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Root Aphids


PsyCLown
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Hey all,

 

So I recently noticed I have a bit of a problem... Yipp, found¬†some root aphids on my cutting.¬†ūüėĘ

 

A bit of research and it seems I am in for a bit of hell trying to get rid of them.

Starting this post to see if there is perhaps something I have missed or to possibly help someone else in future who ends up with these pests.

 

Firstly, root aphids are not easy to notice as they attach to the roots and generally we do not see the roots of our plants very often as they're covered by the medium we grow in. So noticing you have a problem can often be the first problem - the quicker you can start taking action the better.

Root aphids seem to take multiple shape, one of their forms include wings and inside your tent they can appear to look like fungus gnats flying around. So if you think you have fungus gnats but they just aren't dieing like you're used to, it may be root aphids!

Common symptoms show as deficiencies in your plants, yellowing leaves and purple stems. By the time you notice this, you already have an infestation.

 

So now on to how to get rid of them - well, I am busy trying to figure this out for myself.

Also part of the reason I created this thread, perhaps I can get some advice from you fellow growers.

Natural remedies such as removing by hand, spraying with water are pretty much out of the question. Since they live in the medium (coco / soil), foliar sprays are rather useless unless they are systemic sprays and most of the time those can be problematic. Not all are safe to spray on cannabis.

 

So a bit of research points to the following:

  • Soil drench of Pyrethrum / pyrethrins / pyrethroids (Like Pyrol, Xterminator and many other products) - this can be hard on the plants and burn them. This is a contact killer generally and will not wipe out the entire lot of root aphids but should reduce the population heavily... if you are willing to risk your plants.
  • Soil drench of Azadirachtin (Bio-Neem) - A good weapon to have and use it seems, will help stop them from growing and shedding and some may not eat either. So can help reduce the colony and kill off majority of them over a few days and help stop them from shedding and growing and from eating. Will not kill all of them.
  • Beauveria bassiana (Bio-Insek) - Seems to be a very good option. This is a fungus,¬†you receive this product as spores (either in powder form or in a pre-mixed liquid). Typically it is used as a foliar spray but will need to be used as a soil drench in this application to try get it into the medium and onto the root aphids where they will hopefully get infected and infect the others and possibly kill the entire colony over a period of time. Works well when used in combination with Bio-Neem.
  • Metarhizium (Bio-Insek)¬†- This is also a fungus, one which lives in soil and targets certain types of insects (this specific one targets aphids). It will kill the insects on contact, however trying to source some locally is a bit of an issue - I have reached out to Real IPM to see if they can assist. Used in combination with Beauveria bassiana, will hopefully kill all of them within a few weeks.

Both Beauveria Bassiana and Metarhizium need to be able to target the root aphids, you get different strains of each.

  • Acephate (Orthene) - Systemic and debatable as to how safe it is to use on cannabis. Often used on edible crops and tobacco though. When used on tobacco, does not appear to be as effective against the darker root aphids. Not sure it is worth using if you want to go systemic.
  • Imidacloprid - Systemic and has a very very long half life in water without light (1 to 3 years). General consensus is that it is not safe to use on cannabis crops, although once again a bit of debate around this. Some seem to suggest it would be safe to use on mother plants and consume (eat &¬†smoke)¬†the bud from cuttings taken from the mother plant, after Imidacloprid has been given to the mother. Really not something I am comfortable risking. Seems to be a sure way of getting rid of the root aphids one time and majority of other pests you may have.

Update 18 August 2021: Some more info I found on Imidacloprid seem to suggest that it will be out of cannabis within 60 days, however this is not based on any specific research which I could find. From the info I can find, the dose also has an effect on how long it will remain active in the plants for and the duration will vary depending on your crop. No specific information on cannabis though, it is used on tobacco which is also smoked but once again it is a different crop. It is also used on animals - cats, dogs, livestock however as a spot on / pour on / shampoo. Ingestion is only toxic at very high doses for humans and most animals.

 

So going to be trying some Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium and neem as my initial attempt at getting rid of these root aphids failed unfortunately. It makes life a bit easier that I have a rooted cutting with the aphids on, so I can try on there and monitor and see if it works and how well it works. A control of sorts.

 

I am not sure where I got it from, everyone I received cuttings from has checked and does not have root aphids. The plugs were new and from GTH but the packaging was damaged so it is a possibility but cannot confirm it.
Could have just been from the garden and they walked in, who knows...

 

If anyone has tried and tested methods or something I have missed, I am all ears! ūüėĄ¬†

Edited by PsyCLown
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I'd off the top of my head, say a soil drench with Neem and then hit the room, tent, floor and possibly even the roots you can get to or see, with peroxide (soil drench too) and then follow with KHC03. 

Might not be the best or even work, but what my mind is thinking without any research. 

Edited by The_StonedTrooper
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Hydrogen Peroxide only kills the larvae and you gotta leave it and let the medium sit in it for a while.

Not an ideal solution and quite risky getting the concentration just right to kill them and not damage the plants, will kill anything else in the medium too.

 

Nematodes are also a possibility, works well in combination with Beavaria Bassania to help spread it apparently. Finding the right nematodes locally is probably not easy and not a solution to eradicate them either.

 

Oh, Eco Insect Control by Effekto is what I tried initially but so far does not seem to be killing them on contact but did a drench of it and will continue to monitor. Works well with Beauveria bassiana though so hopefully a combination of the 3 (bio-neem too) will help me get rid of them.

 

Otherwise, then I need to look towards Plan B...

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Cinnamon powder mixed into the soil before use takes care of fungus gnat and similar related issues.

Try sprinkling some on top of your soil and maybe it will work it's way into the soil when watering.

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Ooooh how I hate that word root aphids. They are hard to notice and not so easy to kill. I did try neem as drench and pyrol and it did seem to help somewhat but because I was in veg I just ended up trasplaning into new soil. I'm keen to find out if any of the other methods work

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Diatomaceous earth is just going to stop them from coming to the surface, also when wet it's kak.

I actually tried some of that Margaret Roberts stuff for fungus gnats but doesn't make a difference, thought I did have fungus gnats initially.

I believe Cinnamon kills fungus and I'm planning on using fungus to help kill these root aphids, so not going to risk it.

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45 minutes ago, PsyCLown said:

Diatomaceous earth is just going to stop them from coming to the surface, also when wet it's kak.

I actually tried some of that Margaret Roberts stuff for fungus gnats but doesn't make a difference, thought I did have fungus gnats initially.

I believe Cinnamon kills fungus and I'm planning on using fungus to help kill these root aphids, so not going to risk it.

Conundrum¬†ūü§Ē

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So I spoke to two people today - guy from Real IPM and Jamie from Jamies Garden Shop, went into quite a bit of detail with the guy from Real IPM.

However both seemed to think along the same route as what I was thinking - soil drench is a must and a combination of Bio-Insek (Beavaria Bassiana & Metarhizium) along with some Bio-Neem would work well.

 

Metarhizium - not sure which strain and whether this strain attacks aphids, Real IPM have a strain of Met which is specific for Aphids but quite pricey at around R1600 for 1L which is the smallest quantity. Lasts upto 12 months in a fridge only.

Once again, different strains of Beavaria Bassiana exist and whether these strains target aphids is another question but worth a shot and bio-neem is a good idea to help keep the root aphids under control for a while and help knock the population down a bit.

 

Frequent soil drenches will be required. This is not going to be cheap to treat. Should get my stuff tomorrow hopefully.

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On 7/19/2021 at 8:58 PM, CreX said:

Perhaps a too low a dose was used

I got rid of worms and larvae in my Coco by mixing 1.5 ml eco insect control and alternating the drench with bio neem at 2 ml. I adjusted the pH to 6 for improved efficacy.

When you use these liquids as on the soil they are absorbed by the roots and act as systemic pesticides. I rotated the drenches for 3 weeks and eliminated the issue. 

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52 minutes ago, Twix Aphen said:

I got rid of worms and larvae in my Coco by mixing 1.5 ml eco insect control and alternating the drench with bio neem at 2 ml. I adjusted the pH to 6 for improved efficacy.

When you use these liquids as on the soil they are absorbed by the roots and act as systemic pesticides. I rotated the drenches for 3 weeks and eliminated the issue. 

Eco Insect Control is pretty good stuff, however pests can develop resistance to it quite easily and quickly so best not to use it too often.

A combination of pesticides I feel is often best and try wipe them all out as quickly as possible to prevent resistance and the resistant pest becoming dominant and being more of an issue to get rid of.

 

I have heard mixed things about Spinosad and neem being systemic, systemic pesticides certainly are appealing as it makes life easier - especially if you miss a patch on a leaf etc.

1.5ml seems to be on the higher side, looking at it for big applications for farms and such the dosages recommended for a more concentrated versio nof the product worked back to 0.6ml per L for soil drench and 1.2ml per L for foliar and I applied it accordingly for a soil drench. Less than half the dose you used though, perhaps upping it would yield better results. It does not seem to be harsh on the plants at all though.

 

Received my goodies, will apply them tonight. ūüėĄ¬†

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@PsyCLownI think the instructions from efekto says 12 ml to 10 L for drenching lawns, I had a big problem in my pots so I went with 15 ml in 10 litres and it worked. Its a long time since I used any spinosad, I stopped caring about the fungus gnat larvae and worms, when I moved back from hydro to soil.

I rotate all pesticides to avoid the bugs building any resistance and bio neem works well without causing any plant stress. Good luck , I hope you solve it soon.

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The issue is, I will then need multiple bottles of the Eco Insect Control to make enough as a soil drench for my plants as I give my plants the same amount as if it is a normal feed for them to ensure the coco gets fully drenched.

 

Anyways, I did apply the BioNeem, BioInsek and some other stuff to help the fungus and plants out last night as a soil drench. I just hope it works, may place another order for more Bio Insek too and do another drench next week... Perhaps get another bottle or 2 of the Eco Insect Control and do another drench at higher strength - perhaps go for less L per pot this time around as the BioNeem won't last for another soil drench as I did last night.

 

I did check the cuttings though and there seemed to be fewer root aphids on the roots from what I could see and tell and the cuttings looked a lot happier (root wise).

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On 7/23/2021 at 8:40 AM, PsyCLown said:

I give my plants the same amount as if it is a normal feed for them to ensure the coco gets fully drenched

Good day,  I sprayed all over the surface of the coco and then let the nutes wash it through into the gutter. I did it every 3 days or so, when the lights went on, just before the irrigation cycle started. It took 10 litres to dose the whole tent (2.4 x 2.4). I think I used 3 x 50 ml bottles over the duration.

Not many countries allow spinosad to be sold over the counter and in California it's on the banned list for cannabis. The efekto pamphlet only recommended a drench for lawns, to kill caterpillars. These aphids have got a waxy shield that protects them so I used the highest dosage recommend. 

According to Cloyd, ‚ÄúRoot aphids may hide under the root ball thus allowing them to escape exposure to any insecticide residues. Systemic insecticides may not be effective against root aphids as insufficient (non-lethal) concentrations of the active ingredient may not accumulate in the roots where they are feeding.‚ÄĚ

I've spoken to another grower about this problem and their solution was to remove any effected plants and destroy them. Then in the remaining plants, use an aphicide that he¬†applied once a week, until he was sure they didn't return. He used a neo nicotinoid which is something I personally think should be banned ūüöę

 

 

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@Twix Aphen I stumbled upon the same info when doing my research, there is the umbrella effect when watering and with the root ball etc.

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They can often hide underneath the root ball where the pesticide may not get to them, hence I think multiple continuous application may be required to ensure they are all completely gone. Alternatively, at least try keep them at bay and away from the veg area and dispose of the medium after flower and try ensure the veg area is clean and root aphid free.

 

I really do not want to cull my plants, however I am really not keen on using neonicotinoid's like imidacloprid or organophosphate like Acephate / Orthene.

The most common pesticide for aphids seems to be imidacloprid though - perfectly fine for ornamental plants in and around the house, however for crops which one consumes I feel it may be best to avoid using. However so far so good it seems, not seeing them crawling around and the cuttings seem to be doing well and did not see any live ones remaining on the cuttings.

Will do another application of Bio-Insek & Bio-Neem this week. I think I must do the same and only use a smaller amount of liquid as a "soil drench" with the pesticides to help reduce costs and to be able to continue to do it on a regular basis. Perhaps 1L per 20L pot.

Edited by PsyCLown
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So I have photos of when I first noticed the root aphid issue, not the best but thought to post them for anyone who stumbled upon this thread later on. May help them identify the issue, although pretty easy to tell if something is on your roots.

 

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You get some which are light in colour and some which are dark in colour, based on my research the ones darker in colour are a big issue and far more difficult to kill and seem to be resistant to more pesticides. They may also change colour as they grow, not 100% sure on this.

I saw reports where Orthene was not working as well against these darker root aphids experienced in some tobacco fields.

 

 

To date I have spent over R2000 on pesticides trying to get rid of these root aphids.

The following is what I have tried:

  • Bio-Insek Powder (beauvaria Bassiana & Metarhizium) - also contains diatomaceous earth along with the spores. Applied as a soil drench only.
  • Eco-Insect Control (Spinosad) - applied as both a soil drench and foliar. Even tried doses upto 1.6ml per L
  • Bio-Neem (Azadirachtin) - Applied as a soil drench at the recommended dose of 5ml per L and applied as a foliar as well (same dose)

 

I then thought I might be winning the battle and continued to drench with the above mentioned products as a pre-caution. I even filled the bottom of my rooting tray with the mixture I used as a soil drench to help my new set of cuttings make it without these darn root aphids... End of last week however I took a peak into my clone dome only to notice roots, but one cutting which had rooted had root aphids, the other cuttings looked fine. I tossed the cutting which contained the root aphids in the bin along with all cuttings of that strain, sprayed some doom into the bin and took the bag outside... Very disappointed and frustrated, felt as if all the money I had spent, all the time and effort on applying these drenches was all for nothing.

I even went as far as to soak the glue plugs in the soil drench solution with the above 3 mentioned products before putting the cuttings into the clone dome and I cleaned out the clone dome (top and bottom) with a heavy JIK (bleach) solution to ensure it was as clean as could be. Of course the dome went into the veg tent, which at the time I thought and hoped was root aphid free - they just took a short vacation, chilling in the coco it would seem.

My plants in my veg tent did not look happy, the most purple stems I have ever seen and such light, pale, yellow leaves. It's shocking and very disappointing. Growth is extremely slow as well.

 

After further research and more reading, it become clear to me that based on my experiences and the experiences of many other growers out there - using these organic pesticides is more of a money pit and quite frankly a waste of time. The fact that even some systemic pesticides such as Orthene are not effective against these root aphids was also a clear indication that I have a big issue on my hands.

I read a comment someone had made somewhere stating that they took multiple pesticides (I think 10 in total, of which 2 were systemic) and mixed them at higher doses and put them into a small cup each. This person then proceeded to break off pieces of roots which were covered in root aphids from his cuttings and leave it in the cup with the pesticides and he wait a week only to find that majority were not very effective and the root aphids were swimming around having a pool party in the pesticides. The Imidacloprid was the one pesticide which stood out and was different and had killed all of the root aphids. How true this is, I cannot say - it is just some comment I found on the internet although it is a comment I can relate to.

 

As mentioned previously in this thread, I kept the rooted cuttings in my clone dome initially and then used that as a way to test the pesticides. I dunked the cuttings into solutions of the pesticides and then monitored to see whether they were actually working on not.

From what I saw, it took a few days but there was a reduction in root aphids most appeared to be dead but it did not happen over night despite the direct contact (full submersion) into the pesticide solution which contained the above 3 mentioned pesticides. I suspect the Bio-Insek did work as well as I saw some fungus on some areas of the glue plugs after a week or so, at this point I thought I was winning the war against the root aphids. I potted up the cuttings after getting rid of the root aphid carcasses, I dunked each cutting into the pesticide solution again (it was a fresh solution each time, I never let the solution sit for a period of time) - glue plug and plant and then put them into some fresh coco in fresh fabric pots which were either brand new and just unpacked from the box or which had been through a washing machine cycle.

 

So fast forward back to me noticing root aphids on the new, 2nd batch of cuttings after I had thought I was winning the war... I then inspected some of the plants which were in smaller plastic pots which needed to be potted up. Upon very very close inspection of the roots coming out from the bottom of the pots with a torch, I noticed those mother fucking root aphids again. So it was clear to me that my attempt at getting rid of these root aphids had failed and the money I had spent was a waste and at best took out a small percentage of the root aphid population. 

I potted up the plants, the weird thing being that once the plant was removed from the pot, I could not see the root aphids anymore. Closely inspecting the roots of these plants, I could not find the root aphids (the coco was a bit wet, so it fell apart when removing form the small plastic pots and was put into the larger 20L fabric pots). So even when inspecting roots when transplanting, they are not easy to see. They can easily be missed, especially if one is not looking for them - this just makes it that much more difficult to notice you have these pests.

 

Over the weekend and after more research and debate with myself, I decided fuck it and pulled the trigger and purchase some ProTek Complete 350 SC (Imidacloprid). A mere R170 for a 50ml bottle.

Read the pamphlet, mixed it at 1ml per L and as I was about to dose the plants (I was actually wearing gloves while doing this, but upon further research it seems that is actually not needed. Not absorbed very well via topical application and the doses to cause any harm seem to be extreme doses. Like the entire bottle in concentrate form per KG of body mass. It is used as a spot on for animals, we all know animals lick and groom themselves - heck some of us may have even used it on our own animals without knowing) I saw a root aphid chilling on top of the one fabric pot, I picked it up and put it into a droplet on my gloves of the solution and as soon as it touched the solution it stopped moving. I think it died immediately, maybe not. I stared at it for quite a while waiting to see if it would move again and it did not. I then put the fucker into the solution just incase. I wanted it to die a slow, painful death and wanted to make sure it was dead.

I continued to dose the plants in my tent with the solution of Imidacloprid. Now I know, some of you reading this will be shocked, horrified and disgusted that I have dared to use a systemic pesticide on my cannabis plants - fuck, not just any systemic pesticide but a neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid! Oh my goodness, the possibilities and potential health risks. Well shit, the decision did not come easily... but more on that later*.

I got to one plant in my tent, which just so happened to have a piece of grass growing inside of the pot as well (random I know, not sure where it came from but whatever), I ran out of solution. I had started applying a bit over the portion with the grass. I needed to meet up with a friend so quickly stepped out, upon my return I noticed 3 root aphids chilling on the piece of grass, dead! I blew and they just fall down, lifeless. Man oh man, did this make me excited! I mixed more solution and then noticed the plant was a male (regular seeds), so it got the cut. I did drench the coco and leave it in the tent to ensure any and all root aphids inside that pot die as well. The plant which got the cut went into a bag and into the bin outside straight away.

 

So it has now been a few days since I dosed the plants, there has been no sign whatsoever of root aphids and the plants are starting to perk up and are already starting to get some colour back in their leaves! This shit is legit, it really seems to work! It is still early days, I know but from the reports I have read, people have gotten rid of their root aphids with a single application of this Imidacloprid. It is systemic and travels up the plant and continues to travel up the plant as they grow. So any root aphids which may survive or eggs which did not die on contact for whatever reason, should die shortly after sinking their mouthes / teeth / whatever into the flesh of my plants. I will continue to monitor these plants, but at this point in time I feel as if I may have actually, eventually, managed to get rid of these root aphids and am pretty confident I have.

 

*Back to the possible risks of Imidacloprid with cannabis. I will be honest, my thinking was that if it is used on tobacco which is also smoked and if it is not very toxic when ingested, it does make me feel a bit more at ease using this particular systemic pesticide on cannabis. I understand that cannabis and tobacco are different, so it could be a danger in cannabis and not so much in tobacco. We all know that smoking is not good for us, period. Chances are we may have already consumed cannabis which has been dosed with Imidacloprid prior to us growing our own. Difference is, at least I know what is in mine and I can take precautious and it is my choice as to whether I decide to consume the cannabis or not (still undecided) and I can even send the bud to a lab to be tested.

My grow is indoors only, so bees are safe. I will need to make sure I dispose of the coco responsibly as well to avoid contamination in nature as I understand this pesticide is a big issue for bees and fish as it can get into water supplies easily. I would not dose outdoor plants with this. Not that I typically allow my pets into my grow area, however if they did get in and chomped on my plants I feel safe that it would not cause much if any harm to them. I do not plan on continuing to use this pesticide either, it is a temporary effort to get rid of the pests.
Only the plants in my veg tent were dosed, the ones in flower still have root aphids and will not be dosed with Imidacloprid.

 

So that is a bit of an update and where I stand at the moment. I feel that if I were to let these plants veg, take cuttings and then flower those cuttings it would be safe to consume the bud from those plants as it would be over 3 months before those cuttings went into flower and I do not believe the systemic pesticide would be in very high quantities, if at all, in the plant still and do not think it would transfer to the bud. I do want to look at sending bud in to be tested to see what the results are for interest sake - bud from the plants which were dosed. I feel I could have probably gotten away with a lower dose of 0.5ml per L based on the pamphlet and the results I have seen so far. Even if the dose is not high enough to kill the root aphids, at lower doses it can disorientate them and cause them to wander and stop eating.

 

I will provide further feedback after a bit of time. I documenting this for anyone who may run into this pest in the future and hope that it can help them out.

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