Monday, May 6, 2013
On Saturday Jamie & Xiaoyu help move us closer to our sustainable landscaping target
For the past several years we have had insect problems in several species of trees in the Montreal area. One was mite infestation of Locust trees. These tiny insects turn the leaves yellow and weaken the trees. The old way of treatment would have been spraying chemical insecticides, instead we are using Biocontrol.
Learn more here
Jamie reported: Strathmore has launched it's first attack on pests using natural predators! At 1250 René Levesque, Xiaoyu and I have pinned each small tree with one bag and each large tree with two bags. With a total of 28 bags containing 1000 predator mites, also we emptied one bottle containing 5000 at the base of the trees. A total of 33000 was released today. We took samples from the trees in the form of small twigs to examine when we got home. We did discover the pests eggs on these twigs. It is not the eggs that overwinter but the females. So they have already started to lay eggs. Our predators will not only control the population by eating the mothers but also by eating the eggs.
Factsheet on the ‘Biological plant protector’ named The Bug Eater.
Landscape plants can be easily infested by microscopic pest, such as spider mites, thrips and white flies. These pests take away plant nutrients, making leaves yellow, distorted and curled. Plants have to spend resources and energy defending themselves against pests instead of growing new leaves or flowers. The insect damage does not only cause unhealthy-looking plants, but also makes plants more susceptible to diseases.
These pests reproduce at a high rate. By the time you notice them on the plant, it is too late: they have reproduced, injured your plants, and moved to other susceptible plants in your property.
'The Bug Eater contains a predator of these pests. The predators feed on multiple common pest species. They are like tiny workers, searching for pests in every corner of plants. With these tiny workers, plants are healthy-looking and chemical spray is no longer required for the pest control. Once there are no more pests left in the plants, the predators eat pollen and each other and their population eventually dies out.
Insect predators do not harm plants. They don’t bite or hurt humans and animals either. Most of commercial biological control agents sold in Canada are for indoor use or greenhouse use. The Bug Eater is well-adapted to outdoor conditions.
The scientific name of the predator is Neoseiulus cucumeris.
Each bag contains all stages of N. cucumeris mixed with bran. N. cucumeris are transparent pale brown predatory mites of about 0.5 mm (1/50 in) in length. They are often found on the underside of leaves along the veins or inside mature flowers. Larva, nymphs and adults are droplet-shaped. Adult cucumeris normally deposit eggs on the hair of the underside of leaves. The eggs are oval-shaped and transparent white in color. The bran contains special food for N. cucumeris to keep them healthy in the package for at least 2 weeks.
N. cucumeris feed on common pests of ornamental and garden plants.
- Many species of spider mites, for example, cyclamen mites (Tarsonemus pallidus), broad mites (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), citrus red spider mites (Panonychus citricarmine spider mites (Tetranychus cinnabarinus), two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), Eotetranychus pruni, Spruce spider mites (Oligonychus ununguis), Panonychus ulmi, Tetranychus cinnabarinus, Tetranychus turkestani Ugarov, Tetranychus viennensis Zacher amongst others.
- White fly larva (Bemisia tabaci)
- Larva of various thrip species, such as western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) and onion thrips (Thrips tabaci).
Use and Handling
Hold by the edge of a bag. Tear the edge of the bag open at the top by 1/2. For shrubs, attach the bag on the main branch with a clothes pin and allow maximum contact areas between the bag and the branch. For trees, a push pin can be used to fix the bag on the main branch and allow the bag to sit between two major branches. A small piece of plastic sheet is highly recommended for covering the opening of the bags. This will prevent water from entering the package and suffocating the predators. Once opened, a bag is effective for 3 weeks.
Do not push or squeeze the bag. Do not pour water in the bag. Avoid exposing the entire bag to direct sunlight.
- 1 bag (1500 mites per bag) for a small to medium sized tree every 3-4 weeks, starting from first week of May in Canada.
- 1 bag (1500 mites per bag) for a shrub every 3-4 weeks, starting from first week of May in Canada.
Favourable environmental conditions
Predators are active between 15-31ºC. Relative humidity ≥60% is ideal.
Immediate release upon delivery is highly recommended. If storage is required, the optimum storage condition is a temperature between 10-15ºC (for a maximum of two weeks) in a well-ventilated place, higher than 70% relative humidity, avoid light and stacking.
(Gongyu Lin, 2013, BioChina Inc.)
Common landscape plants that are attracted by spider mites, thrips and/or white flies. (From A-Z)
Flowering fruit trees