Cannabis cultivation in Montana comes with its unique set of challenges. Our state's diverse climate and geography often create favorable conditions for pests that can jeopardize a cannabis crop. And for environmentally conscious growers, chemical pesticides are not an ideal solution. Thankfully, Montana's natural ecosystem offers a valuable resource in the form of beneficial insects, which can be used as allies in cannabis cultivation.
At Collective Elevation, our sustainable, bio-integrated farming system uses massive colonies of microbes, worms, and beneficial insects to help cultivate healthy plants and maintain a low carbon footprint. Here, we highlight some of the insects that can aid Montana growers in maintaining a healthy, sustainable cannabis grow:
Predatory Mites: Predatory mites are beneficial insects commonly used in integrated pest management strategies for cannabis cultivation. They play a crucial role in controlling harmful pests, such as spider mites, thrips, and other small insects that can damage cannabis plants.
Parasitic Wasps: Parasitic wasps are often introduced into the cannabis growing environment before pest populations become established. This proactive approach helps prevent pest outbreaks and keeps populations of harmful insects in check from the beginning.
Rove Beetles: These beetles are voracious predators of many small insects and help maintain a balanced and healthy ecosystem on our farm.
Nematodes - Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that feed on the larvae of pests such as caterpillars, flies, and beetles, helping keep these soil-dwelling insect pests at bay.
Creating a Friendly Habitat for Beneficial Insects
To attract and retain beneficial insects, our Bozeman-based farm has implemented various practices that encourage a healthy ecosystem:
Organic Pest Control: Minimizing or eliminating chemical pesticides is crucial to preserving beneficial insect populations. Pesticides affect not only harmful insects, but also the natural predators that are essential for maintaining a balanced ecosystem. At Collective Elevation, we opt for natural, organic treatments, which creates an environment where beneficial insects can thrive and naturally keep pests at bay.
Living Soil: Under the ground, our living soil is rich with nutrients and other living creatures. The earthworms and microbes in the soil also contribute to overall plant health, making it easier for our plants’ natural defenses to ward off disease and helping reduce susceptibility to pests and pathogens.
Natural Sunshine: Natural sunlight plays a crucial role in attracting and supporting insects beneficial to cannabis cultivation. Plants exposed to sunlight attract insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites, which support a healthy cannabis crop while encouraging biodiversity.
Montana's diverse climate and natural landscape offer a range of beneficial insects that aid in our sustainable cannabis operation. Embracing these natural allies allows us to maintain an environmentally friendly approach to cultivation and help nurture a balanced ecosystem.