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Control Spider Mites With Beneficial Mites

Put the chemicals down and pick up some mite eggs

Bruce Williams, Steven Ash

You’re ready to try a more sustainable method of pest control and have purchased some beneficial mite eggs to release onto a plant infested with spider mites. How do you ensure that these tiny beneficial bugs will actually go after the pests you’re trying to eradicate and not just scurry off to find a different meal?

In this video, Steven Ash, coauthor and editor of the revised and updated edition of The Gardener’s Guide to Common-Sense Pest Control, demonstrates an effective method for releasing beneficial mites using a piece of paper and a standard index card.

Step 1: Get your mites ready for deployment

Dump some of your mites in vermiculite onto your piece of paper, then bend your index card (without creasing it) so you’re able to place it in between the main stems of the affected plant.

Step 2: Get mites into position, and they’ll do the rest

Using the piece of paper, carefully pour the mites in vermiculite onto the index card. Leave the card in your plant for a few days, and the beneficial mites will crawl out and begin hunting for the spider mites. Had you simply dumped the mites directly onto the plant, half of those beneficial bugs would have ended up in the dirt.

Tip: Utilize every last mite

Because mites are so small, you’ll never get all of them out of the jar. So after you’ve released all of the mites in vermiculite you can, leave the open jar and lid in the plant as well. There probably will be about 100 mites or more still attached to the jar and crawling around the inside of the lid, so don’t be quick to trash a container that might look empty at first glance.

Types of beneficial mites

The following beneficial mites are useful for eliminating spider mites. They can be ordered from insectaties everywhere:

  • Amblyseius cucumeris—thrips predator
  • Neoseiulus californicus—mite predator
  • Galendromus occidentalis—mite predator
  • Amblyseius fallacis—mite predator
  • Phytoseiulus persimilis—mite predator

This video is a supplement to the revised and updated edition of The Gardener’s Guide to Common-Sense Pest Control from Taunton Press.

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