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An effective method of bringing pest problems under control is to use the natural enemies of the insects. The following range have been used on the Continent and in the UK for many years with good results. It is important to emphasise the living nature of these controls. It is best that they be released within 24 hours of arrival to establish a useful population. When the pest is cleared the predator population dies out through lack of food.
Orders must be received before 2pm on the Thursday for delivery on the Tuesday/Wednesday of the following week. (The predators are only "harvested" once per week).
As the predators are sent separately from any other goods postage is charged as well as the relevent carriage charge for any items not shown on this page.
Mealybug Predator 1 = Cryptolaemus Montrouzieri
A common problem on tropical plants. Although there are at least three species of Mealybug this predator deals with them all. Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is an orange and black Australian Ladybird approximately 4mm long. In displays they should preferably be released late in the day at a rate of 2-3 per sq mtr.
Mealybug Predator 2 = Parasitoid Mix
For control of citrus mealybug (Planococcus citri). Leptomastix dactylopii is a 3mm yellow parasitic wasp that originated in Brazil but is now used worldwide. They attack large but immature mealybugs. Leptomastidea abnormis is a 1.5 mm long parasitic wasp, It attacks young 2nd instar stages of the Citrus mealybug and works under cooler conditions than the other parasitoids. Originates in southern Europe and has been used widely for biocontrol. Anagyrus pseudococci is a small parasitoid That prefers larger nearly full grown mealybugs but is able to develop in a variety of species. The citrus mealybug is the preferred host but it will also develop in the glasshouse mealybug (Pseudococcus viburni). This species develops faster than the other species. Originates from the Middle East but has become established as an effective biocontrol agent on most continents. Temperatures between 18 and 30oC are required for development. Parasitised mealybugs continue to grow for a few days but then die and become brown and mummified. The parasite completes its growth inside this mummy. Available May to September only
Soft Scale Insect Predator = Metaphycus
The first sign of a scale insect attack is usually the shiny deposits of the sticky honeydew they produce as they feed on the plants. There are no males, and before dying the female produces many hundreds of eggs, safely protected from chemical attack by their shell. Metaphycus helvolus is a small 1.5 mm long parasitoid that attacks soft scale insects particularly Saisettia coffeae and Coccus hesperidum the two most common pests on ornamental plants. The female lays up to 6 eggs per day one to each host with the preferred stage being young 2nd instar. However, it kills many more hosts by feeding on their blood. Three releases at fortnightly intervals at a rate of 5 per sq. mtr is most effective. Metaphycus helvolus was first collected in South Africa but has been widely used for biocontrol of soft scale. Available May to September only
Soft Scale Predator 3 = Encyrtus Infelix (50)
A black coloured parasitoid measuring about 2.5 mm in length that attacks soft scale such as Saisettia spp. The parasitoid chooses adult scales that are whitish in colour which turn blackish with the development of the grub inside.The generation time takes about 3-4 weeks at 25C. The parasitoid does best in warm conditions and each adult can lay around 30 or more eggs. This is a British species. Available May to September only
Soft Scale Predator 4 = Parasitoid Mix
A mixture of predators 1,2 & 3 giving a wider range of control by combining their “hunting skills”. Available May to September only
Hard Scale Insect Predator 1 = Chilocorus Nigritus
The hard scale insect has an armoured body and does not produce the "honeydew" of the soft scale. The predator Chilocorus nigritis is a small black beetle that eats hard scale insects. Temperature must be above 22C and preferably above 25C for effective control. Egg production 3 eggs per day at 20C but 10 per day at 30C. Overall lifespan can extend up to 9 months and egg laying continues provided individuals are kept with a male and provided with adequate supplies of fresh food. Available May to September only
Spidermite Predator 1 = Phytoseiulus Persimilis
This constant pest on tropical plants is at it's worst during hot summer months. The webs used for travelling around the plants are easy to see, particularly around the leaf stems. Spider mite populations can reach enormous levels in a very short time. This predatory mite is an effective control. Predators are supplied in a low volume vermiculite shaker bottle, which is shaken onto the infected plants. Spreading rate 10-20 per sq mtr
Spidermite Predator 2 = Amblyseius Californicus
Areas of low humidity provide ideal breeding conditions for the spidermite but has the reverse effect on the predator Phytoseiulus persimilis. For these areas the predator Amblyseius californicus should be introduced. The terms of the licence state a maximum spreading rate of 2 per sq mtr. (Spidermite predators 1 & 2 can be used effectively together
Sciarid Predator 1 = Steinemema Feltiae (50 sq mtr pack)
The larvae of the sciarid fly (fungus gnat) feed on rotting plant material in the compost. These nematodes are mixed with water and applied as a soil drench.This should be used as a routine preventative treatment for sciarid and other soil borne pests. If adult sciarid flies are present it may take two weeks for a noticeable reduction.