** ADVANCE FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 29 ** A ladybug searches a Bougainvillea flower for pesky aphids in the greenhouse at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, Va., in this undated photo courtesy of Busch Gardens. Ladybugs are introduced as part of the park's "beneficial bugs" program and help to keep plants looking beautiful and pest free. (AP Photo/Busch Gardens)

A marijuana grower tells all: This is how beneficial bugs can work as pest control

In Legal Cannabis History 101 classes, 2015 will always be remembered as the year legal marijuana recognized its pesky pesticide problem.

For decades illegal cannabis growers used whatever pesticides worked to save their plants from insects, molds and anything else threatening their crops. That illicit practice carried over to the legal marijuana industry — causing a stir when media reports and government tests showed the presence of banned pesticides on state-regulated cannabis.

Adding to the complicated issue is the state-versus-federal clash of state-legal businesses doing their best to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards that don’t yet exist.

But some cannabis growers are getting creative — using what are known as “beneficial bugs” to do battle with the bad bugs that can take down an entire crop.

“We use nematodes, the little beneficial bugs that we put in the soil, so any soil-born insects, we use those little guys to attack those,” Honest Marijuana founder Anthony Franciosi told Cannabist editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca on The Cannabist Show recently. “And then we use beneficial predator bugs like swirski mites and californicus mites, which we use in small doses here and there throughout the garden in little breeder packs.

“The idea is that we have enough little good guys there that we’ll prevent an infestation.”

Check out the above clip to learn more about this bug-on-bug violence.

Watch the full episode of The Cannabist Show.