IPM of Hemp Pests

Hemp russet mites

As the CBD hemp industry continues to garner interest from stakeholders, pests of this high-value specialty crop are becoming a growing concern. Hemp russet mites, Aculops cannibicola Farkas, is a primary pest of concern among hemp growers. Hemp russet mite feeds primarily on new growth and can reach high densities, frequently exceeding a thousand mites per leaf. The most serious damage occurs when the developing flower buds are infested, leading to a decrease in CBD yield. The goal of our work is to determine whether synthetic insecticides and OMRI-listed, Organic Materials Review Institute, pesticides are effective in managing hemp russet mites in a greenhouse and field. Preliminary outcomes of these experiments suggest that repeated applications of the oils provide an impressively effective control of the mites in the greenhouse. This is an on-going project supported by the IR-4 program of the USDA NIFA.

Hemp russet mites on hemp

Hemp russet mites on a hemp leaf. Several mites can be seen hanging from the leaf edge, a behavior that allows these mites to become wind-borne. Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Hemp plant with feeding injury

Hemp showing signs of feeding injury from hemp russet mite. Note the distorting of the bud and new leaves. Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Developing IPM for hemp pests in organic hemp production

Consumer preference for organically produced goods has increased steadily, but our ability to support pest management with research-supported recommendations has lagged far behind. This research is focused on exploring how organic production affects soil health and contributes to increased plant resilience against pests. Our goal is to quantify the effectiveness of integrated approaches to suppress key pests of hemp and their impact on profitability of hemp in context of organic production framework. This is a collaborative project with the Nachappa Lab supported by the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative program.

hemp transplants high tunnel
Cannabis sativa transplants grown in a high tunnel. Image credit: Melissa Schreiner, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org