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Beneficial Insects

Have you tried them, and if so, how well do they work for you? If not, what do you rely on instead?

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I sell and do consulting for predator mites for a living and have used them on my personal grow. I have had a lot of successful applications on my own plants and customers. I’ve seen a lot of interest in predator mites over the past 2 years and it seems like its increasing with all the new regulations and bans on sprays.

My current struggle is there is a bit of misinformation/misapplication that I’ve seen and its pretty crucial to find the right predator to match your temp,humidity, and overall conditions. I’ve seen predators last 4+ weeks in ideal conditions, reproduce over 2x the original application, and completely eliminate target pests.

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Do you have a chart of temps and humidity ranges for various beneficial insects? Or is there a good resource online for that info?

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As an outdoor/greenhouse focused organic operation we rely heavily of beneficial insects. Some of the insects we use/promote are ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, preying mantis, spiders and more. We try to create a balanced ecosystem that supports the predators and draws them in through companion planting. It’s a lot more complex than just spraying - and it takes more time and isn’t necessarily as responsive - but ultimately as the ecosystem becomes denser and more finely tuned it is one of the best ways for the herb and the environment.

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I personally run a slew of beneficials for my indoor warehouse. I get drop shipped a large package every two weeks of the following: Rove Beetles, Stratio, Swirskii, Cucumeris. Sometimes throw in a few other bugs or nematodes but not often.

I use the bugs in an attempt to combat the nasties like broads or russets on the leaves and potentially dirt in veg but also fungus gnat larvae or root aphids. This seems to do the job in taking care of my flyer issues. Ever since using them, I have zero fungus gnats and root aphid flyers :wink:

The only ones that continue to fight would be broads or russets if you ever get them. It’s hard for the foliar bugs to combat every nook and cranny without spending quite a penny on large amounts imho.

My favorite are the rove beetles. They seem to resist and organic pesticide or essential oil you throw at them fyi. They also last from veg to late flower in the pots! If no food is found the beetles take flight from pot to pot and usually fly slowly with their scorpion tails/behind up in the air. You will learn to not swat them over time haha.

Just my experiences :slight_smile:

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While I don’t intentionally run them, praying mantis and spiders are pretty nice for dealing with flies and pests outdoors.

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Here is some raw data I’ve been working with for the most popular. There are a few more I’ll be adding. I’m developing a chart that should cover a lot of the typical questions such as conditions, best applications, and target pests. Ill post here when I have a link.

P. persimilis | 70°-85° F. | 70% RH
M. longipes | 70°-90° F. | 40% RH
N. fallacis | 50°-80° F. | 60-90% RH
N. californicus | 50°-105° F. | 40-80% RH
G. Occidentalis | 80°-110° F. | 30% RH

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Thanks is awesome, thanks for sharing your info @dmcclain105!

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Here is a table I put together a few years ago with information largely pulled from rinconvitova.com
I used to do a fair amount of biocontrol recommendations (and drop-shipped from Evergreen Growers Supply), but nowadays I refer most people to naturalenemiesbiocontrol.com They have been developing application rates for cannabis.

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Great chart, thanks for sharing @jaya!

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This is fantastic information provided by on site people and what is working, we need a whole forum on just the use and education of this type of system as the pesticides and fertilizers can’t be helping us out. As a long time cancer survivor (on my 6th year) every contaminant NOT in my body is a great thing!, Thank you for providing this info!

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There is great data from entomology papers for growth rates of each of the insects you have mentioned. The papers show breeding levels at a verity of temperature, light, humidity and day length. Not only the optimum level. This information is useful for growers and suppliers, you can more accurately define the number of predator need to be released, based on your growing conditions.

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One more thought I want to start agragating the data into a database for active modeling of pest to predator populations.

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