Frequently Asked Questions

Spider Mite Questions

Will ladybugs treat spider mites?


You may have heard anecdotally from other sources that ladybugs are a good spider mite control; however, ladybugs do not feed primarily on spider mites and we don’t actively recommend them for spider mite control because if there are other food sources available, they will ignore the spider mites and move on.

Stethorus beetle, one of the bugs we do advertise for spider mite control, is actually a relative of ladybugs, and is what should be recommended instead of ladybugs as they are a far more effective predator than ladybugs specifically.




What do you recommend for treating spider mite?


We recommend using a combination of three products: persimilis, fallacis, and stethorus. You can read more about those products here.




Is persimilis better to use than fallacis? What is the difference between those two beneficials?


It depends on where your crop is at, as well as how far along the infestation is. Persimilis will actually travel into webbing to feed on spider mites, so if your infestation is bad, persimilis are a must. If you are having trouble meeting the humidity requirement for persimilis (a constant humidity of at least 60% is required when persimilis are present as their eggs will dry out in anything less), you may want to consider using the ladybugs relative stethorus, which, while it is more expensive, is more hardy and excellent at seeking spider mites. If you can get both, do it. Fallacis is a great preventative mite, as they feed on more than just spider mites, while persimilis and stethorus will die off without the spider mites present. Fallacis can survive on pollen, and will also feed on bamboo mites, spruce spider mite, and more. If you are worried about a possible spider mite infestation, or are starting a new room, fallacis are a great idea as they will stick around for the life of the crop. They are also great to introduce alongside persimilis and stethorus, and will not compete with them.




Do I need to do anything special to my plants to prepare them for the beneficial mites?


The most particular mite that we sell is the persimilis.; This mite does require a humidity of at least 60% because, without it, the eggs will dry out and the second generation of mites will not survive. Fallacis and stethorus are more hardy.

As a general rule with all our products, you want to be very careful with introducing beneficial bugs if you have any sort of pesticide, soap, or essential oils history. Most (if not all) pesticides are incompatible with our bugs. If you've recently applied a commercial soap or oil product (like Neem Oil), we recommend waiting at least a week before introducing any beneficial bugs.




I can’t see any beneficial mites! Am I supposed to be able to see them?


The best way to see the mites is, upon reception, pour a small amount of the mite carrier onto a white piece of paper and look for movement with the naked eye or a light magnifier. Another way to see the mites is to open the bottle and look on the rim and paper filter on the lid, where it should be easier to see them. Persimilis are a bit easier to spot on the plant themselves due to their orange-y colour.




Do you sell or recommend using Californicus?


If you want to try californicus, we can sell it to you, but opposed to the products produced by Applied Bio-nomics, these are produced overseas and likely have been refrigerated rather than produced fresh to ship to you. As well, calfornicus will feed on persimilis mites, and therefore is not compatible with our usual recommended spider mite strategy.





 
 

Ladybug Questions:

When do you have ladybugs in stock?


In ideal conditions, we would have ladybugs year round; however, because our ladybugs are collected wild, a number of variables make this not always the case. Often the weather is too hot, cold, dry, or humid in California, where the ladybugs are collected (or 'picked') and we experience a shortage. The most often time this happens is late May/mid-June in the transition from Spring to Summer. Keep an eye on the front page of the site where updates on ladybug stock are posted.




How long can I store my ladybugs?


Each bag of ladybugs comes with a date stamped on the bag, ~a month from when you recieve them. We recommend putting out a portion of your ladybugs right away, storing the rest in the fridge for a couple weeks, then putting out the rest to follow up after the first application.




I have a spider mite infestation. Will ladybugs help me?


We get this question a lot - the answer? Usually not. Ladybugs are generalists, meaning they will eat a large number of different pests under various circumstances. This, however, doesn't negate the fact that ladybugs' preferred food is aphids, and if ladybugs believe they will find aphids elsewhere, they will likely move on from your spider mite infestation. If you do have spider mites, check out our page here to read up on our predatory mite recommendations for spider mite control.




I'm buying more than one of your products. Will ladybugs eat the other good bugs?


If there are pests present, no. Predatory mites are quick, and if there is easier prey, such as whichever pest you are targeting - spider mite, thrip, whitefly, aphids - the ladybugs will feed on the slow-moving pest instead. If you find that ladybugs are eating into beneficial mite populations, this is a sign that your pest numbers have become so low that the ladybugs have no other options.




How do I get my ladybugs to stick around?


We recommend that you release ladybugs at dusk when they are least active. Mist your plants and the inside of the ladybug bag before releasing them, as this will encourage them to stick around. You can also put out a dish of sugar water, apple cores, raisins - anything high in sugar will attract the ladybugs.




I'm seeing little, long, black and orange insects on my plants after I introduced ladybugs. Help!


These are likely ladybug nymphs, which love eating aphids! You can see a photo of them here, along with a photo of ladybug eggs here. This is a good sign, as it shows that the ladybugs you purchased from us are reproducing and establishing a population to fight pests.




Do you sell ladybug larvae?


No, we do not. All we sell are adult ladybugs, but in the right environment, the ladybugs will breed and lay their eggs on the plants, the larvae then hatching on your plants. Look out for ladybugs’ yellow, football shaped eggs sticking up from the leaves of your plant.




I want to create a habitat for ladybugs in my classroom/for my kids. How would I do this?


Begin with purchasing adult ladybugs directly from us. We suggest that you set up an aquarium-like habitat for them with a mesh roof. Of course, you would need to find plant material to serve as a habitat, and a food source for the ladybugs (preferably plants that are covered with aphids! If you can’t find any, try inquiring at a local nursery). A small dish of sugar water and an apple core will also help keep the ladybugs happy. Once the adult ladybugs have been released, they will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. These eggs will then hatch into larvae and students/kids can watch the entire life cycle, which takes approximately 2-4 weeks.




Do you raise your own ladybugs at The Bug Lady?


No, we do not. There is no one who grows or raises ladybugs; instead, they are collected wild as adults from California and sent directly to us.




I’m seeing ants as well as aphids on my plants. What can I do to get rid of the ants?


In order for ladybugs to effectively control aphids, the ants must be taken care of, as ants farm aphids in order to feed on aphid-produced honeydew. We recommend that you put out ant traps before introducing any biological aphid controls. Ant traps can be purchased at your local Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or any hardware store.





Spider Mite Questions

Will ladybugs treat spider mites?


You may have heard anecdotally from other sources that ladybugs are a good spider mite control; however, ladybugs do not feed primarily on spider mites and we don’t actively recommend them for spider mite control because if there are other food sources available, they will ignore the spider mites and move on.

Stethorus beetle, one of the bugs we do advertise for spider mite control, is actually a relative of ladybugs, and is what should be recommended instead of ladybugs as they are a far more effective predator than ladybugs specifically.




What do you recommend for treating spider mite?


We recommend using a combination of three products: persimilis, fallacis, and stethorus. You can read more about those products here.




Is persimilis better to use than fallacis? What is the difference between those two beneficials?


It depends on where your crop is at, as well as how far along the infestation is. Persimilis will actually travel into webbing to feed on spider mites, so if your infestation is bad, persimilis are a must. If you are having trouble meeting the humidity requirement for persimilis (a constant humidity of at least 60% is required when persimilis are present as their eggs will dry out in anything less), you may want to consider using the ladybugs relative stethorus, which, while it is more expensive, is more hardy and excellent at seeking spider mites. If you can get both, do it. Fallacis is a great preventative mite, as they feed on more than just spider mites, while persimilis and stethorus will die off without the spider mites present. Fallacis can survive on pollen, and will also feed on bamboo mites, spruce spider mite, and more. If you are worried about a possible spider mite infestation, or are starting a new room, fallacis are a great idea as they will stick around for the life of the crop. They are also great to introduce alongside persimilis and stethorus, and will not compete with them.




Do I need to do anything special to my plants to prepare them for the beneficial mites?


The most particular mite that we sell is the persimilis.; This mite does require a humidity of at least 60% because, without it, the eggs will dry out and the second generation of mites will not survive. Fallacis and stethorus are more hardy.

As a general rule with all our products, you want to be very careful with introducing beneficial bugs if you have any sort of pesticide, soap, or essential oils history. Most (if not all) pesticides are incompatible with our bugs. If you've recently applied a commercial soap or oil product (like Neem Oil), we recommend waiting at least a week before introducing any beneficial bugs.




I can’t see any beneficial mites! Am I supposed to be able to see them?


The best way to see the mites is, upon reception, pour a small amount of the mite carrier onto a white piece of paper and look for movement with the naked eye or a light magnifier. Another way to see the mites is to open the bottle and look on the rim and paper filter on the lid, where it should be easier to see them. Persimilis are a bit easier to spot on the plant themselves due to their orange-y colour.




Do you sell or recommend using Californicus?


If you want to try californicus, we can sell it to you, but opposed to the products produced by Applied Bio-nomics, these are produced overseas and likely have been refrigerated rather than produced fresh to ship to you. As well, calfornicus will feed on persimilis mites, and therefore is not compatible with our usual recommended spider mite strategy.





 

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thebuglady@westgrowbios.ca

Select images of pests and beneficial bugs property of Applied Bio-Nomics