A Survey of the Insect Complex Associated with Cannabis sativa Grown Outdoors in Ontario, and the Potential of Companion Plants as an IPM Tactic

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Following the 2018 legalization of drug-type Cannabis sativa L. in Canada, the licensed area for outdoor cultivation has rapidly increased to meet growing demand. However, cannabis grown outdoors is threatened by damaging insect pests that we know very little about. This project was the first Canadian survey of insect pests and natural enemies associated with outdoor cannabis production. Insect activity associated with outdoor cannabis and effects of companion plants were evaluated at two licensed producers from June through September in 2021 and 2022. Cannabis aphid (Phorodon cannabis), tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) and thrips (Thrips tabaci and Frankliniella occidentalis) were the most common insect pests. Minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus), lady beetles, and green lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea) were the most common natural enemies. The study also found that companion plants: cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), Teddy bear sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and Sunspot sunflower (Helianthus annuus) were most effective at attracting natural enemies.

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Cannabis sativa, Integrated pest management, Companion plants, Cannabis aphid

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