What is an insect hotel? Just like a simple brush pile can make a habitat for beneficial insects, an insect hotel does the same for gardens located in places that are less-than-natural. By attracting beneficial insects you can reduce the use of expensive and toxic pesticides, and who knows, start enough insect hotels and you might be running for president some day.
As pesticide use in cannabis rises to the public eye, consumers got the reality check that pot is just like any other crop: sometimes harsh chemicals need to be used so growers can avoid serious financial losses. But a new, green wave of environmentalism is sweeping the nation, one that doesn’t need pesticides to grow its food, or its weed.
Permitted levels of pesticides on foods are carefully crafted to make a balance between the farmers that need to use them to protect their crops, and the consumers that eat them that don’t want to get poisoned. Since none this research has been performed on cannabis, states, like Colorado, that have legalized recognized this lack of information, and only permitted the use of organic pesticides (which don’t have the fame of working quite as well), opening the door to the “scandals” you have been seeing in the news, since growers slipped and used the banned, but effective, pesticides.
So what can cannabis growers do to avoid the use of pesticides at all? If you grow outside, consider building an insect hotel. An insect hotel is simply a man-made habitat that native insects can live in. Beetles, wasps, bees and other predatory insects will feed on pests, or prevent them from ever showing their greedy, bug-eyed faces. While many other measures exist that can help you attract beneficial insects, insect hotels are especially helpful for people that grow in places that lack areas where insects can naturally live in, like bush piles and other messy areas that make great insect habitats.
First grab a bunch of bricks and arrange them in the shape of a big H, then lay a wooden pallet on top. Make a few more layers like this, say five, and cover it with roofing tile or a piece of plywood covered in roofing felt. Once you’ve stacked everything up, fill the gaps with any dry, natural material you might have around: dry leaves, wood chips, cardboard (with no ink), etc. If you have some logs lying around, drill smooth, three to five inch holes in them and place them facing out in the insect hotel. Wasps will inhabit these holes and reign terror over the whiteflies, spider mites, thrips and fungus gnats that might hurt your garden.
So make sure to keep it natural and protect the environment when growing your cannabis. In an ever-scrutinized industry, it’s only good news if we hold ourselves to a higher standard of environmentalism.
Photo Credit: Mark G