All Aroids Greenhouse Pests Spider Mites Topics Troubleshooting Velvet Leaves

SPIDER MITES Pt 2: Biological Control

*This is not a sponsored article (sadly). The company that I promote in this article, I do so because I use and believe in the product and the method of pest management.

Spider Mites are evil little turds that made my life hell at one point. It was litteraly a war and I was loosing. That was until I called in an army. A 10,000 strong army of Predetory mites that love to snack on spider mites.

Prior to discovering this method, I had experienced small outbreaks of Spider Mites, but this out break was something else. If I was lucky, I would reduce the numbers temporarily, but they always came back. They always attacked my Alocasias and Velvet Philodendrons first. It was to the point, I was close to loosing plants. Basic remedies that usually work, didnt and I was at a point of desperation. I then I stumbled upon a facebook post about predetory bugs, for pest management and it changed everything.

I found a company called Bugs for Bugs and ordered a tube of 10,000 Predetory mites called Californicus (Neoseiulus californicus). Described as “aggressive and robust predatory mites”. The adults eat an average of 5 spider mites a day and when numbers are reduced can find alternate food sources until the spider mite numbers regrow.

The bugs ship from Queensland to me in Adelaide over night and just one tube was enough for my 2×1.4m greenhouse, my indoor plant cabinet and all my general indoor plants. They arrive living in fine vermiculite that you simply pour over the plants. You are advised to pour over the leaves and to try and keep some on the leaves to allow the mites easy access, which can be tricky with some plants. following that, you only need to avoid watering for a few days while the mites spread out and do their thing.

The company advises you to apply a second dose two weeks after the first to re-enforce the first batch. I was able to stretch it out to 3-4 weeks before I noticed the spider mites reemerge just slightly and followed their suggestion. The second dose was enough to keep my plants completly spider mite free, for four months, before I needed another application. Plants that were being killed by mites are thriving again and I cant say enough good things about using these predetory mites for managing spider mites in my Aroid collection.

The cost: While it probably does cost a little more than general sprays or home made alternatives, a single dose isnt that expensive considering its so effective. One 10,000 batch of mites cost $22.00 and Express Post was $13.50 at the time of my last purchase. I did need a second round and then another 4 months later. I have only just needed to add another batch a whole year later as there are a few mites in the greenhouse. The few that are in the greenhouse do seem to be kept under control, so there must still be some predetory mites in there. The an is to top them up again in the next few weeks.

For me, the cost was worth it to have the spider mites finally eradicated

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