Crickets and grasshoppers are a particularly damaging pest to marijuana plants, especially when it comes to field crickets and mole crickets. You will know it’s a field cricket by its brown or black color and between one and 1.5 inch-long body.
They are a type of insect, meaning they have six legs, and their antennae are particularly long. Their back legs are the strong legs, as they are used to launch the cricket into the air and travel a far distance.
Dangers of crickets and grasshoppers
While plenty of people love the soothing chirp of the field cricket, to growers of marijuana it is a reminder of the destruction of their plants. This destruction comes from the fact that field crickets are omnivores, so they aren’t picky when it comes to food. Insects and plants alike are at risk from this hungry omnivore.
Like with any plants that are considered a weed, marijuana is one of their favorite meals. If you’re a gardener who wants to keep weeds away, this is a great attribute. If you’re someone who grows marijuana for a living (like any marijuana grower), then this is a serious problem.
In particular, field crickets love marijuana seedlings. If they happen upon your marijuana garden, they will completely devastate your crop. As nocturnal creatures, they feed during the night, so you could go to bed with happy, healthy plants and wake up to Ground Zero.
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Mole crickets also feed during the night – and they are extra sneaky because they generally live below ground. They couldn’t look more different from a field cricket if they tried. They are hideous and light brown, with fat, segmented bodies. They also have wings as well as hand-like claws on their front legs. In general, when people think of a cricket they picture a field cricket, not a mole cricket.
Mole crickets don’t have any natural predators in the US. This is simply because they are an invasive species, having been brought to the country on transport ships. The closest thing they have to a predator is a parasitic wasp that lays its egg in a mole cricket’s body. When the egg hatches, it eats its way out of the body, thus killing the host mole cricket.
Like field crickets, mole crickets are omnivores and are therefore not picky about what they eat. The most harmful mole crickets eat roots and shoots of plants. They also love to eat marijuana seedlings, which could be a terrible thing for your marijuana crop.
Signs of crickets and grasshoppers
If you hear the chirping of the field cricket, that means they are matured and ready for reproduction. This is exactly the time when it could start becoming a problem, and the moment when you should begin arming yourself for a field cricket problem.
Mole crickets get their name from their habitat style. Like moles, they create mounds of dirt where they live underground. These mounds can attract animals like raccoons, armadillos, birds, rats, skunks, and foxes. They recognize the mound as the home of a delicious treat, so they dig it up in search of a tasty mole cricket.
While this may seem like it could help you, it actually just causes more problems for your marijuana plants. These tunnels and burrows break up the soil around your plants and their roots. If the larger creatures come, they will also dig up the soil around your marijuana plants, therefore causing further damage. You may also be able to identify cricket damage to your plants by the brown patches that are left there.
How to get rid of crickets and grasshoppers
Mix together one gallon of water with a few teaspoons of dish soap. You should pour this concoction onto one or two square feet of the surrounding soil. Do this either in the evening or early morning (before the sun comes up). Mole crickets that are present will come to the top of the soil.
You can try adding beneficial nematodes to your soil in order to deal with the problem organically. It should be already prevented if you prepared the site with organic compost. If you have noticed crickets anyway, add a thin layer of compost to your grow area.
Marijuana plant symptoms
- Presence of crickets or grasshoppers
- Tunnels or mounds in the ground
- Presence of other mammals
- Brown blemishes on plants
- Seedling damage
- Cricket chirping
For a fun (and off-topic) fact about cricket chirping: you can actually use the call of a male field cricket to find out the current temperature! You simply count the number of chirps that happen within thirty seconds, then add forty to that number. That should be very close to the actual outside temperature. Try it sometime to see what the temperature of your grow area is!
Remember that plants with strong genetics are less vulnerable to pests and diseases. Make sure to buy high-quality cannabis seeds from a trusted seed bank.
FAQs About Crickets and Grasshopper on Weed
If you notice some tunnels or mounds in the ground, brown blemishes on plants, seedling damage and hear cricket chirping, your marijuana plants are most likely infested by these pests.
Try to pour some water and dish soap solution on the surrounding soil of your plants to get crickets to the top of the soil. Adding organic compost to your grow area is also an effective way to deal with these creatures.
Have you dealt with crickets and grasshoppers on your cannabis plants? Share your experience in the comments!