How To Use Predatory Mites
If you’re looking for a way to control harmful pests in your home it’s time to try and biological pest control. The use of predatory mites in an indoor gardening scenario is ideal for anyone that does not want to spray chemicals indoors. Gardening In Canada article looks at the value of using predatory mites for indoor plants.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
What Are Predatory Mites?
Predatory mites simply put are mites that eat various different pest species. The eating of these pests can take place at various different times in their life stages. Breaking the pest cycle of reproduction is the key to stopping the pass from continuing in the home.
Because these are living breathing critters you should consider the fact that they will be visible. This doesn’t bug me in particular mostly because bugs are part of the package when it comes to houseplants. Already have an indoor pest issue addition of a few more won’t make much of a difference.
The predatory mites I use are called Grub Grande and I have used them for years. More on these later.
How Do Predatory Mites Work?
The predatory mites are effective for both active infestation and prevention. When you’re using predatory mites and an active infestation you need to ensure you apply enough to help keep the population of the past down.
If you’re using predatory mites as a way of maintenance then you want to apply less. The reason for this is predatory mites can survive in your home for an extended period of time. But only under certain conditions. This means the predatory mites need to have a food source.
If you over-apply predatory mites in a maintenance scenario your mite food source will run out. If you were able to strike the perfect balance with your beneficial minds you may have a long-term solution. It’s all about balance.
Different Types Of Predatory Mites
Depending on your scenario you may want to try a different might. All mites are designed to attack the prey in a different way.
The First Option Is Considered Aggressive.
An aggressive predatory mite refers to a mite that quickly eats all the harmful bugs. These are perfect for anyone currently going through a major infestation of harmful pests. An aggressive biological might application means that a majority of the harmful pest will be consumed and disposed of quickly.
If an aggressive mite is used you can potentially save a plant that is in the fight for its life. However, there is a downside to using an aggressive predatory mite. The downside is that the predatory mite is likely to eat through all its food.
Once the food source for the aggressive mite is completely consumed it will starve. This means it is not a good long-term or maintenance might. These cannot be used for long-term use in a home because they are likely to die quickly without a food source.
An aggressive mite is Phytoseiulus persimilis
The Second Option Is A Slow Mite
The second option when choosing a predatory might would be the slow option. With a slow predatory mite, you can achieve homeostasis in your home. This means you can keep all pests in check for a longer period of time.
A slow-moving mite will slowly consume its food source. This means you have lots of time for breeding and next generations to form. One small application could go for months depending on the food supply in your home.
However, a slow predatory mite means in an active infestation the results may be too little too late. I do not recommend using these if you can visibly see a pest on any of your plants. It’s unlikely that a slow-moving mite is going to do much of anything.
Perfect application for a predatory mite on the slower side of things is greenhouses and large plant collections. Another valuable application for these would be in the garden to help prevent pests.
An example of a slower-moving mite is Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) californicus,
The Middle Ground Mites
My personal favourite is the ground grenades might. If you want to grab these predatory mites then be sure to check out the link here. These guys are at the perfect mix of both fast and effective but also long-term maintenance.
How effective you want them to depend on the quantity you apply during the application. The more mites you apply to your plants the faster the issue will go away. This means if you were in the throes of an active infestation you may want to consider 100 mites per square foot.
The application process is pretty simple. 1 mL is equal to 25 mites. That means in an active infestation you can apply 1 teaspoon per square foot of the grub grenade might species
If you’re wanting to use the grub grenade for maintenance. Then you may want to consider only 1 mL per square foot. You have to keep in mind the bug Highway. An Example of the bug highway and my YouTube video on predatory mites.
The Bug Highway
And every plant collection there is a bug highway. For some of us it may be difficult to spot but for most of us, we likely can see it from a mile away. The bug highway is located in an area where your house plants are densely placed.
Wherever two leaves, a stem and leaf, leaves and stems, or any other plant part touches one another you have a bug Highway. When applying predatory mites to this area you want to take into consideration the total square foot of the entire freeway.
If you have five plants all of which are touching each other in one way or another. You will want to apply your predatory mites in the appropriate volume for that space.
For example, if each pot takes up a total of one square foot and you have a total of 10 parts in that area. This means you have a total of approximately 10 ft.². If you are using this for a maintenance scenario you want to apply it to teaspoons.
If you use the exact same example but you have an active infestation you were going to consider using 1 teaspoon per part. This means a total of 10 teaspoons throughout the entire bag freeway.
How To Apply Predatory Mites
Application for predatory mites is very simple. Remember how he said these are highly mobile well it goes the same one application takes place. This means you can apply predatory mites in a single part or spread it out evenly amongst the area. Because their mobile is invisible they will make their way to the food.
If you’re playing predatory mites in an outdoor setting such as a garden again an even dispersal is not needed. The pests will move as soon as they are applied and they will find their way to the food source.
If you are using nematodes as a method of biological control consider rotating between each species rather than applying both at once. For more on this check out this article or the YouTube video.
Do They Come Alive In The Mail?
When you get your predatory mites in the mail you will receive them in a plastic bag. This plastic bag has some air breather is on the back and four important reasons. Everything inside of there is alive except for the vermiculite they are stored in.
The mites come in all different stages of life from eggs, larvae, adults. This means you may not see anything moving or lively in the packaging. However within a few days once the eggs hatch they will be visible to the eye.
Where Do You Buy Predatory Mites?
The key to getting predatory mites that work is finding a fresh source. This is why I can guarantee ordering grub grenade through Amazon is a deal. I spoke with the company directly as to how they handled their products. Not to mention I’ve been a long-term purchaser and user of the crop grenade product.
The grub grenade is packaged the same day in British Columbia Canada and shipped out. This means by the time it lands on your doorstep using Amazon prime you essentially have only a couple of day-old mites.
You want to make sure when purchasing predatory mites that it is not done through a store. This is not a shelf-stable product and that means it should not be on a shelf. Regardless of how they are stored whether it be in cooler temperatures or not the company strongly suggested fresh sources only.
What do predatory mites eat?
- Fungus gnats
- Spider mites
- Pupating thrips
- Root weevils
- Sow bugs & pill bugs
- Root aphids
- Root mealys
- Bulb mite
- Varroa mites
- Poultry red mites
- Phoretic mites
- Shore flies
- Rose midge
Things To Watch For With Predatory Mites
when it comes to predatory mites there are a few words of caution. For example, you do not want to apply any sort of pesticide or pest removal applications. This includes an overhead shower or blasting of the leaves.
Want to do all your past prep before the mites are applied. If you are using any form of chemical with the mites you will kill them. While they are beneficial they are still made up of the same material any other past with me. This means insecticides are very effective in killing beneficial predatory mites as well.
If you were going to be using an overhead blasting method such as the shower again you will want to do this prior to the mite application. However, if you were using a natural mechanical removal method such as water blasting you do not have to be concerned about waiting any period of time before application.
You’re using a chemical method in any shape or form you most definitely want to wait 72 hours before applying your predatory mites. Call timeframe in which pesticides last on a plant is 48 to 72 hours. Just because you can’t see the pesticide any longer on the leaves does not mean it isn’t still active.
Why Choose Predatory Mites Over Pesticides
The question he may be asking is why would you choose predatory mites over pesticides. Pesticides are proven to be effective and immediate sources of pest removal. And I have two words for you pesticide resistance.
The concept of pesticide resistance is well known in the agricultural community. It’s actually something that farmers, agronomists and growers across the world keep in the back of their minds. Pests become resistant to pesticides after increased exposure.
It’s not unheard of for a pass to become totally resistant to a pesticide designed to kill it. This means using something as simple as a name in your household plants over and over again may result in a pest-resistant species.
Using biological pest control we help eliminate that factor. This means if we ever do you have an incredibly bad infestation that predatory mites can I taken care of. We can fall back on pesticides. Pesticides will work effectively we have not used them prior.
There you have it a complete guide to using predatory mites with your indoor house plants. Keep in mind predatory mites can also be used in the garden as a way of controlling pills bugs, thrips, mealy, aphids, etc. regardless of what kind of plant person you may be predatory mites are ideal.