the bottle and increasing the concentration every 3 days until the highest concentration is reached; at which point continue to spray at the highest concentration every 3 days. Soon you will see a dark leaf sheen or waxy coating develop on the leaves. This is a good thing. Neem will not hurt plants, it will only hurt the bugs.
PestOut

PestOut is 100% organic and is great at knocking down a mite population. This is made from organic oils and although non-toxic to plants if used properly it can still burn them at higher concentrations. Do not follow the bottle instructions; follow the application directions below.
Application of PestOut

1/4 – 1 tsp / quart is the recommended amount to spray with. Add with a wetting agent such as Coco-Wet. Make sure you spray every 3 days (PestOut will not kill the eggs) until problem no longer exists. Usually 9-12 days total spraying time is necessary to solve the problem. Make sure you spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves.
Pyrethrin Bombs or Sprays

Our least favorite way to deal with Mites. Pyrethrin Bombs are good for getting an infested room between crops to help “sterlize the enviornment.” They can cause burning on plants (especially if too much is applied.) Make sure to turn off the lights when letting off a bomb. it is a good idea to raise them as well so that the next day when the lights come back on you will lessen the chance of burning occuring.

Pyrethrin lasts for 24 hours before it degrades to 1/2 of its original amount. It is derived from chrysanthemum flowers and generally has a low toxicity for humans. That being said, we still think you should spray with a mask and gloves. Also note: Pyrethrins act only as a miticide and NOT an ovicide (they do not kill the eggs). You should always follow up one spray or “bombing” with another 3 days after the first to kill newly hatched mites before they mate again. As far as “bombs” go, Doktor Doom is softer on plants and should be used for mid cycle applications. The Pyrethrum TR “Total Release” Fogger is good for sterilizing the space in between crops.

Forbid (or Avid + Hexagon) (or previously, FloraMite)
Forbid is a very serious mitacide that should not be treated lightly. If nothing else is working than this will. We prefer the organic methods listed above in an overall integrated pest management program. But, sometimes you have to call in the “BIG GUNS.” We will not discuss Avid + Hexagon (Avid is the mitacide – Hexagon is the Ovacide – together they kill all.) Forbid is the new killer on the block (1/8th – 1/4tsp./Gal). Forbid is our preference (newer and better killer),if a spray of this calibur is needed. It is both a mitacide as well as a ovacide. (It will kill both the mites and their eggs.) Forbid is such a specific killer that it will not kill any other bugs. . .In fact it will not even kill Predator Mites. Furthermore it will go through the leaves from the top of the leaves to the bottom. Forbid has a 20 day residual lasting power. Only spray Forbid in the Vegetative phase. When spraying make sure to follow these rules:

  • Use a pesticide Respirator
  • Wear fluid proof gloves
  • Wear long sleaves and pants and take off and wash as soon as application is finished.
  • Wear eye protection

Application of Forbid
Into a 1 Gallon container mix 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of Forbid. Shake until homogenous. Next add enough drops of Indicate solution (the pink stuff) to make the solution turn pink throughout. Pour solution into sprayer
Root Aphids

Root aphids colonize and suck juices from roots in many mediums including rockwool, “grow rocks”, coco, and soil. If plants appear to wilt, to have stunted growth, or have unhealthily coloured foliage and lose leaves prematurely, and the normal problems (pH, over-watering, nutrient levels, etc.) are not responsible, then suspect root aphids. Root aphids are voracious eaters, and are known to be persistent, so it requires some discipline to eliminate them. Some experts suggest treatment every other day, for a minimum of six treatments.

Root Aphids are small light green or off-white oval-like creatures with or without wings, which live on the roots of plants. Just like their counterparts above ground, they feed by sucking sap, but from roots instead of stems or leaves. There are several species of Phemphigus (root aphids), and unfortunately, when they are feeding in the soil there are few, if any, winged adults around to warn you. Many times root aphids will apear with or without wings, but in either case will not fly.

Once a problem has been identified with the plants, the first thing growers will notice on the infected root system is the white wax that looks like snow-flocking covering the infected spot. The affected roots often split. Root aphids tend to build up populations at the edge of rootballs. Female aphids give live birth to nymphs, and a clustering of aphids builds up on concentrated areas of the root system. Small populations are not a problem; however, when populations become high, the plants are reduced in vigor.
FIGHTING ROOT APHIDS WITH AZATROL OR PATROL

After ingesting Azatrol an insect can’t feed. They feel full all the time. The insects cannot shed their skin to molt, and they can’t form a pupae. Ultimately the insects end up paralyzed and die. See other Info Sheet on Azatrol/Patrol for more information.
Azatrol Root Zone Dosage:
1 oz per 20 gallons to be applied as a preventative. More about how to use this application on Azatrol Printable PDF.
Gallon size foliar application:

In a gallon mix 2 oz per gallon of Azatrol + a wetting agent such as Coco-Wet with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 4-5 day sand then re-apply with 3 oz./gal + a wetting agent with RO water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray either early in the morning or at dusk. Use within 24 hours.
Quart size foliar application:
In a quart mix 3 tsp. of Azatrol and a few drops of wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 5 days and reapply by increasing dose to 4.5 tsp of Azatrol with wetting agent and water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray early in the morning or at dusk. Use within 24 Hours.
Patrol Application Rates :

1-2oz for every 20 gallons of reservoir solution. Soak the roots.
Green light Tree and Shrub Systemic:
Green Light Systemic uses a nicotine derivative to control aphids. It is called imidacloprid and it works. It should be used as a systemic feeding to plants over time. Ideally start using before population is too Large.


GreenLight Tree and Shrub Systemic Application Rates:

Apply 1 – 3 tsp./ Gal. Soak the roots
THRIPS

Most adult thrips are slender, minute (less than 1/20 inch long), and have long, narrow wings. Immatures (called larvae or nymphs, or pupae) are similarly shaped with a long, narrow abdomen but lack wings. The entire cycle from egg to adult requires from 12 to 16 days. Most thrips range in color from translucent white or yellowish to dark brown or blackish, depending on the species and life stage. A few species are more brightly colored. They hang out on undersides of leaves.

Thrips feed by rasping the leaves from the surface of plant tissue and sucking up plant sap. This results in silver-colored, bleached tissue lacking in chlorophyll, accompanied by black varnishlike spots of excrement. In addition, feeding by thrips can cause twisting and distortion of leaves and flowers. The silvery resin has been reported to attract powdery mildew to the garden.

Aduults mut be killed at the leaf level. The adults however mate in the medium. The larvae must be attacked at the root zone! Below we have broken the two types of Control into both treatment for the leaves (which will kill the adults) and also treatment at the root zone to kill the larvae that are lurking in the medium. Make sure to attack and treat both regions

Treatment methods for the Adults (at leaf level)

  • BLUE (NOT YELLOW) STICKY TRAPS

The traps are designed to trap adult thrips. Place anywhere that adult thrips congregate. Riddle the base of plants with these.
AVID

Avid is great for mite control and has finally been labled for control of thrips. OG -growers have known that Avid is a greatproduct for thrip control but no-one was allowed to talk about it unless it was labeled as such. Best when used with Stirrup M – a pheremone solution attracting thrips to the poised areas. When using a chemical like Avid (You need a pesiticide licence) it is important to use these guidelines: 1. Use a pesticide Respirator. 2. Wear fluid proof gloves. 3. Wear long sleaves and pants and take off and wash as soon as application is finished. 4. Wear eye protection.
Avid Application Rates:
Mix 1/4tsp. / gallon of solution (1.25mL/Gal). You can then divide this by 1/4 into a quart bottle if necessary.
Treatment methods for the Larvae (at Root Zone)
NEMATODES

These microscopic worms are pretty awesome. They only affect soft-bellied insects like fungus gnat larvae (no animals – so don’t worry!) Nematodes get sucked up into the guts of the larvae and pupae, begin to colonize and multiply until they finally burst open the stomach of the larvae (dealing it a very nasty death) and releasing more nematode colonies into the medium in the process.
Nematode Application Rates:

Apply 1 million (1 packet) Nematodes per each grow light in your grow space. Each packet of nematodes is dropped and mixed into a 1 gallon container of water (pH as normal) then hand applied to each plant. Then remove the sponge and toss into reservoir.
ORTHO SYSTEMIC KILLER

Systemic Killer obliterates pests at the roots. It will kill larvae and just about anything else in the medium. Make sure you apply, then FLUSH 3-5 hrs. after application w/ pH’d water. Repeat this drench as necessary (up to 3 times). Apply to one plant first, then apply to rest of garden
Systemic killer Application Rates:
Mix 1oz. per 5 gallons of solution. After application, make sure to FLUSH 3-5 hours later with ph’d water. Repeat as necessary
WHITEFLIES

Whiteflies usually occur in groups on the undersides of leaves. They derive their name from the mealy, white wax covering the adult’s wings and body. Adults are tiny insects with yellowish bodies and whitish wings and are approximately 2 mm long. While single whitefly can be difficult to see, large numbers clustered on the underside of leaves are very obvious. Whiteflies normally lay their tiny, oblong eggs on the undersides of leaves. The eggs hatch, and the young whiteflies gradually increase in size through four nymphal stages called instars.

Whiteflies feed by tapping into the phloem of plants, exposing plants to the whiteflies’ toxic saliva and decreasing the plant’s overall turgor pressure. The damage is quickly elevated as whiteflies congregate in large numbers, quickly overwhelming susceptible plants. Damage is further exacerbated as whiteflies, like aphids, excrete honeydew as a waste product, which promotes mold growth and may seriously impede the ability of farms to process cotton harvests.

In humid conditions, a black sooty mold fungus grows on the honeydew and blackens leaves and fruit. The black mold and honeydew excrement also attracts powdery mildew. Most plants take severe damage, not from the whitefly’s themselves but from the mold and Powdery Mildew they attract! Make sure to remove severely infested or damaged leaves as they occur.
How to Battle Whiteflies

White Fly Parasites:

Tiny Whitefly Parasites (Encarsia formosa) lay their eggs inside developing Whitefly pupae, so a Whitefly Parasite hatches out instead of a Whitefly. You’ll need a magnifier to see them, but they spell death for Greenhouse Whiteflies. These little suckers are SUPER EFFECTIVE. We have used them many times – works like a charm. 1000 parasites per 1000 watts of light. Use at least 2 parasite releases.
AZATROL

After ingesting Azatrol an insect can’t feed. They feel full all the time. The insects cannot shed their skin to molt, and they can’t form a pupae. Ultimately the insects end up paralyzed and die. Soft on predators. See the Azatrol/Patrol Info Sheet for more information.


Azatrol Application Rates:

Quart size foliar application:

In a quart mix 3 tsp. of Azatrol and a few drops of wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 5 days and reapply, increasing dose to 4.5 tsp of Azatrol with wetting agent and water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Use within 24 Hours.
Gallon size foliar application:

In a gallon, mix 2 oz of Azatrol + a wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 4-5 days and then re-apply with 3 oz per Gallon + a wetting agent with RO water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors, spray either early in the morning or at dusk. For best results use within 24 hours.
PYRETHRINS (Don’t Bug Me or Whitmire 1600 – X-Clude)

Pyrethrin lasts for 24 hours before it degrades to 1/2 of its original amount. It is derived from chrysanthemums and generally has a low toxicity for humans. That being said, we still think you should spray with a mask and gloves. There are many different brands on the market to choose from.

We like Don’t Bug Me from Fox Farm because it is inexpensive and effective even when diluted 50% with purified water. The aerosol sprays from Whitmire are stronger and create a finer spray but can “burn” plant leaves if used improperly. Please see our “Foliar Spray” info-sheet handout. FULL COVERAGE is neccessary to be effective. Spray every 3 days until problem ceases to exist. Both of these Pyrethrin products are Ready – to – use. Just purchase and apply as needed.

  • FULL COVERAGE is necessary. to be effective
  • Spray every 3 days until problem ceases to exist
  • Please see our “Foliar Spray” Info Sheet handout

FUNGUS GNATS

Fungus gnats become a nuisance indoors when adults emerge in large numbers as mosquito-like insects from potted plants or flower boxes containing damp soil rich in humus. Larvae or maggots, which feed in soil high in organic matter, can injure the roots of most plants. Plant symptoms may appear as sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth, yellowing and foliage loss. Along with the larvae, fungus gnats get their name from bringing over fungal spores to a new root system, which they then infest, colonize and destroy.

Adult fungus gnats are about 1/8” to 1/10“ (2.5 mm) long, grayish black, slender, mosquito-like and delicate with long legs, antennae and one pair of wings. Identification can be made by the vein patterns in the wings. Dark-winged fungus gnat adults have eyes that meet above the base of the antennae. Larvae are legless, thread-like, and white, with shiny black heads, up to 1/4” (5.5 mm) long and transparent.

Fungus gnats reproduce in moist, shaded areas in decaying organic matter such as leaf litter.The life cycle is about four weeks, with continuous reproduction in grow spaces where warm temperatures are maintained. Larvae not only feed on decaying organic matter, but on living plant tissue, particularly root hairs and small feeder roots. Brown scars may appear on the chewed roots. The underground parts of the stem may be injured and root hairs eaten off. Below we list some of the best methods to fight off and prevent this nasty little pest.
FIGHTING FUNGUS GNATS WITH AZATROL

Azatrol:
>p>This is a great way to deal with fungus gnats and their larvae. A routine spray, as well as a root drench through regular feeding will certainly cut down on the population if not eliminate it. Please see our Info Sheet on Azatrol and Patrol for more information.
Azatrol Root Zone Dosage:
1 oz per 20 gallons to be applied as a preventative. More about how to use this application on Azatrol Printable PDF.
Gallon size foliar application:

In a gallon mix 2 oz per gallon of Azatrol + a wetting agent such as Coco-Wet with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 4-5 day sand then re-apply with 3 oz./gal + a wetting agent with RO water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray either early in the morning or at dusk. Use within 24 hours.
Quart size foliar application:

In a quart mix 3 tsp. of Azatrol and a few drops of wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 5 days and reapply by increasing dose to 4.5 tsp of Azatrol with wetting agent and water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray early in the morning or at dusk. Use within 24 Hours.


FIGHTING FUNGUS GNATS WITH BENEFICIAL ORGANISMS

Nematodes

These microscopic worms are pretty awesome.  They only effect soft-bellied insects like fungus gnat larvae (no animals – so don’t worry!) Nematodes get sucked up into the guts of the larvae, and begin to colonize and multiply and multiply and multiply until they finally burst open the stomach of the larvae (dealing it out a very nasty death) and releasing more nematode colonies into the medium in the process.
Nematode Application Rates:
Apply 1 Million (1 packet) Nematodes per each “grow light” in your grow space. Each packet of nematodes is dropped and mixed into a 1 Gallon container of water (pH as normal) then hand applied to each plant. Then remove sponge and toss into reservoir.
Gnatrol

Comprised of Bacillus thuringiensis, a beneficial bacteria that rots out the gut of its prey (soft-bellied insects like the fungus gnat larvae.) Effective for 48 hours, reapplication may be necessary.
Gnatrol Application Rates:

Mix 1/4 – 31/4 tsp./Gal. Make sure to apply and let it soak in and then FLUSH out. Best used as a Drench.
PEST CONTROL SOLUTIONS

If you need to use an insecticide to knock down a pest problem, do yourself a favor and use a natural one, NOT a synthetic one. A synthetic spray might initially do the trick, but it will be toxic to you. Do you really want to eat pesticides? If you are taking the time to grow your own, chances are you will care enough to do the right thing and use natural remedies.

They really work! Be careful when spraying your plants. Test a small part of one or two plants and wait a few days to see how they react before you spray all your plants. Also remember that spraying kills good bugs and bad bugs alike, so be sure to wait the appropriate amount of time before adding predators. (usually a few days to a week with natural products.)
NEEM OIL

More than 60 insect pests may be controlled by neem including aphids, beetles, caterpillars, lace bugs, leafhoppers, leaf miners, mealy bugs, psyllids, thrips, and whiteflies. (Read the label of the specific product you are using before application). Neem products may be registered for use on certain fruits, herbs and vegetables in addition to ornamentals. For edible crops, some neem-based products may be used up to the day of harvest.

Neem Oil comes from the pressed seed of the neem tree – Azadiracta indica Juss to be exact. It’s native to eastern India and Burma and has been used for medicinal purposes and pest control in India for thousands of years. Neem oil’s various active ingredients work in a variety of ways, including acting as repellents, feeding inhibitors, egg-laying deterrents, growth retardants, sterilants and direct toxins. The multiple ways it attacks insects makes it very unlikely that insects will be able to develop a resistance.

Mix Neem Oil with a wetting agent (such as Coco-Wet) to thin out the spray and cause it to adhere to the leaves better. Spray every three days, starting with the lowest concentration listed on the bottle and increasing every 3 days until the highest concentration is reached; at which point continue to spray at the highest concentration every 3 days. Soon you will see a dark leaf sheen or waxy coating develop on the leaves. This is a good thing. Neem will not hurt plants, it will only hurt the bugs.
Foliar Spraying with Einstein Oil

Einstein Oil contains the finest quality, first extraction, cold-pressed Neem oil currently on the market. It is also enhanced with several other potent herbal ingredients to keep leaves clean and plants healthy. All ingredients are 100% Organic and made with Love and Care! This is the Bomb-Daddy of Neem Oils. . .

We suggest spraying Einstein Oil every 2-3 days. Up the dosage starting from 1/2tsp. per Quart (or 2 tsp. per Gallon) by 1/2 tsp. each and every week you spray (Ex. from 1/2tsp. per Quart during week 1 to 1 full tsp. per Quart during week 2).

Never Spray more than 2 tsp. per Quart or 8 tsp. per Gallon! Only Spray during ALL of Veg. & up to week 3-4 of Bloom. You will develop a waxy sheen on your leaves. Now the nasty little critters have to eat through a thick layer of Neem to get to yogur leaves.
Quart size foliar application:

1/2tsp. per Quart for Week 1 — 1 tsp. per Quart for Week 2 — 1.5tsp. per Quart for Week 3 — 2 tsp. per Quart for Week 4
Gallon size foliar application:

2 tsp. per Gallon for Week 1 — 4 tsp. per Gallon for Week 2 — 6 tsp. per Gallon for Week 3 — 8tsp. per Gallon for Week 4
ALL SPRAYING – All oil-based sprays need a surfactant to help spread the oil in the water; we suggest 3-5 drops of Coco Wet or another wetting agent such as Wet-Betty.

Azatrol is ecofriendly: you are doing mankind, the planet, and your plants a favor. Azatrol is OMRI certified,100% organic, and it does not contain neem oil, neem bitters, and does not affect taste, aroma, or color. It works on bugs such as mites, aphids, root aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, caterpillars, beatles, etc.

After ingesting Azatrol an insect can’t feed because they feel full all the time. The insects cannot shed their skin to molt, and they cant form a pupae. Ultimately the insects end up becoming paralyzed and dying. After feeding on a plant that has been treated with Azatrol, a female insect can’t lay any eggs. Because of the way Azatrol works, insects don’t gain resistance. Azatrol is a growth inhibitor, a reproductive inhibitor and it works to interrupts an insect’s brain and neurotransmitters. If insects do make it to adulthood, they are going to be super messed up and not able to do much harm.
The active Ingredient is Azadirachtin
Foliar Spray with Azatrol

In the beginning Spray once and then again 4-5 days later. After control is established continue to spray every other week.

In the fruiting stage if you are spraying plants that are indoors you need to worry about mold, outside mold is less of a problem, because the plants dry out quicker. (When spraying indoors it is recommended to use a wetting agent, such as Coco-Wet. We also recommend turning the lights off for a 3 hour period during your plants day time photoperiod, and turning on all fans to facilitate them drying out.) You can spray up to the first 4 weeks into the fruiting/flowering stage. After that point, you must take extreme precautions to avoid mold.

Quart size foliar application: In a Quart of water (32 ounces), mix 3 tsp of Azatrol and a few drops of wetting agent with distilled or RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 5 days and reapply by increasing dose to 4.5 tsp of Azatrol with wetting agent and water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (for at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray either early in the morning or at dusk. For best results use within 24 hours.

Gallon size foliar application: In a Gallon, mix 2 oz Azatrol + a wetting agent with RO water. Shake and apply. Wait 4-5 days and then re-apply with a stronger solution of 3 oz./Gal + a wetting agent with RO water. If spraying indoors we recommend raising the lights or spraying while the lights are off (For at least a 3 hour period.) Outdoors spray either early in the morning or at dusk. For best results use within 24 hours.
PYRETHRINS

Pyrethrins are natural insecticides found in daisy-like Chrysanthemum flowers grown and harvested in Kenya, Africa and Australia. Pyrethrum is the dried, powdered head of the plant, Pyrethrins are the active chemicals found in the plant and pyrethroids are synthetic compounds that resemble pyrethrins. This group is toxic to a large range of insects, including aphids, beetles, caterpillars, spider mites, fungus gnats, and whiteflies.

Pyrethrins will quickly penetrate the nerve system of the insect, paralyzing it. But, a ‘paralyzing dose’ is not the same as a killing dose. The natural pyrethrins are swiftly detoxified by enzymes in the insect and some pests will recover. To delay the enzyme action and kill the bugs dead, , organophosphates, carbamates, or synergists are often added to the pyrethrins. Pyrethrin and the synergists are biodegradable and rapidly disintegrate in sunlight and air.
INSECTICIDAL SOAP

Soaps, which are sodium or potassium salts combined with fish or vegetable oil, have been used as insecticides for hundreds of years. Soaps are virtually nontoxic to animals, however they basically suck the life right out of bugs by causing their cell walls to collapse. Soaps work best against soft bodied mites and insects like aphids, scale, whiteflies and thrips. They break down quickly
BENEFICIAL INSECTS OR PREDATORS

The initial cost of beneficial insects is almost always higher than a can of insecticide and initially, you might be tempted to use a spray, especially as you watch your plants being besieged by ravenous bugs. Over the long term however, beneficial insects become the economical choice. As a balance of beneficials is achieved within a grow area, there is less fluctuations of pest populations. Eventually, only small periodic releases of the beneficials are required. In large grow areas, the beneficials may establish themselves indoors and procreate without much help from you.

The main problem with using pesticides is that pests are brutally tenacious – one does not get a union card as a working pest without showing some diligence in survivability. If you rely on pesticides as the main control in your system, sooner or later the resident pest population becomes resistant. To suppress them, you’ll have to used different or more pesticides which gets progressively more hazardous, bothersome, and expensive. Pesticides will also kill beneficials, making pest control harder and more expensive in the future.

We suggest reducing severe infestations by pruning or spraying plants with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil before the initial releases of beneficials. Don’t use residual pesticides for a month before releasing beneficial organisms. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils can be used up to two days before release. There is no easy way to tell when enough predators have been released. The elimination of every last pest is not your objective. When all pests are eliminated, the beneficial insects die, too. A more realistic objective is to keep pest populations below the level where they cause unacceptable aesthetic or economic damage to plants. Only you can decide where this point lies. As your predators keep munching your plants over the years, you may at times find yourself faced with “hot spots,” local areas in the grow where pest numbers rise beyond the ability of the predators to suppress them. Usually there is an environmental explanation for this; determining what the cause is will help you to avoid the same problem in the future. Predators come shipped directly to your house and should be placed in the fridge until use. Instructions for their release are included.
HOW TO HANDLE POWDERY MILDEW

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. Powdery mildew diseases are caused by many different species of fungi in the order Erysiphales. Thist is one of the easier diseases to spot, as the symptoms are quite distinctive. Infected plants display white powder-like spots on the leaves and stems. They look almost as if someone tipped a spray-paint can upside down and sprayed up in the air, letting the paint “dust” or fall onto the leaves and stems. It might be identified incorrectly as dust that has accumulated on the leaves. The lower leaves are the most affected, but the mildew can appear on any part of the plant that shows above the ground. As the disease progresses, the spots get larger and thicker as massive numbers of spores form, and the mildew spreads up and down the length of the plant. In most cases this fungal growth can be partially removed by rubbing the leaves. This growth will eventually affect the fruit or flowers. Nutrients are removed from the plant by the fungus and this can result in a general decline in the growth and vigor of the plant. Severe powdery mildew infection will result in yellowed leaves, dried and brown leaves, and disfigured shoots and flowers.

Powdery mildew fungi produce airborne spores and infect plants when temperatures are moderate (60 to 80 degrees F.). It prefers high humidity; above 50% to thrive. It can spread and colonize without water being directly on the leaves.

Powdery mildew is notoriously hard to kill, and is the second most common problem that we run into with gardeners. Infection definitely depends on the location the garden is in. Higher humidity locales will encounter problems with powdery mildew more frequently than gardens in dryer enviornments. Below we list a good set of solutions for this disease.
GENERAL REMEDIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL

Temperature above 80 degrees F. will ward off powdery mildew. If using CO2 you can take your plants from their ideal 86 degrees F. to upwards of 90-92 degrees F, at the plant level, which will deter the growth of this mold. Humidity below 45% (40% is about the lowest you will want to go to avoid hurting your plants). If none of the other remedies below can be procured, sodium bicarbonate can be used. Simply mix 1 tsp. of Baking Soda, 1 quart purified water, and 1-2 drops of a soft detergent into a spray bottle and apply to any infected area. Continue re-applying every 2-3 days, or as needed.
MANAGING POWDERY MILDEW WITH GREENCURE

Developed by renowned plant pathologist, Dr. Ken Horst of Cornell University, GreenCure is a natural mildew killer. The Active Ingredient: Potassium Bicarbonate, a naturally occurring compound that is safer for the environment than other alternatives. In more than 200 university trials, GreenCure has been proven to be better than other fungicides. GreenCure uses several modes of action against mildew, which causes spores and tubes to suffer immediate and rapid water loss, thereby effectively killing the fungus. Once destroyed, the residual spore material often sloughs off or washes away. We have found GreenCure to be the most powerful spray concentrate out there. It works extremely well. If your grow space is not large enough for a sulfur burner or you just do not want to deal with the hassle, then GreenCure is your solution. Spray every week until problem no longer exists, then spray as preventive. See below.
Application of GreenCure:
Quart Sprayer – Apply 3/4 tsp (3 small scoops using the smaller of the two sides on the supplied measuring spoon) to one quart of purified (RO) water. Mix well and apply to all areas of the plant.

Gallon Sprayer- Apply 1 tbs (1 large scoop with included measuring spoon) to 1 gallon of purified RO water. Mix well and apply to all areas of plant. For severe infestations you can apply 2 times the normal dosage. (Ex. 2 tbs / gallon)

Plant Disease Prevention:

GreenCure can be used to control powdery mildew by applying 1 tablespoon per gallon of water every 1 to 2 weeks when environmental conditions are ideal for the disease. Preventing an infestation by using GreenCure will help you maintain healthy, vibrant plants.

I have a bug problem and I want to get rid of it immediately. What are my alternatives to the pesticides I see at the hardware store?

If you are concerned about environmental health or safety, you will first want to take a look at botanical options. Botanicals are pesticides which are derived from plants. They quickly degrade and are considered to be safer than common synthetic chemicals. However it is important to use them properly, just like any insecticide. Two common botanicals that you might look into are Neem and pyrethrins.

Neem is widely used in Asia and India for a number of things including brushing teeth! It contains a bitter chemical that bugs don’t like to eat, and it also acts as a growth regulator that interferes with insect reproduction. It is effective on a wide range of insects. Plus, it has very low toxicity to mammals.

Pyrethrins come from a chrysanthemum species, Dendranthema grandi-flora found in Kenya and Ecuador. Pyrethrins kill insects by interrupting their nerve impulses.
There are some sort of webby-looking things appearing on my plants. I’ve also noticed that my plants have polka-dotted discoloration in some areas. What is this and how do I fix it?

It sounds like you have spider mites. Spider mites are often found on indoor plants, and in the right temperature and humidity, their population can quickly explode out of control. If you look closely you will see tiny spider-like creatures running over the webs. The damage spider mites do looks like needle puncture marks where the mites have sucked the sap from the leaf. This damage may at first appear silver in color, or yellow, but eventually it will sink in and turn brown.

There are several alternatives to dealing with mites, and the choice you make is up to you and the number of plants you are dealing with. If you have only a few plants, you can control the mites by rinsing the plant in water, paying extra attention to the undersides of the leaves, where mites accumulate. The webs can also be broken up with blasts of water.

You may choose to use a miticide, and we carry several natural ones. Pyrethrum is an old standby and is effective against numerous pests. Another good choice is Pest Out which is 100% certified organic and is effective against spider mites, thrips and aphids. Use caution when spraying any solution on your plants; it is best to use a low dosage on a single plant first to test for any ill side effects.

To maintain control after knocking down a heavy infestation, we suggest introducing beneficial insects to your garden. As a balance of beneficals is achieved within a grow area, there is less fluctuations of pest populations. Beneficals can be released two days after the use of insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils, however residual pesticides can stick around for up to a month and will kill beneficials as well as pests.
What kind of predator mite should I use in my garden? How many do I need?

There are generally three kinds of Predatory Mites that are available. Each is specific for use against a certain kind of mite and a certain temperature and humidity. We find the most effective control is found using the Triple Threat mix of all three species. To wipe out an infestation, we recommend blasting them with 1000 predators to 50 square feet.
There are lots of tiny black flies around the base of my plants. What are these? Are they harmful?

Those little black critters are known as fungus gnats. The term refers to a large group of insects, most of which have not been extensively studied. They reproduce in moist, shaded areas in decaying organic matter like leaves and algae. The life cycle is about four weeks, with continuous reproduction when warm temperatures are maintained. Larvae not only feed on fungi and decaying organic matter, but on living plant tissue, particularly root hairs and small feeder roots. Usually, there are very few ill effects from these flies, but control is advised. After the roots have been injured, root rot may attack the plant. Entire crops have been lost in this manner. The plant symptoms may appear as sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth, yellowing, and foliage loss.

Fungus gnats can be easily controlled with a pyrethrin spray. They can also be physically captured with yellow sticky cards. A Cooperative Extension pamphlet written by A.L. Antonelli of Washington State University suggests that since fungus gnats are attracted to sprouted wheat grain, that a pot of sprouted wheat could be used as a trap crop. Antonelli recommends setting the pot in the problem area and leaving it for a few days. Female gnats will lay their eggs on this moist material and then the pot can be submerged in boiling water to kill the eggs and larvae. Alternatively the contents of this pot could be discarded outdoors. This procedure would need to be repeated every two weeks until the flies are no longer a problem.

Perhaps the most important weapon you have against fungus gnats (and all pests) is good grow room sanitation. Don’t allow decaying plant material to buildup. Always remove fallen leaves, algae, or any sort of organic material that collects around the base of plants. This material is a breeding ground for pests and diseases.
I think I have aphids. Now what?

There are so many aphid species that just about every plant has at least one species that likes it. The first thing you might notice when you have aphids is that the plants aren’t thriving or are even wilting. If you look at the growing tips of your plants or underneath young leaves, you’ll see dense colonies of tiny (I – 3 mm) soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects. Aphids feed by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into the vascular system (phloem) of the plant and sucking out the sap. This causes discoloration, curling, crinkling and wilting of leaves, and malformation and distortion of buds and shoots, leading to plant stunting and deformities and reducing the vigor of the plant. The worst thing about aphids, though, are the viruses they often transmit . The cotton aphid is known to transmit over 50 plant viruses, and the green peach aphid over 100 (Kennedy et al. 1962). They also secrete honeydew which is like a Petri dish for growing potentially fatal, sooty black mold.

Aphids reach adulthood in only a week, and they can quickly multiply into a giant problem. One adult can produce 50 to 250 young during her lifetime, depending on the host plant and its nutritional status. The nymphs can mature and begin reproducing in 7 to 10 days. The life expectancy of the adult can be from 7 to 21 days, making possible more that 30 generations per year in the greenhouse.

Aphids can be washed off with water, or sprayed with horticultural soaps and oils. Two great organic alternatives are Neem Oil and Pest Out. Pyrethrins are also highly effective. After knocking down a pest population, it is often a good idea to introduce beneficial insects or predators into the growing environment. Green Lacewings are a great choice as are aphid predators. You may want to use yellow sticky traps as a monitoring device for future infestations, although you may find that you catch more beneficials than aphids!

How do I get rid of whiteflies?

Whiteflies can be difficult to get rid of, as they are highly prolific reproducers . The species is usually parthenogenetic, meaning that the birth of young can occur without mating. The adult females lay 200 to 400 eggs on the undersides of leaves, and these young mature within 18-25 days.

You may choose to handle your infestation in several ways, and they will all work so long as you are persistent. There are several products on the market that are all organic and safe for humans. Safer’s Insecticide soap will do the trick, as will Neem Oil. A Pyrethrum-based insecticide would work as well. All of the above products are organic and can be applied up to the day of harvest. The most important thing to remember is that the treatment is a contact killer so it needs to be done once a week for three to five weeks, otherwise new bugs will hatch out and the problem returns. By applying the insecticide 3 to 5 weeks it will break the entire life cycle of the pests.
For maximum effectiveness, attack your infestation in three stages

  • Use a vacuum to suck up adults early in the morning (as soon as the lights go on). Low temperatures make them slow moving and easy to catch.
  • Use an insecticidal soap or oil in areas where the populations are very high.
  • Order Encarsia Formosa (Whitefly Parasites), releasing one to five per plant or one for every 10 square yards of plant area. You should aim for no more than one adult whitefly per leaf at time of parasite release.

Once a spider mite infestation has been controlled, how does one keep them from coming back? How and where do they come from and can they be eradicated before hitting our plants?

First of all, after control has been established over an indoor insect population the best thing to do is be vigilant, inspect your plants daily so that any eggs that were missed can be dealt with as soon as they hatch. Your plants will love you for it.

Spider mites can come with plants or cuttings that you bring to your indoor garden. Spider mites can travel on your clothes, on your shoes, on your pets, and with air currents! In order to thrive spider mites like warm, dry conditions – which generally can be found indoors. If you can lower your temperature to 70-72 degrees and/or add humidity (up to 65% depending on the type of plant) to your growing environment, pests such as spider mites may remain inactive – which means that you might see them on your plants but they won’t be doing any damage.

Greenhouse workers have been known to change their clothes and step into shallow pans of bleach water before entering a greenhouse in order to keep bugs out. Also if you have any vent openings in your indoor garden that lead to the outside, they should be screened to prevent insects from entering.

You can use the sticky substance “Tanglefoot” around the base of plants to prevent spider mites and crawling insects from moving from one plant to the next. Depending on the type of mite infestation you have, you can purchase and introduce predator mites (carnivorous mites) that will eat the spider mites that are harming your plants.

Spraying your plants with an oil-based spray (turn your lights off or raise them very high up until the plants are dry), will help protect the plant against an insect infestation. Weekly sprayings with Azatrol or Einstein Oil (sometimes every 2-3 days) can help control an insect infestation if one happens to gain a footing on the plants.
Do you have any suggested rates for azatrol in a recirculating float system for lettuce?

Yes. We run Azatrol now at ½ the bottle rate. 1 oz. (6tsp/or 30mL) per 20 gallons.
The manufacturer’s suggested rate is 1oz per 10 Gallons. We find this to be way too strong.

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