Pests can do incredible damage to your outdoor weed plants when left unattended. The amount of different insects that could infest your planting area is as diverse as the ways for dealing with it. Every grower figures out what works best for them according to their location, ethics, and budget.

So which insects will affect your outdoor cannabis plants the most, and what is the best way to deal with them? Continue reading this article for more information.

Outdoor pest control for cannabis plants

Ladybug for weed plants

Contrary to what you might assume, it’s much easier to deal with pests outdoors than if you are growing your marijuana plants indoors. This is for one simple reason: indoors, your plants are the sole source of food for pests, making it easy to have an infestation grow and spread quickly.

Outdoors, on the other hand, already has a natural ecosystem to maintain balance. Insects reside in the soil, on leaves, and everywhere else, but they won’t get out of control because the ecosystem keeps everything well-balanced.

Because cannabis is a fast-growing plant, any damage caused by insects or other pests will quickly be repaired from the plant’s own natural response. Cannabis’ vegetative phase is the period when it can heal itself. Your plants are the most easily damaged when they are very young. Therefore, it is most important to take preventative action during this time, as the negative consequences of a pest invasion is that much more important.

Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more about bugs and pests

You have a lot to pay attention to during the first two months of your plants’ growth. Be sure to pay equal attention to ensuring that pests don’t get your plants, alongside all the other issues you are dealing with to ensure a healthy, strong beginning to your plants’ growing season.

So which insects might cause you the most trouble? You should focus the most on slugs, snails, caterpillars, leaf-eating insects, and beetles. The methods for repelling these insects span from natural to artificial or chemical pesticides or repellants. Since the flowers are being produced for your own consumption, you have to pay extra care to know exactly what chemicals you are putting on your plants or in your soil. A product like marijuana plant protector is developed specially for marijuana plants.

Using predators for cannabis pest control

Natural perdators for weed

Creatures that are predators are more than just lions and tigers and bears. Lady bugs, praying mantises, and lacewings are all examples of predators you can use to your advantage when dealing with outdoor plant pests. Because they are so widely used in the gardening world, you can purchase them commercially. They are often bred specifically for this purpose, so they should not be too difficult to find (you can buy live ladybugs or lacewings at this link)

When discussing it with a breeder, you should be able to get some information such as how to use the insects as efficiently and effectively as possible, as well as which pests they can be expected to eat. If you know what type of insects are usually the most problematic in your growing site location, then this information is particularly helpful. If you have a small cannabis garden, however, don’t count on this being an effective method of controlling pests, as the predators won’t have enough food to maintain them.

Insects aren’t the only type of predator you can use for this purpose. If your grow site is located close to a river or stream, you might find success from using frogs, turtles, and lizards to ward off other insects. You can do this simply by leaving food for them near your grow site every once in a while. Birds can be used in a similar way, encouraging them to visit with birdseed and bird feeders.

Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips

While you are dealing with a pest problem, don’t lose track of the fact that you need to maintain secrecy and subtlety at all times. If your grow site is teeming with insects and other animals, it might attract attention. As long as you respect the surrounding environment for how it is naturally, your cannabis plants will remain safe and won’t have problems growing.

During the first two months, as you are watering and paying attention to the myriad other problems that might be hindering growth, make sure that pests are kept under control. The insects that you’ll want to pay the most attention to are slugs, snails, caterpillars, leaf-eating insects, and beetles. There are a few different means by which you can control these pests, using natural and artificial pesticides and repellents. Obviously, since you are going to be smoking the flowers of these plants later, you want to pay special attention to the chemicals with which you treat them.

Organic insecticides for weed plants

Organic Insecticides weed

Today you can easily find both nonorganic and organic insecticides because of the success of the organic movement. How do organic insecticides work if they don’t contain chemicals? They function through copying the effects of a plant’s natural pesticides. They are more effective than the plant simply because they are far more concentrated.

Because of its superior strength, pyrethrum is extremely popular amongst growers who use organic insecticides. It can work against a large variety of different pests. Some store-bought insecticides need to be diluted with water while others do not; be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Even though organic insecticides don’t contain chemicals, they still can kill beneficial insects and mammals along with the harmful ones. They could even kill those predators that you have been using to keep the pests away! Therefore, you have to remember to use any kind of pesticide, organic or no, as little as possible.

Unless your outdoor cannabis plants are being completely destroyed by pests, you shouldn’t use much at all. You should also be decreasing your use of pesticides as time goes on; the more mature your plant is, the more effective its own natural defenses are, so you shouldn’t need to use any pesticides at all once they are fully mature.

Homemade bug spray for weed plants

Homemade bug spray for weed

You can go one more step back from organic insecticides and use remedies that you make yourself at home to protect your young cannabis plants from harmful pests. Try diluting two tablespoons of soap in a gallon of water and misting your plants with it. It should be evenly applied to your entire plant. Make sure that you let it sit for a couple of minutes and then spray the entire plant with normal water to wash off the soap since it could damage the plant if left there for too long.

Download my free marijuana grow guide for more outdoor pest control

This isn’t the only home remedy that can be commonly used by growers. You can find many more recipes online, especially on homeopathic gardening sites. Garlic mixtures, for instance, have beetle repelling properties, while adding alcohol to the above soapy water solution keeps snails and slugs away.

Be careful with these recipes, however; alcohol can strip your plant of its beneficial resin production. Make sure you follow the home remedy instructions exactly, paying special attention to the quantity you put on the plant, how long it should remain on the plant, what exactly the purpose of it is, and how much you should dilute it. More tips and tricks to control pests in the article Marijuana pest control

Companion planting for cannabis pest control

Companion planting for weed insects

Most plants that are able to grow in the wild have evolved to have a toxin-producing ability that repels many pests. You can use other types of plants with this same ability to control pests. It is an effective way to accomplish the same thing while avoiding the use of insecticides completely.

Mints, cabbages, and odorous plants such as onions are all examples of types of plants that repel many different kinds of aphids and beetles. Onions have the additional quality of repelling rabbits and deer. As for leaf-eating insects and insects that bore (such as worms or beetles), try geraniums and marigolds.

This type of gardening is called “companion planting.” It is not only useful for repelling pests, but also for camouflaging your cannabis growing area. The companion plants need to be planted close to your cannabis, but not so close that they cause competition for water and nutrients. They can also be mixed right in with your cannabis for full effectiveness.

These companion plants add an extra element of gardening, as you will have to learn how to grow them and maintain their health effectively. Be sure you have a complete understanding of how to grow these other plants, and make sure you choose ones that would naturally grow in the area anyway.

If you do that, your companion plants will have a better chance of survival and camouflage, and they will do a better job of repelling pesky insects. You should be able to find this information online, at a nursery, or from the same source where you buy your marijuana seeds from.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.


The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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  1. By Tilga ,19 Sep 2012
    I do not even understand how I finished up here, however I believed this post was once great. I don't recognise who you might be but definitely you are going to a famous blogger in the event you aren't already. […]Read More
  2. By toni hulett ,13 Oct 2013
    i was looking for info on hydroponically grown mary jane....i may have gnat larvae and was wondering what i could do?i dont see much here. Thank you
  3. By justin ,28 Aug 2014
    i have a 1.5-2month old girl taken outdoor from indoor, just in the 2 days of being outdoor ive seen an inprovement, now that im outdoor, what would you recommend for a pesticide?
    1. By Joe ,31 Mar 2017
      Please never use pesticide on cannabis.
  4. By Kathryn ,25 Jun 2015
    The girls were germinated indoors and doing well outdoors. Tha largest plant is 3', down to 12". "Gold Leaf" is doing well here...so far. No pests so far! I live in S.E Alaska.
  5. By Stop Whiteflies On Marijuana Plants Now! ,13 Nov 2015
    […] Companion planting is an excellent, natural way to stop whitefly attacks. Planting zinnia inside your plants along with the aforementioned marigolds will push them out of your yard and onto someone else’s. […]
  6. By Rsymond ,09 Feb 2016
    Hi my name is Raymond I just have one question. When is the best or right time to plant?
  7. By latewood.ILGM ,16 Feb 2016
    Raymond. It is best to plant when you have prepared for the entire grow. I have to assume outdoors as you gave me no info. Outdoors we plant after there is no chance of "frost". It is best to develop […]Read More
    1. By SunGrown ,27 Jul 2016
      make sure there is enough sunlight to leave them in veg cycle. if not you will bud-then stretch-then bud again and will not have the best results.
      1. By Mogie ,19 Feb 2017
        A plant can stretch because it is not close enough to it's lighting source. You need 18 hours of light for the veg cycle. Less then 18 hours (approximately) can put a plant into flower.
    2. By Mogie ,19 Feb 2017
      It is actually recommended to harden your plants first. Do this by taking them outside for a few hours of natural sun light everyday. This will slowly get them used to the outdoors.
  8. By NUGSRGOOD ,08 Jun 2016
    I have an auto that has gone crazy and this am I Noticed a green caterpillar. this girl is in serious flower and ready to come down soon. to late for organic spray?? triches are cloudy so???
  9. By Jessica Thompson ,13 Sep 2016
    Thank u so very much for this info as I was up in arms trying figure out what to use , so many things to choose from. Glad to hear I just need some ladybugs etc. And marigold to add […]Read More
  10. By Jeffro ,24 Sep 2016
    I just got my order of ladybugs today 1500 for 12 dollars. I am told they will eat all the mites they can find and hopefully eat the eggs or live long enough to eat the remaining adults. thanks for […]Read More
  11. By Michelle ,17 Oct 2016
    Something keeps eating the tops off my seedlings but not the stems,will they reshoot again and what is eating them?
  12. By latewood.ILGM ,18 Oct 2016
    Once the top of seedlings is eaten by a pest. The plant is done. We cannot guess and answer what is eating your plants. You need to locate the pest or pet and inform us of what you find. Sorry […]Read More
  13. By zunique1 ,06 Jan 2017
    hi im first time grower and am doing them outdoors have noticed that they have bugs like white fluffy aphids im guessing wats the best thing to do as i've noticed that i hae buds starting out
    1. By Roy ILGM ,06 Jan 2017
      Hi Zuniquel, have you checked our symptom checkers? If you can't figure it out there I advise you to hop on our support forum and post some pictures. Our experts there can help you out.
  14. By gary ,19 Jan 2017
    do you sell and send seeds to australia.if so please tell me how to on your site i have attemted to order some but am having no luck
    1. By Roy ILGM ,20 Jan 2017
      Hi Gary, we sell and send seeds to Australia on a daily basis. Best check with [email protected] if you're having trouble ordering.
  15. By Zach ,11 Jul 2017
    doesn't the mint for companion grow attract butterflys? and I don't want those right? due to catapillers
    1. By latewood.ILGM ,17 Jul 2017
      Zach, Never had an issue with Butterfly's. One thought is that have already transformed, before they were attracted. Mint should not really be used unless you need to deter "Deer". Or; Just want some for spice.
  16. By Mike ,14 Jul 2017
    Any home remedies for mold , fungus. Outdoor plnts getting a brownish/grey looks like a mold in buds ? Thanks.
    1. By latewood.ILGM ,17 Jul 2017
      MIke, Best way to get help in this type of instance is to join our forum, and read up on all the issues and remedies shared by our members. POsting pictures of the plant is the best way to get […]Read More
  17. By Jeremy ,27 Sep 2019
    Hi! I’m contacting you because we’re getting a lot of annual pest control contract requests and we currently don’t have a Pest Control Professional in your area to send them to. Reply with a quick “Yes” with your best phone […]Read More
  18. By Hector ,22 Jun 2020
    Very helpful for someone like me that’s a starter in marijuana growing .
  19. By peter ,27 Jun 2020
    You said, "Even though organic insecticides don’t contain chemicals, "... This is dangerous misinformation. Just because something is organic doesn't mean that it's safe, and EVERYTHING is a chemical. In the case of pyrethrum which you mentioned, pyrethrum is just […]Read More
  20. By ross ,24 Jul 2020
    can i add onion and garlic to my tomato leaves for a spay for aphids on my plants
  21. By Bill Carter ,17 Sep 2020
    Found a green worm on one of my buds today. I found your site while searching for a natural way to protect my plants.
  22. By Annette Womack ,02 Jan 2021
    How do I protect my outside grow from neighboring pesticide spraying (drift).

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