Insects in Grow Rooms
Go ahead and look around online and you can see for yourself that there's loads of articles and videos written and produced to tell you how to battle insects. Look all you want though, and there are very few if any information products to teach you how to avoid the problem altogether. So then what's the deal here?
If you look a little deeper beyond the pictures and wording in the vast majority of these types of 'easy solution' articles and videos you'll see that a good majority are connected with some type of product. Something that they want you to buy, or perhaps a website that they want to direct you to that in turn has something that they're going to try to sell you.
Then of course you have your fair share of 'know-it-alls'. These would be the folks who really do have the best intentions - even if they don't have the best information to offer you. People who are probably still dealing with insect problems and have developed or discovered their own methods that work to get them through their project, even if it isn't near all it could be.
So to start off here, the first thing you need to know is that when people are talking about the threat of insects to grow room what they're really talking about is spider mites and white flies. Yes there are others such as aphids but if you have aphids in there you also have spider mites and white flies and those are the guys who really do the damage.
The reason is that white flies and spider mites primarily feed off the young leaf shoots. In fact the younger the better, so just as soon as they make their appearance all it takes is a couple of them on them to suck the life force out. They're tiny and hard to detect too, so you can have a real problem for some time before you realize that you even have a problem.
Insecticides, either natural chemical are out of the question too because of the fact that you're going to be smoking the stuff when it's all said and done. Besides even if you use the most powerful chemical insecticide available you'll never get them all, so they'll be right back just as soon as what ever it is that you sprayed on them wears off.
Then there are the folks out there now selling things like ladybugs. Turn the little critters loose in your grow room and you can have them crawling around munching on all the bad bugs, and you'll also have new cute little friends to look at. All very nice. Nice that is other then for a few minor details that they leave out.
First of all they don't tell you that ladybugs cost money, and you have to keep buying them. If they don't have something to eat they're going to die, so you need to have a steady supply of white flies, spider mites and aphids. So in essence your room needs to become a 'little bug farm' of sorts for this natural system to work right and don't forget that at the bottom of the food chain is your plants to feed that bug farm.
This is why if you talk to any professional grower who has dealt first-hand with an insect infestation they'll tell you that the only real 'permanent solution' is to jerk all the plants out out and start all over again. That the real end goal is to have a room that's completely devoid any type of insects and it is possible because people do it all the time. The key operative word here though, is “prevention”.
Prevention because like it or not, all the little bugs live around the outside of your home or apartment. They're in the landscaping, on your lawn, and certainly in any nursery where you might buy products and materials that you'll bring into your grow room. So prevention means creating 'a barrier' both literally and figuratively to stop any bugs at your door.Stage #1: Room Preparation
The first series of steps begins before you even set up your grow room. Strip the room bare and then go along the bottom of the walls were they meet the floor and blast a good dose of insecticide up in under the floor plate. Then do the rest of the room as well then leave and close the door so it effectively becomes a gas chamber for anything living in there.
Then the next step, if you grow room is on the ground floor, is to seal off the area underneath the floor plate of the wall to cut off any bugs access between the inside and outside of your home. Go and look outside, and chances are you'll find some type of landscaping or foliage that's has insects on it, and the little passageway underneath the sole plate on any exterior walls provides a direct passageway through.
So blast it well with insecticide and follow-up with a good bead of expanding polyurethane foam or a thorough caulk job. This is about the best that you can do there, but it still won't be enough. This is because you then I have to go outside and spray any landscaping or shrubbery that's up against your home with insecticide.
Now some folks, and you have may be one of them, might have some reservations about using insecticide in and around their home. What you need to understand here though, is that pesticides are used on crops that you eat, so you really can't get away from them. Then the bottom line here is that insecticide are called insecticides because they kill insects and if you want to kill insects you really have no other choice.
So then at this point you've gassed your room, chemically blasted and sealed any passageways from the outside into your room, and blasted all the bugs with your insecticide along the outside perimeter of your home. Now one other thing worth noting here as well, is that climate conditions in the area of the country in which you live factory in greatly when it comes insect issues.
So if you live in, say a desert region for instance, and your landscaping happens to be a rock garden you'll for sure be in pretty good shape. On the other hand if you live in an area with a mild climate and plenty of green plant growth you're probably not in such good shape and will need to be a lot more proactive and vigilant when it comes to dealing with insect infestations.Stage #2 The Initial Set Up
At this point you've completely scoured your room of all insects and sealed it up. So the next order of the day is to get it all set up for growing without bringing any new insects into the room to undo all your good work. Keep in mind here that it only takes two of them to start an infestation in there and there are still several areas where those two insects can come from.Cook Your Potting Soil in an Oven
So if you plan on growing with soil then it will have to be cooked in your oven and allowed to cool before it's brought into your room. This will kill any insects, larvae and eggs that might be contained in it. Now the good news here, is that dry potting soil heats up and then cools down quickly, so all you'll need is a big pot and an afternoon to get this job done.Clean Anything You Bring in the Room
Then give any containers you plan on bringing into your room a good cleaning as well. Particularly if they're plastic planting containers that you purchased at a nursery. If this is the case then you for sure want to give them a good scrubbing with soap and water and then finish up with a blast of insect spray to serve as a final layer protection.Don't Track Bugs into Your Room
Then as you're walking in and out of your home make a point of not walking directly from the outside your home into your grow room when you're moving equipment in. Rather bring the equipment into your home and set it in a separate room. Then after you have it all in, change your clothing and for sure your shoes before you bring it from that room into your grow room.Don't Blow Them in Either
When you're setting up your ventilation system the worst place to draw air in is low down on a wall on the exterior of your home. It's just asking for trouble. So do what you can to get your ventilation line up to your attic and then preferably out on roof. One great idea is to disconnect the ceiling vent line for a bathroom and run your room vent line through that , so it pulls air off the roof through the bathroom vent Jack.Houseplants All Have Insects on Them
Then 'never ever' bring any houseplants into your grow room. In fact I would advise you to not even keep any houseplants in your home at all. Now for plant lovers this can be a pretty hard pill to swallow but all it takes is a good infestation when your third three quarters way through a grow to make a believer out of you. So it's up to you but if you do keep houseplants make sure you spray them regularly with insecticide.Furry Pets Carry Fussy Insects
Cats and dogs are also another surefire transport system to bring insects, eggs and larvae from the outside of your home to the inside. So be aware of this and consider making your cat or dog a full-time indoor or outdoor pet. Or if you can't bring yourself to do that and insist on allowing them in then be well aware of the potential for problems and definitely make sure that they never step foot inside your grow room.A Hardy Plant Strain Can Only Help
Then finally the more hybridized the seed strain you use the more vulnerable your crop will be to an insect infestation. It's just something that comes with selective breeding, in that some things are lost in exchange for the things that are gained. So while many of the specialized indoor strains are for sure flavorful and potent, they also lost some of their natural resistance to insects during the selective breeding process.The Bottom Line:
A grow room with it's even temperatures and moderate to high humidity level, and lack of blazing hot sun is the perfect environment for insects to thrive in.
Once you become infested the only permanent remedy is to clear out the room, sterilize it and then start over again from the beginning with new plants.
Don't forget that outside foliage with all its insects is only five or six inches away on the other side of the wall if you're on the ground floor. So do your best to create a tightly sealed barrier to block them out.
If you have carpeting make a point of vacuuming it regularly and pay close attention to areas around entrance-ways that lead outdoors.
Create a set of policies to prevent insects from entering your grow room and creating an infestation and then stick with them religiously from planting to harvest.