Spokane, WA - With the passage of I502 in WA state decriminalizing possession of an ounce of cannabis or less and the implementation of a regulated recreational retail sales program, the marijuana industry has grown in leaps and bounds measured in billions of dollars. What was once a cottage business supplying medical marijuana dispensaries is now big agriculture and big-profit business.
Anyone who has ever grown marijuana knows that infestations can kill or damage an entire crop.
In a matter of days mold, different types of mites, thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, and other nasty buggers can wreak havoc in the entire garden causing heavy financial loss.
Thus the very common use of pesticides.
The WA State Liquor & Cannabis Board approved over 200 different pesticides growers can use to keep the bugs at bay. Big problem. Random sampling of cannabis sold in retail stores are testing positive for pesticide residue. Some industry insiders estimate that possibly up to 70% of the pot legally sold in stores have some level of pesticide contamination.
This is becoming a bigger problem as lawsuits flood the courts in WA & CO. No one wants to smoke or ingest pesticides. It is fast approaching a huge disaster for commercial growers when medical marijuana is folded into the WA state recreational system on July 1, 2016.
Casey Connell of Contender Agriculture has the solution.
At a recent Marijuana Entrepreneurs MeetUp in Spokane, WA, Connell outlined the ecosystem he has worked out for pest control management over the past few years of collective medical marijuana growing. It is simpler than you think and more complicated than you can imagine.
Instead of pesticides to kill bad bugs, Connell uses their natural predator. For example, Amblyseius Fallacis and Phytoseiulus Persimilis eat spider mites , Amblyseius Andrsoni love broad mites, Aphidius Colemani scout and destroy Aphids and Nemasys Steinernema Feltiae eat the larval stages of fungus gnats as well as adult and pupal stages of western flower thrips.
These insects are released into the soil and foliage throughout the growing cycle and are so effective in what they do there is no need for pesticides. Not only is this a safe and consumer-friendly system of pest control, it is also economical to use on large grows.
Preventing dangerous insects.
Connell also explained that not spraying anything including water on the plants, keeping the grow rooms clean. Making sure the plants are healthy and hardy also go a long way to preventing bad bugs and pathogens from becoming established and reproducing. Temperature, humidity, the regions where cannabis are grown are also factors to consider.
Connell will be speaking at a conference for cannabis growers in early 2016.
Casey Connell can be reached at [email protected]
The Spokane & Eastern WA Marijuana Business Networking MeetUp gathers every 3rd Wednesday evening in downtown Spokane. For more information visit http://www.meetup.com/Spokane-Eastern-WA-Marijuana-Business-Networking