Scientists are in a battle to learn what kinds of pests and diseases pose a risk to cannabis and how to beat them.
Amanda Brown’s job requires a knowledge of both biology and battle strategy.
As a biological crop protection specialist, she sends “armies” of beneficial insects in search of the pests that devour B.C. crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers — and now, cannabis.
“It’s a beautiful system,” she said. “It’s a very holistic approach.”
With legal cannabis cultivation still in its early days, scientists are in a fight to learn what kinds of pests and diseases pose a risk to the plants and how to beat them.
“Pests and diseases are on the increase,” said Zamir Punja, a professor in plant biotechnology at Simon Fraser University. “It definitely represents a challenge to the industry.”
As the overall area of cannabis production increases, so do the problems and their chances of spreading. Growers across North America are currently facing a root aphid outbreak that appears to have started in Colorado.
Punja said the appearance of pests in the regulated industry was predictable. Spider mites, for example, are an issue for growers of almost every crop in B.C.
By Glenda Luymes Standard Freeholder
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