This week we introduced quite a few biological control insects (for prevention).
* hypoaspis – these are mites that live in the soil or other media that we grow plants in. We use them primarily to control thrips (they eat thrip pupae), but they also help with fungus gnats and some other pests that lay eggs or pupate in the soilless media.
* Orius (aka. minute pirate bugs) – also for thrip control. I introduced most of these into the ornamental pepper crop that we grow specifically because it is a good banker plant for orius (they can eat the pollen of the pepper crop when they don’t have enough pests to eat).
I also put some in the cucumbers, eggplant and nasturtiums–the plants that get the most thrips in the greenhouse. We use the orius primarily for control of thrips, but they will also, hopefully, help with leafhoppers (a pest we seem not to be able to get full control of) as they are supposed to eat the leafhopper eggs. I also understand that orius will eat caterpillar eggs and since we still have a population of diamond back moths, I’m hoping to see some impact there.
* californicus – a mite which is used for spider mite control. We had a small outbreak of spider mites in early January, but we treated them with a different mite called persimilus. Persimilus are better predators but they die more quickly without food. The californicus are meant as a preventative insect, and so I am hoping they will last a longer time.
* Atheta coriaria – a very mobile beetle that attacks a wide variety of soil-based pests (again, primarily a thrip pupae biocontrol). I only took a picture of the bottle (I will have to catch some and get a close up another time).
* ervi/colemani mix — two parasitic wasps that are used to control aphids.