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Hi guys!

My parents have grown outdoor plants a few times over the years where I'm planning on growing next year and EVERY SINGLE YEAR they get caterpillars and end up having to dump half of the flowers. Are there any natural deterrents for them? I really don't like the idea of spraying shit on my plants, is there something else I could plant in the area to keep them away?

 

thanks guys

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Maybe birds? I used to have some nice outdoor flower gardens, and I had a lot of bird feeders and types of flowers that attract birds, they love to eat caterpillars. :) Might be some plants that you could companion plant that they like better then cannabis?

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I toyed with the idea of bird feeders but unfortunately I live near a river out in the countryside and I'm worried that the feeders may end up attracting rats and other nasty things that my cat does her best to keep away. A friend of mine told me that ladybirds eat caterpillar larva so I'll have to find a way to get more of them in my garden. Thank you for your suggestion:)

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If you're vigilant, you can do a lot yourself by inspecting your plants a few times a day. The caterpillars come from moths. The first year I grew here I got some bud rot before I knew what was causing it. Once I realized it was moths, it made it much easier to deal with this year, and I think we actually had more. 

I was nervous enough this year that I was looking for the moths ahead of time. I noticed them around the end of august and they go for a month or so. They're sort of a white moth a little bigger than a quarter. Once you notice them flying around all day you want to start checking the plants every day a few times. I would physically shake the plant a little and moths would come out sometimes. It seems like if you keep them agitated they don't have a chance to mate and lay eggs before you shake them out.

Towards the end of flowering, when the buds are dense, it's a good idea to get curious on the ones growing close to the stem and places the worms can hide. I found only one this year and he was only 1/4 inch long so never got big enough to do any damage. It seemed to work for me. I saw tons of moths and I caught them landing on plants and some were already inside but get shaken out and on their way. 

 

For here it seems the moths come out around mid flower. If you can remember to notice them flying around then, you can make it much harder on them. and, no pesticides. Best vibes with it! peace

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I don't know how many plants you grow or how large they become.   But, would it be possible to screen the plants off with some kind of mesh, small enough to thwart the moths but thin enough to allow good light penetration?

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BT, the same stuff you spray for fungas gnats.  some add a fungus to it to that messes them up.

This is a good one, exampleL http://www.gardensafe.com/products/insecticide/bt-worm-and-caterpillar-killer.aspx

you might want to treat areas around your plants too.

 

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On 10/30/2019 at 5:16 PM, Mr Goodfellow said:

If you're vigilant, you can do a lot yourself by inspecting your plants a few times a day. The caterpillars come from moths. The first year I grew here I got some bud rot before I knew what was causing it. Once I realized it was moths, it made it much easier to deal with this year, and I think we actually had more. 

I was nervous enough this year that I was looking for the moths ahead of time. I noticed them around the end of august and they go for a month or so. They're sort of a white moth a little bigger than a quarter. Once you notice them flying around all day you want to start checking the plants every day a few times. I would physically shake the plant a little and moths would come out sometimes. It seems like if you keep them agitated they don't have a chance to mate and lay eggs before you shake them out.

Towards the end of flowering, when the buds are dense, it's a good idea to get curious on the ones growing close to the stem and places the worms can hide. I found only one this year and he was only 1/4 inch long so never got big enough to do any damage. It seemed to work for me. I saw tons of moths and I caught them landing on plants and some were already inside but get shaken out and on their way. 

 

For here it seems the moths come out around mid flower. If you can remember to notice them flying around then, you can make it much harder on them. and, no pesticides. Best vibes with it! peace

That makes a lot of sense, I did notice a lot of them last year when I went to visit my parents but I think my dad only started checking the plants when they were already good and fat, the caterpillars were massive lol. I'll definitely keep this in mind, I'd much prefer to do it naturally then to spray even organic stuff on my babies

 

12 hours ago, Hempyfan said:

BT, the same stuff you spray for fungas gnats.  some add a fungus to it to that messes them up.

This is a good one, exampleL http://www.gardensafe.com/products/insecticide/bt-worm-and-caterpillar-killer.aspx

you might want to treat areas around your plants too.

 

I'm still gonna get this though, do you know if they can become immune over time? Because I have quite a vivid garden and invincible caterpillars would devastate it

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I would do both as well. If you are successful in spotting them early when they start flying all around, it easy. I just made a point to check the plants every day because I knew all about them now. 

I suppose it may work as a deterrent but I know another fiend in LA who is battling them as they have them all year long. She's using BT but without much success. She uses it a few times a week and it seems like she said it's only effective for one day and then you have to spray again. I'm not sure about that, Hempy probably knows. 

But, if you can lessen the sting early by keeping them from getting started, it would be better. Of course this is all relative because my moth environment is surely different than other people's.

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They work, I am not aware of them becoming immune to it but I would not say its not a possibility.

Its uses several tactics to hit at them.

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identify the major ones and then understand their life cycle, then look around the area of your plants and treat accordingly.  This is why I speculate that at least in part is the reason BT is not as successful for some as it is for others.  Outdoors it is not as long lasting.

Also I should of mentioned spinosad products.  It can kill on contact and wont mess with the good bugs.

Quote

I am pretty sure they are bee friendly but not 100% on that one..

I was wrong, thank you Desert Grown, Spinosad is not bee friendly.   

 

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Spinosad, similar to Bt., is a soil-dwelling bacterium that will kill many non-beneficial, as well as, many beneficial insects when applied as a spray. Once it has dried, it will only kill insects that eat it on any plant material. Spinosad is also known to kill bees.

Bt is also a soil-dwelling bacterium that only targets immature larva of beetles, moths, black flies and mosquitoes and must be eaten to work. Once eaten, the crystal protein is digested by the larva and begins to shut the insect down from the inside out, creating a toxin that eats holes in their stomachs and kills them. 

There are many types/variations of Bt that are used for controlling/killing specific insects.

For example:

Bt. var 'isrealensis' only targets and kills the larva of certain flies and mosquitoes.

Bt. var 'kurstaki' only targets and kills caterpillars.

 

I've been an outdoor grower since 1980 and I see moths/caterpillars every year... some years good, some bad and some really bad!

If you see moths around your plants, keep an eye on them and look for their eggs under leaves and on the stems of the plant. Rub/wash off the eggs you find and keep looking, there's bound to be more! Pick off all caterpillars you see and kill them.

Harvest time outdoors can be crazy with all the things that come around at end cycle just to eat your plants before you can harvest them. 

 

 

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All of this is wonderful advice, thanks guys. I guess it's mostly going to come down to how the year plays out and how vigilant I can be. I'll get that BT product, been reading some reviews, although I will be staying the hell away from bee-murderers.

 

Also, I have a theory forming. The plants are in a secluded area of my parents garden, around the side of the house. On the other side of the house we have a sort of live-in outdoor cave, which is essentially an open concept outdoor kitchen that we put in underneath the balcony. My parents often sit out there at night with the lights on, and you would not believe the amount of moths/mosquitos/bugs that this attracts. Now, this is on the complete other side of the house, but maybe it's close enough to somehow increase the amount of moths attracted to my plants? I'm most likely speaking out of my ass here, but my parents' house is smack dab in the middle of nowhere so when there's lights on outside at night, I'm pretty sure moths can see it from a couple of km away.

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What types of plants do your parents have in their yard?

The reason I ask is because moths are not only attracted to any kind of light source, but they are also attracted to plants that emit a scent at night.

Night-scented plants, like honeysuckle,  jasmine, evening primrose, ect. attract moths with their fragrance and these plants rely on moths to pollinate them. Plants that bloom at night are most often pollinated by moths.

Any terpene profile that consists of sweet ripe fruit or fermented sugar may attract moths. Cannabis may exhibit and release these types of terpene profiles during the night.

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I noticed that. And, that some plants attracted them and others right around it never did. So, I believe they do release something that attracts them. I have plants all around, but they gravitated to a couple of pot plants almost daily. The one plant that I would always find a moth or two inside in the morning was a GG#4 x Sour Bubble. Not sweet but it was very frosty and it had dense buds which they seem to like, too.

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Trichomes are the best defense against insects/crawling pests that the cannabis plant can muster. After a few heads become broken, the bug gets caught in a stickiness that there is no escape from. Starvation and death are certain.

However, caterpillars don't normally get stuck in the stickiness of broken trichomes... I've seen dead caterpillars stuck in buds and had to pull them out, but it's rare. 

The smaller caterpillars like to eat their way up through the center of your flowers, making sure you have dead spots in your colas.  Make sure you check out every cola thoroughly, checking in between the buds down to each little stem... also be on the lookout for little black droppings where you've noticed damage... a sure sign your plant has caterpillars in it.

Larger caterpillars may be seen eating on the outside of your plant. If you find black droppings on your flowers and/or leaves or major leaf damage they won't be far away!                                          Once your eyes get used to their color and shape, they're pretty easy to spot... the damage they create is hard to miss!.

If you happen to be blue/green color blind, then they should stand out like a sore thumb against the background of the plant. 

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Yep, yep, to all of that. Spot on. Once you realize how to spot the signs it's hard to not notice. Gotta be a detective with your plants like Desert says. I was so paranoid this year that I started noticing when the first ones started flying around. They come at the end of summer here. The small black poop is a good way to see it for sure, but if you see poop, you've already lost some bud. Best to get them early and prevent the them from mating in your plants.

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