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.
eats eggs of other soil borne insects
eats eggs of above serface insects, that lay eggs on or near the surface.
eats larval or instar stages of small insects
controls some nematodes like foliar nematodes.
Overwinters in most North American growing areas.
eats overwintering spider mite that are in the soil
probably does more!
What does this mean for you, the organic home gardener?
Get these bugs going now. 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 100/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 will high pest pressure, neighbours who spray, a lack of near-by natural areas, a harsh winter, or a monoculture that is removed completely, an annual application is recommended.
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.
Purchase 1 L tubes from Applied Bio-Nomics (link at top) which is best. (below) Also, the bagged product from BioLine is of top quality. Application rates will be included in or on the package.
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.
– Do not accept dead bugs. Open the tube 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).
– Do not apply when freezing. They will not have time to get below the frost line.
Things to do:
– Demand fresh product.
– Loosen packed garden soil before application.
– Stir the product before application
– 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.