With cannabis legalization spreading to new states each year, more and more growers are looking to this crop as the next big — and profitable — opportunity. But one thing they quickly realize is that, unlike other crops, cannabis has an extremely limited tool kit of available products that can be legally used to manage insects and diseases.
A new half-day workshop following the conclusion of the Biocontrols USA West Conference & Expo will offer growers actionable solutions. In Cannabis Production: The Biocontrols Basics workshop on Friday, March 15, presenters Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting and Matthew Krause from BioWorks will walk attendees through an in-depth discussion of biological options to some of these most pressing cannabis pest issues. We asked Wainwright-Evans to talk about some of what growers will learn in the workshop that they can take home and put to use this season.
Q: Why is biological control such an important tool for managing insect pests and diseases in cannabis crops?
Wainwright-Evans: Because of state regulations, many conventional and even some Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)-listed pesticides cannot be used in cannabis. Biological control offers a way to manage pests that meet many of the states’ regulations. For example, beneficials (insects, mites, and nematodes) can be applied while workers are in the facility, so there’s no loss of work time.
Q: As a consultant, you visit a lot of growing facilities. What are some of the most challenging insect pests and diseases you’re seeing in cannabis production, and are there good biological control solutions for them?
Wainwright-Evans: I see a lot of mites, aphids, thrips, and fungus gnats. For most of these, we have good biocontrol options. But in some cases, like hemp russet mite, we have to do a combination program of sprays for knock down and biological control to help get the pest under control.
Q: What are a couple of surprising things attendees will learn in the Cannabis Production: The Biocontrols Basics workshop that they won’t get anywhere else?
Wainwright-Evans: Growers coming to the workshop will learn what is really going on in growing facilities around the country and how growers are managing pests, what is working, and what’s not. They will also learn about the most current pests we are finding. We will also share actionable information about biological control of diseases on cannabis, a subject that is not often addressed.
This year’s workshop is nearing a sellout, but there are still a few seats left. To reserve your spot, register here today.