Aphids are one of the most common and successful pests we find on our plants.
One reason for this is that they are incredibly prolific: when food is unlimited they go into an asexual reproductive stage, where an all female population give live birth to pregnant females.
One way to combat them is to use what is perhaps the most widely recognized aphid predator, the popular ladybug. Ladybugs are predators both as adults and larvae, and are capable of consuming about 50 aphids daily.
The ladybugs we sell are native to North America, the species Hippodamia convergens. Their main prey are aphids, but they are generalists, and feed on a variety of other pests including thrips, mites, whitefly, mealybugs, leafhoppers, and many other soft-bodied bugs. As generalists, they also can serve as a great follow up or add-on to help deal with many pest issues you may be facing.
After receiving ladybugs, they can either be released right away or be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 weeks (see the expiry date stamped onto the label of the bag). The best time to release ladybugs is at dusk, when the bugs are least active, and the environment is not as hot and dry as mid-day. It is also a good idea to mist the plants with water in the area where you’ll be releasing the ladybugs.
Click here for root aphid info
A good strategy is to purchase a larger bag and release 1/3 to 1/2 of the bag and then store the rest in the fridge. That way you can incrementally release the ladybugs throughout the span of a few weeks and keep re-introducing predators to combat your pest population. You may also avoid the hassle and cost of a second shipment.
Aphidoletes are an even "better" aphid predator that serve as a great follow-up to ladybugs when dealing with aphids. Aphidoletes are predator midges of aphids and are sold in the pupal stage, in a tray containing vermiculite. Pupae are tough enough to withstand the rigors of shipping. Unlike ladybugs, they can't be released right away, but must be held at room temperature for a few days, until the adults begin to emerge and fly around within the plastic container. This maturation process can take up to one week. Once you see the adult midges flying around, the following evening they can be released at aphid hotspots. They are "aphid generalists", and are known to feed on over sixty different species of soft-bodied aphids. Aphidoletes are known to be incredible searchers, and will can even find individual aphids within the crop. They are better than ladybugs at reducing aphid populations in most circumstances - one reason being that they are more focused on aphids specifically, while ladybugs have a broader pest palette.
If you’re dealing with aphids on boulevard trees lining the street and causing honeydew to drop onto parked vehicles, Aphidoletes and ladybugs are your solution. We offer a specific product, the Aphidoletes hanging vial, to help deal with that problem. All you would have to do is hang one vial per tree - or every other tree if trees are adjacent - and the Aphidoletes will emerge from a hole in the lid of the vial once they’ve reached the adult stage, ready to find aphids. Ladybugs can also be released as well as hanging up Aphidoletes vials, for they’ll get to work right away while you wait for the Aphidoletes to mature.
If you’re dealing with an aphid infestation on a larger scale, please see our homepage and send us an inquiry under our wholesale section for information about larger quantities and field use.
Helpful hint: if you have a history of aphid problems, you may have ant colonies protecting the aphids. Spend a few minutes watching for ants in your aphid spots. If you can put out ant bait, or tanglefoot around your trees, that may be half the solution, as then the native predators and parasites are able to help.
Anystis are a large, fast, red mite that are quickly becoming a popular bio-control agent everywhere from indoor house plants to agriculture, floriculture and retailers. It is already being used for both generalist preventative applications against pests as diverse as whitefly, red mites, and psyllids and to wipe out (or prevent) known pests like thrips, aphids and spider mites.
These "Crazee Mites" require such large numbers of prey that they are quick to spread out and may cannibalize if there is a lack of food. All mobile stages of Anystis are predatory. The adults will immediately begin laying eggs and are capable of eating hundreds of prey daily. Eggs are laid in leaf-litter or loose, consistently humid growing media, making cycling possible in most crops. Some others may require regular reapplications.
Aphid control is best achieved with preventative applications of Crazee Mites as needed, and regular preventative releases of Aphidoletes every 2-3 weeks during peak aphid season.
Application rates are variable. 1 mite per square foot may be appropriate for both preventative and knockdown depending on environment, plants and prey. Generally, as a starting point, it is recommended that 0.25 mites be applied per square foot for prevention. However, contact us directly to discuss more individually-catered rates of application for the area you are treating.
Brown lacewing, Micromus variegatus, is also a top aphid predator. What separates the brown lacewing from the green lacewing, and raises its stature among aphid predators to the liking of beetles and hoverflies is that it is a voracious predator both in the larval and adult stage. Micromus variegatus lay eggs singularly near aphids. Larva emerge after 5-7 days and immediately begin consuming aphids and any soft-bodied prey by piercing and holding prey in their hollow mandibles and sucking them dry. After two weeks as larvae, consuming hundreds of aphids, they take to the ground in protected leaf-litter or under pots to pupate. Adults emerge one week later. Under the right circumstances, adults will live several weeks and lay over one hundred more eggs, typically lower in the canopy than other predators. Larva of all lacewing species are cannibalistic when food is scarce or when densities are too high. They also eat scale, spider mites, leaf-hoppers, mealybugs and more.
Suited for up to 1500 square feet.
Having ladybugs and other beneficial insects in your yard is wonderful, but it can be a challenge to keep them. Using a food source can be a great way to hold on to your beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings and direct them to certain areas of your yard. Ladybugs in particular require a liquid food source when released; it will increase their egg laying and your control.
250 tray (22710): $35.00
suited for areas - 2000 sq ft
1,000 tray (22715): $77.50
Buy 3 or more: $72.50 each
5,000-10,000 sq. feet
250 hanger (22711): $39.00
Buy 3 or more: $36.00 ea
50 Mites (22680): $60.00
250 Mites (22685): $160.00
Hot Spot Treatment
1,000 Green Lacewing Eggs (23742)
$15.00 (buy 3 or more: $12.00/ 1,000)
1,000 Green Lacewing Larvae (23740): $80.00
Prevention Rate: 600 adults per hectare in spring.
Reactive Rate: 100 to 200 adults in a hotspot, once. Eggs are best for knock-down.
(Hot spot treatment. Eggs need to be applied directly on aphid infestation, as they are not able to fly to the food source yet.)
Aphid Combo Pack
SMALL: $85.00 (22800)
Contains: 50 Anystis
Combined value of $95.00
REGULAR: $117.50 (22802)
Contains: 50 Anystis
Combined value of $137.50
Aphidoletes + Ladybugs
Get $5.00 off a bag of 250 Ladybugs when you buy them with Aphidoletes.
Get $10.00 off a bag of 1,000 Ladybugs or $15.00 off of a 3,000 bag when you buy them with Aphidoletes.