Fighting Bad Bugs with Good Bugs [-by Shane Young]
"Natural Enemies supplies predatory insects and provides in-depth guidance on using biological controls for commercial cannabis cultivators seeking to avoid the inherent risks of using chemical pesticides in their pest management program. In essence, Natural Enemies helps growers restore the natural balance of predator and prey; to work in concert with, rather than in opposition to, nature. Over the last four years, the Natural Enemies team has emerged as the cannabis industry’s most reliable educator and supplier of high-quality beneficial insects.
Despite the learning curve that oftentimes accompanies a farm’s transition away from harmful pesticides, the pay offs are impressive. Not only do our growers report healthier, more robust plants, and in many cases significantly higher yields, our medical growers find a satisfying peace-of-mind knowing they aren’t producing chemically-treated medicine for their patients, and are no longer adversely affecting our environment with pollutants. While we carry a full range of predatory insects - many of which being capable of eradicating already established pest populations - commercial growers who apply on a preventative schedule, prior to the onset of infestations, see the most impactful, longest-lasting, and most cost-efficient results.
Prior to founding Natural Enemies, the founder of Natural Enemies, Shane Young, led a large-scale ornamental greenhouse, helping them maintain their place as a perennial “Top 20 Grower” selection by Greenhouse Growers Magazine. As a vital component of his overall success, Shane developed and implemented a highly successful biological control pest management program, helping his company break-free from their over- reliance on chemical pesticides.
Following the legalization of medicinal cannabis, Shane’s background positioned him to understand both the importance of eliminating the use of harmful chemicals, and the advantages of using beneficial insects to achieve chemical-free production. After pivoting to focus on beneficial insects in cannabis production in 2014, Shane has been helping cannabis growers achieve their goals of reducing and/or eliminating the need for chemical pesticides.
As a proud member of the cannabis community, the Natural Enemies team seeks to provide our growers with individualized support in proper application methods and rates, and to educate our growers on the use of biological control agents. We are constantly working to improve our own knowledge of best-practices for cannabis-specific use of biological control agents, and we are happy to pass that information along to our growers. In other words, you can source your bugs from anywhere, but we provide a tailor-made program for the unique variables present in your operation, while remaining available to provide you with necessary support, and to work with you to evaluate and adjust your program to fit your changing needs.
One of our biggest contributions up to this point has been the ongoing development and establishment of industry standards for application rates and methods, as they pertain specifically to the cannabis crop. Traditional agricultural and horticultural crops have had the benefit of farmers developing best-practices for integrating beneficial insects into their pest management programs for decades, if not centuries. As many of the readers already know, cannabis is a very unique crop, in terms of its growth rate, ideal growing conditions, variation in growing venues, styles, and methods, and, frankly, the value of the crop. While we have recently accumulated an vast amount of very useful information on the use of biological controls in cannabis production, developing best-practices for their use in cannabis is a relatively under-developed field, and remains an ongoing evolution. In spite of this, Natural Enemies remains on the cutting-edge of this evolution, developing, analyzing, and adjusting the best-practices of using biological controls for the cannabis crop.
Whereas traditional agriculture usually bases estimates on square meters, or acres of growing area, Natural Enemies generates application rate estimates based primarily on the leaf surface area, or the actual canopy size of the crop. Along with a number of other cannabis-specific variables, including growing venue, environmental conditions like average humidity and temperature, and growing media, the differences between using biological controls in agricultural vs. cannabis crops is dramatic enough to cause concern when information on their ‘proper’ use is obtained from someone without knowledge or experience using beneficial insects specifically in cannabis cultivation.
Despite these difficulties, Natural Enemies remains committed to spreading the word of pure, organic cannabis cultivation, and will work hard to remain an innovative and progressive force in the cannabis community. If you are ready to make the transition away from chemicals on your farm, Natural Enemies is ready to guide you through that transition effectively and efficiently. "