Stratiolaelaps scimitus (sometimes called Hypoaspis miles) is a commonly used predatory mite for biological pest control. It is a tiny clear to orange/pink mite that is very quick.
Traditionally, stratiolaelaps are used to control fungus gnats in greenhouse applications, however, there are many, many more uses.
Stratiolaelaps also: Buy now from “Grub Grenade” (Canada)
Controls Thrips when they pupate in the soil.
Controls spider mites, when they overwinter in the soil.
Controls black vine root weevil by eating first and second instar larvae.
Eats eggs of above surface insects, that lay eggs on or near the surface. (like crane flies, Carrot rust fly, European chaffer beetle.)
Prevents root aphids from establishing.
Eats larval or instar stages of other small root pests.
Controls some nematodes.
Overwinters in most North American growing areas.
What does this mean for you, the organic home gardener?
Get these bugs going now.
Order them through a distributor of beneficial insects. (Like from the list here.)
If risk of the last frost is over, or near, order these mites and put them all over your garden. A rate as low as 250 per square meter is sufficient to establish a formidable defence against many a pest.
With a garden rich in annuals and perennials, a one-time application should suffice in most areas. Although sometimes reapplication is recommended, such as with high pest pressure, neighbours who spray, a lack of near-by natural areas, a harsh winter, or a monoculture that is removed completely. In trial gardens for Black Vine Root Weevil the mites were observed in suitable density for 20 years after the original application.
Stratiolaelaps contributes to a healthy balance of fauna in the soil. Healthy soil means healthy roots and that of course means healthy plants and a healthy you. Because so many in-soil pests feed on the fine hairs on plant roots, the application of stratiolaelaps often has an immediate impact on plant growth and contributes to healthier plants.
Things to avoid:
– Avoid purchasing stratiolaelaps in plastic buckets. They have been known to have high, and sometimes complete mortality upon arrival.
– Do not store in a hot area. The products have considerable shelf-life (for bios) but should be kept around 12c in a well ventilated area if not using immediately. Ideally, use them immediately.
– Do not accept dead bugs. Open the tube or bag and look for some crawling around. If they aren’t, let the bottle rest on it’s side (closed) and check it later. They should be moving around and ready to go. (Keep in mind they are very small, but visible to the naked-eye for some with great eye-sight. Otherwise use a hand lens at 4x).
– Do not apply when freezing. They will not have time to get below the frost line. Also not in the baking heat of a mid summer day.
Things to do:
– Demand fresh product.
– Loosen packed garden soil before application.
– Gently stir the product before application
– Don’t forget to add left overs to all indoor potted plants to destroy those fungus gnats.
– Make stratiolaelaps part of a complete and preventative program of pest management in your garden.
– Save the world.
This is a bulk application in my own garden (direct from production). The stratiolaelaps are mixed into this sterile peat/vermiculite mixture. This gets spooned out all over the garden, directly onto the soil.