Friend or foe?


I have bugs. Couple different kinds in fact… I have lady bugs which make me smile, knats and flies which i like stuck to tape, a bunch of spiders- the jumping kind, which i figure are good because they dont spin web everywhere and eat the stuff that doesnt end up stuck to the tape. What i do have that im unsure about are a flying black insect, 6 legs, and antennae half as long as their legs. Theyre black with orange lines around theyre bodies, they fly, and are about half an inch long. They seem pradarory by their constant searching action around the plants, nothing is being eaten that i see. I live in cdntral alabama.
I grow in the basement.
I have 6 plants in soil, 5gal containers, generic no nutrient enriched potting soil.
I have 4 5gal hydro buckets,each wih a top feed pump into baskets filled with expanded clay pebble, air stone in each bucket,each independant. Each run between 2-3 gal of juice, 900ppm, 6.5-7 pH; adjusted daily. I use a mixture of liquid 7-4-10 and 5-1-1 fish goop. I buffer with white vinegar, havnt had to go up yet.

So is that black bug my buddy or do they have to go?.. i see five.


It does sound like a predatory insect, especially if you are not seeing parts of the plant being eaten, you should be able to check with local nurseries to determine better what it might be. Just tell them you’ve seen this around your tomato plants, lol. One thing I did notice, in hydro the pH needs to be much lower, closer to 5.8 pH.


Ive struggled with that. Ive been trying to figure out the best adjustment scale for my setup for vinegar. I dropped 2mils in each bucket when i left today they were at 6.8. Im hoping tomorrow theyll be at 6.3, thats my prediction at least…
If i show up at my grow room tomorrow and check it, and its there?!?.. Then i can dump 2 more ml’s and be there. As it is everything looks wonderful for my first hydro attempt. Plants are green and growing noticeably in the past week, they were put in water 2 weeks ago, 1st week was spent adjusting and not dying, lol. He leaves are a bit slender compared to the soil plants, however, compared to the soil plants growing side by side, theyve put on 4 more inches in 2 weeks than the soil plants put in their final containers at the same time. Hydro works, no doubt, im sold.
Everything grows under 2 400W MH lights, i also have about 15 plants in 6"pots awaiting april on the outskirts, each 2 sitting on a 12" pot with strawberries planted, which seem to really love the runoff.

I heard apple cider vinegar is a better choice because it has tannins the plant can use during flowering, yes?

And one more, will “pH down, Acid” work better?

Thanks for the speedy reply btw, very pro! And appreciated.
Semper Fi


I absolutely agree with MacGyver Stoner about the ph level recommendation. You think your hydro grow is quicker than your soil…wait til you get your ph around 5.8! They will be better at utilizing those 900ppm of nutes you have them feeding on in your reservoir. As for the ph down solution you can get from GH, yes- it works much better,quicker and easier than any other thing you can buy. Apple cider vinegar I believe only has a max acidity of like 5% which when dealing in ratios per gallon, it wont go far or be nearly as effective as actual ph down acid. Plus the ph down acid is only like $9 from most grow stores or a couple dollars more online if you arent close to any grow stores. Be warned though, this stuff is STRONG and a little goes a loooong way. At the rate that I use it with 12 plants in a hydro setup, I will likely see 2 years or longer from 1 quart bottle. Happy Growing -HR


Great! Theres a hydro store i can shop at near me.
On the use; If i wanted to bring a gallon of nutrient down .4 points? Will the directions tell me how many ml’s to use to accomplish this? I use syringes to measure with, thats why metric measures are easier than trying to figure out how many tsp’s go in a liter… I can do the math, but simple math seems to be my nemesis when it comes to important things like mixing ratios… Thank god for ppm meters… I fed my poor, pitiful plants on my first grow through 3 long months on what came out to be 200ppm because i couldnt convert 1 tsp to 5ml… Idiot… Got me a ppm meter and a digital pH meter(use the buffer and cal it yourself to 6.9, trust me) best two tools i ever baught. Like my grand daddy said, “Right tool for the right job.” Thanks pop.

So i guess my question is how easy are the directions?


They’re BOXELDER bugs, btw… They like moisture, warmth, and sap from sweet trees like; boxelder trees(duh), and maples. Im thinking theyre only here for the environment, and maybe the strawberries…


My bottle from General Hydroponics didnt come with any directions. In my experience though with the ph down I usually add approx 1ml per gal to bring my ph from tap @ 6.8 to 5.8 and it does it right now. Keep in mind also that when your ppm’s are really low your ph may be more difficult to dial in than if you are running a higher ppm so your results may be a bit differnt than mine due to this. I suggest starting off with .5 ml per gallon to see how it works for you and gauge it from there. With hydro it is much like ingredients for cooking- you can always add, but you cant take it away.


For real, ive trashed entire 6gal res’s full of juice to start over, just to be sure… So 1ml/gal will dump my pH 1 point? That sounds easy enough, and meterable. My ppm is at 950, then drops to 930-900 daily, to which i add 1ml about per day to keep my ppm up. My plants stand 8" from base to tip, have their first 4 big fan leaves. I planned on upping the juice to 1300 over the next couple inches for the rest of veg, and then flower at 1400ppm. Im at, when fresh, 6.5 pH at 1000ppm, should i just run 1300 ppm now? Will that stabilize the pH over a longer period than 24hrs? if i continue to use vinegar will it be easier to manage pH at 1300ppm? Thanks btw, i appreciate ya!


The black with orange stripes are lady beetles or ladybugs in the hatchling stage…I think…


Boxelder bugs. Not a threat.