Don't Bug Out! Tips for Handling Pesky Pests in Your Hydroponic Garden

Don't Bug Out! Tips for Handling Pesky Pests in Your Hydroponic Garden

Hey there, fellow hydroponic enthusiasts! We all know that growing your own produce is the bee's knees, but sometimes those pesky pests can really throw a wrench in our plans. Don't worry, though - with a little know-how and some plant puns, we can tackle those critters and keep our gardens thriving. Let's dive in!

When I started studying permaculture many years ago, I was recommended a way to look at pest control by my teachers that will always remain with me;

1st: Identify WHY they are in the cycle
Nature is one big cycle. It is systematic and all of its parts have a purpose (even if it's not desired by us!). If there are bugs in your cycle, it's because a space opened up that suited them perfectly. It may be that their preferred food is available, there are lots of areas to breed, there's little competition with other bug species or many more reasons. Once you know Why your pest species has arrived, you can limit what it enjoys and break the cycle. For example, Fungus gnats breed in the top layers of soil matter - If it exists for them to breed in, they will do it.  Remedy this by coating the entire surface area with Diatomaceous Earth (natural, made from crushed shells) or a similar "Gnat Rid" product to prevent their natural breeding cycle irrupting. 

And if you REALLY want to deter them......

2. Be Savage; spray them with a potion made from their fallen friends. 

- This other method you can try seems a bit heartless, but it's effective. 
Collect up as many bugs (that you don't want) off your plants, and put them in a small glass bowl (dead...). Then fill the bowl with boiling water and steep until cooled. Add this "Death juice"... Bug bodies and all into a spray bottle.
Use this to spray all over the plants you want to protect - the panic pheromones released by the dead bugs will tell bugs of the same species that this is a dangerous area, not to be mucked with. 

Alternatively, we offer a huge range of products designed to specifically keep your systems pest free, or tackle specific strains and species. Chat to us any time to diagnose any bug issues you've been having > or just for more general information.. See our FULL PEST CHART at the bottom of this blog for more:>>

Types of Hydroponic Pests:

  1. Aphids - These little suckers can be a real thorn in your side. They love to chomp on your plants and leave them looking wilted and sad.

  2. Thrips - These tiny winged bandits will sneak up on you like a ninja. They feed on your plants' juices and leave them yellow and dry like a raisin in the sun.

  3. Spider Mites - These sneaky spider lookalikes will web their way into your garden and suck the life out of your plants, leaving them brown and brittle like autumn leaves.

  4. Fungus Gnats - These flying pests are a real buzzkill. They lay their eggs in your growing medium, and their larvae will munch on your plant roots faster than a bunny in a carrot patch.

Tackling Hydroponic Pests:

  1. Prevention is plant-tastic - The best way to handle pests is to keep them from bugging you in the first place. Make sure to keep your garden clean and tidy, and don't let water or moisture accumulate.

  2. Bring in the reinforcements - Sometimes you need a little help from your insect friends. Ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises are all great allies in the fight against pests.

  3. Get crafty with DIY pesticides - If you need to bring out the big guns, there are plenty of DIY options that won't harm your plants or the environment. Try using a mix of neem oil and dish soap to fend off those aphids, or sprinkle some cinnamon on your soil to keep fungus gnats at bay.

  4. Get ruthless with the weak links - If a plant is already infested with pests, it's time to take out the trash. Don't let one bad apple ruin the whole bunch - remove the infected plant to prevent the infestation from spreading.

There you have it, folks - a quick and dirty guide to dealing with pests in your hydroponic garden. With a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, you can keep your plants happy and healthy all season long. So don't let those bugs get you down - it's time to plant your flag and take back your garden!


Pest Symptoms Life Cycle Prevention Natural Method of Control Predator Bug Species Identify Matching Products
Spider Mites Yellow speckling on leaves, webbing 3-5 days egg to adult Quarantine new plants, maintain high humidity Neem oil, predatory mites, ladybugs Phytoseiulus persimilis, Amblyseius andersoni Tiny, spider-like pests Bio Green Garlic Eco Protector 1L, Broad Blue Protect - Systemic Pest Control 250mls
Thrips Silver or bronze streaks on leaves 10-14 days egg to adult Regularly clean and disinfect equipment, remove weeds Neem oil, predatory mites, lacewings Amblyseius cucumeris, Orius insidiosus Tiny, slender insects Broad Blue Protect - Systemic Pest Control 250mls
Whiteflies Yellowing leaves, sticky residue 16-30 days egg to adult Yellow sticky traps, remove infected leaves Neem oil, predatory wasps Encarsia formosa, Eretmocerus eremicus Small, white, fly-like insects Yates Liquid Copper Fungicide 200mls
Fungus Gnats Weak, yellowing plants, presence of larvae 7-14 days egg to adult Allow soil to dry out between watering, use yellow sticky traps Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, predatory mites Hypoaspis miles, Stratiolaelaps scimitus Small, black, mosquito-like insects Gnat Nix, Insect Glue Traps, Micro-Kill Concentrate
Mealybugs Cottony white or waxy deposits on leaves 10-20 days egg to adult Quarantine new plants, remove infected leaves Neem oil, predatory beetles Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, Leptomastix dactylopii Small, oval-shaped insects Bio Green Garlic Eco Protector 1L, DE-NAT NON-TOXIC BARRIER 1LT Eco Oil 250ml, ED Rosenthals Zero Tolerance RTU Herbal Spray 525mls
Aphids Yellowing leaves, curled leaves, sticky residue 7-10 days egg to adult Spray with water, remove infected leaves Ladybugs, lacewings Aphidius colemani, Aphidius ervi Small, pear-shaped insects Insect Glue Traps
Caterpillars Holes in leaves, visible caterpillars Varies by species Regularly inspect plants, remove infected leaves Bacillus thuringiensis, predatory wasps Trichogramma wasps, Braconid wasps Worm-like larvae Scarid 10 - 100 mL
Scale Insects Yellowing leaves, sticky residue, presence of scale Varies by species Quarantine new plants, remove infected leaves Neem oil, predatory beetles Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, Chilocorus circumdatus Small, immobile pests Bio Green Garlic Eco Protector 1L
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