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Recently I have been looking into biological pest controls. Most people are familiar with some of these such as lady bugs or predatory mites, however there is a wide range of pest control options from fungi, bacteria, predators or parasitoids. In my search I came across an amazing resource (http://www.biocontrol.entomology.cornell.edu/index.php). It is my plan to read several of these over the next couple of days and compile a list of which predator goes with each pest because the website doesn't seem to do that, and I feel that is a more appropriate way to organize the data. I would also eventually like to compile this into some kind of pdf, but that seems like a rather difficult and lengthy task at the moment. As I've said before, wholesale use of pesticides effects the good and bad organisms alike.

I have started a similar topic regarding the use of plant compounds as an effective pest management strategy, Organic Garden Pests-Aside!


Predators

The arthropod predators of insects and mites include beetles, true bugs, lacewings, flies, midges, spiders, wasps, and predatory mites. Insect predators can be found throughout plants, including the parts below ground, as well as in nearby shrubs and trees. Some predators are specialized in their choice of prey, others are generalists. Some are extremely useful natural enemies of insect pests. Unfortunately, some prey on other beneficial insects as well as pests.

Insect predators can be found in almost all agricultural and natural habitats. Each group may have a different life cycle and habits. Although the life history of some common predators is well studied, information on the biology and relative importance of many predatory species is lacking. In this document, we have included the more common and better understood beneficial predators.

Major characteristics of arthropod predators:

  • adults and immatures are often generalists rather than specialists
  • they generally are larger than their prey
  • they kill or consume many prey
  • males, females, immatures, and adults may be predatory
  • they attack immature and adult prey

Relative Effectiveness

Most beneficial predators will consume many pest insects during their development, but some predators are more effective at controlling pests than others. Some species may play an important role in the suppression of some pests. Others may provide good late season control, but appear too late to suppress the early season pest population. Many beneficial species may have only a minor impact by themselves but contribute to overall pest mortality. Often too, the role of the beneficial predators has not been adequately studied.

Surveys of agricultural systems give an indication of the potential number and diversity of predators in a crop. For example, over 600 species of predators in 45 families of insects and 23 families of spiders and mites have been recorded in Arkansas cotton. Eighteen species of predatory insects (not including spiders and mites) have been found in potatoes in the northeastern United States. There may be thousands of predators per acre, in addition to many parasitoids. Although the impact of any one species of natural enemy may be minor, the combined impact of predators, parasitoids, and insect pathogens can be considerable.

Predators Table of Contents

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Pathogens and Antagonists of Plant Disease and Post-Harvest Decay

Insects and mites, like plants, humans, and other animals, can be infected by disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Under some conditions, such as high humidity or high pest abundance, these naturally occurring organisms may multiply to cause disease outbreaks or epizootics that can decimate an insect population. Diseases can be important natural controls of some insect pests.

Some pathogens have been mass produced and are available in commercial formulations for use in standard spray equipment. These products are frequently referred to as microbial insecticides, biorational, or bio-insecticides. Some of these microbial insecticides are still experimental, others have been available for many years. Formulations of the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, for example, are widely used by gardeners and commercial growers.

Most insect pathogens are relatively specific to certain groups of insects and certain life stages. The microbial products do not directly affect beneficial insects and none are toxic to wildlife or humans. Specificity, ironically, can be a disadvantage to the commercialization of these products because their small market may limit profitability.

Unlike chemical insecticides, microbial insecticides can take longer to kill or debilitate the target pest. This may limit their use to crops that can sustain some insect damage. To be effective, most microbial insecticides must be applied to the correct life stage of the pest, and some understanding of the target pest's life cycle is required. Some microbial insecticides must be eaten by the insect to be effective. Good spray coverage is therefore important.

Major characteristics of insect pathogens:

  • they kill, reduce reproduction, slow growth, or shorten the life of pests
  • they usually are specific to target species or to specific life stages
  • their effectiveness may depend on environmental conditions or host abundance
  • the degree of control by naturally occurring pathogens may be unpredictable
  • they are relatively slow acting; they may take several days or longer to provide adequate control
  • they may cause epizootics
  • Microbial insecticides are compatible with the use of predators and parasitoids, which may help to spread some pathogens through the pest population. Beneficial insects are not usually affected directly because of the specificity of a microbial product, but some parasitoids may be affected indirectly if parasitized hosts are killed. Insecticide applicators should note that although microbials are non-toxic to humans in the conventional sense, safety precautions should be followed to minimize exposure.

Pathogens Table of Contents

Antagonists

Antagonists of plant disease and food spoilage microorganisms are not yet well understood. However, the research that has been done has yielded exciting and promising results, and the study of antagonists has become a rapidly expanding field in plant pathology.

Worldwide, diseases of crop plants cause losses estimated to be 12%, and post harvest losses due to food spoilage have been estimated to be between 10% and 50%. In the United States, these figures are estimated to be 12% and 9%, respectively. Finding ways to prevent microorganisms from causing these losses would help ensure a stable food supply for the world's ever expanding population. Outside of agriculture, diseases can cause the destruction of entire stands of plants in marshes, forests, or other natural settings, and in other plant systems.

Knowledge of the interactions among microorganisms and ways to manipulate microbiota is growing as research in this field rapidly expands. Antagonists have been successfully used to suppress tomato mosaic, foot and butt rot of conifers, citrus tristeza disease, and crown gall of several crops. Seeds have been coated with antagonists that reduce infection by pathogens and also enhance plant growth. Brown rot of peaches in storage was controlled under simulated commercial conditions by incorporating the antagonist Bacillus subtilis into wax used in the packing process. Inoculation of hosts with antagonists has been used with good results against a common fungal pathogen of conifers and chestnut blight. The future also holds much promise for the suppression of plant-parasitic nematodes by microbiota.

Growers have applied antagonists to the above-ground parts of plants, to the soil (and roots), and to plant seeds. The above-ground environment is the least stable for antagonists because of the extreme variability in moisture and nutrients. Soil is a more stable environment for microbiota, but soil in most fields is generally nutrient poor, pH may range from 4-8, and temperatures and moisture may vary widely. In contrast, greenhouse planting mixes can be managed more effectively to promote antagonist colonization. Finally, it is practical to treat seeds to favor microbial antagonists.

To be most effective, antagonists of plant disease and food spoilage should be:

  • genetically stable
  • effective at low concentrations
  • easy to culture and amenable to growth on an inexpensive medium
  • effective against a wide range of pathogens in a variety of systems
  • prepared in an easily distributable form
  • non-toxic to humans
  • resistant to pesticides
  • compatible with other treatments (physical and chemical)
  • non-pathogenic against the host plant

Relative Effectiveness

Under ideals conditions, such as in the laboratory, antagonists can completely protect plants from pathogens. In the field, disease control is likely to be less successful.

Proper deployment of the antagonist appears to be crucial. Critical factors include moisture and nutrient availability and pH. If the deployment system can meet the needs of the antagonist, successful colonization is more likely. Careful selection of an aggressive strain of the antagonist is also important.

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Parasitoids

Insect parasitoids have an immature life stage that develops on or within a single insect host, ultimately killing the host, hence the value of parasitoids as natural enemies. Adult parasitoids are free-living and may be predaceous. Parasitoids are often called parasites, but the term parasitoid is more technically correct. Most beneficial insect parasitoids are wasps or flies, although some rove beetles (see Predators) and other insects may have life stages that are parasitoids.
Most insect parasitoids only attack a particular life stage of one or several related species. The immature parasitoid develops on or within a pest, feeding on body fluids and organs, eventually leaving the host to pupate or emerging as an adult. The life cycle of the pest and parasitoid can coincide, or that of the pest may be altered by the parasitoid to accommodate its development.

The life cycle and reproductive habits of beneficial parasitoids can be complex. In some species, only one parasitoid will develop in or on each pest while, in others, hundreds of young larvae may develop within the pest host. Overwintering habits may also vary. Female parasitoids may also kill many pests by direct feeding on the pest eggs and immatures.

Major characteristics of insect parasitoids:

  • they are specialized in their choice of host
  • they are smaller than host
  • only the female searches for host
  • different parasitoid species can attack different life stages of host
  • eggs or larvae are usually laid in, on, or near host
  • immatures remain on or in host; adults are free-living, mobile, and may be predaceous
  • immatures almost always kill host

Relative Effectiveness

Whereas insect predators immediately kill or disable their prey, pests attacked by parasitoids die more slowly. Some hosts are paralyzed, while others may continue to feed or even lay eggs before succumbing to the attack. Parasitoids, however, often complete their life cycle much more quickly and increase their numbers much faster than many predators. Parasitoids can be the dominant and most effective natural enemies of some pest insects, but their presence may not be obvious. It is often necessary, to determine the extent of parasitism, to dissect or rear samples of pest insects to see if any adult parasitoids emerge.

Parasitoids can be parasitized by other parasitoids. This phenomenon, known as hyperparasitism, is a natural occurrence, can be common, and may reduce the effectiveness of some beneficial species. Little can be done to manage hyperparasitism.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Parasitoids are often more susceptible to chemical insecticides than predators. Adult parasitoids are usually more susceptible than their hosts. Immature parasitoids, especially if protected within the egg of their host or in their own cocoon, may tolerate pesticides better than adults, but immature parasitoids will usually die if their host is killed.

Parasitoids Table of Contents

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Edited by hookahhead
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*A species will appear multiple times on this list when they are effective against several pests.

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Aphids:

Ladybeetles:

Coccinella septempunctata

Reported prey include pea, cowpea, green peach, potato, corn leaf, melon aphids, and greenbug.

Commercial Availability: This species has been mass reared, but at this time is not commercially available.

Harmonia axyridis

Many species of injurious soft-bodied insects such as aphids, scales, and psyllids, including pecan aphids, red pine scale, balsam twig aphids, and pine bark adelgid.

Commercial Availability: Not available commercially at this time.

Coleomegilla maculata

C. maculata adults and larvae are important aphid predators but also prey on mites, insect eggs, and small larvae. Unlike most lady beetles, plant pollen may constitute up to 50% of the diet. Reported prey include pea, green peach, melon (cotton), cabbage, and potato aphids and greenbug; eggs of European corn borer, imported cabbageworm, fall webworm, and corn earworm; asparagus beetle, Mexican bean beetle, and Colorado potato beetle eggs and larvae. In trials to assess this lady beetle for control of Colorado potato beetle, it appeared to prefer aphids over beetle eggs and larvae.

Commercial Availability: Available commercially. See the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website. Also available through Entomos, LLC ([email protected]), 4445 SW 35th Terrace, Suite 310 Gainesville, Florida 32608, 352-371-6490.

Hippodamia convergens

Adults and larvae prey mainly on aphids. Reported prey include cotton, pea, melon, cabbage, potato, green peach, and corn leaf aphids. If aphids are scarce, beetles and larvae may feed on small insect larvae, insect eggs, mites and, occasionally, nectar, and honeydew secreted by aphids and other sucking insects. Convergent lady beetles have been recorded as predators of asparagus beetle eggs and larvae and potato psyllids.

Commercial Availability: Commercial insectaries distribute beetles that have been "harvested" from natural winter aggregation sites. If lady beetles are collected in this dormant state and transported for field release, even among aphid infestations, they usually migrate before feeding and laying eggs. This migratory behavior before feeding is obligatory. Releases of such "harvested" convergent lady beetles could be a waste of time, money, and beetles. Insectaries may feed the adult beetles a special diet after they have been collected to minimize their migratory behavior. Only such preconditioned beetles should be purchased. Additionally, these harvested beetles may be parasitized.

See the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America.

Bugs:
Common prey include aphids, mites, thrips, and pear psylla.
Commercial Availability: C. verbasci is not known to be commercially available.
This predator feeds on whiteflies, aphids, psyllids, scales, mites, and lace bugs (Wheeler et al. 1975, pers. obs.). In captivity it tends to cannibalize unless provided with hiding places.
Commercial Availability: Deraeocoris nebulosus has never been commercially available, though D. brevis was available until early 1998 when it was taken off the market due to labor-intensive rearing methods and decreased demand. Research that is underway to develop mass-rearing methods for D. nebulosus might result in its eventual availability.

Bigeyed bugs feed on a wide variety of prey smaller than themselves. They are among the most important natural enemies in cotton. They feed on eggs and small larvae of most lepidopteran pests (bollworm, pink bollworm, tobacco budworm), on the eggs and nymphs of plant bugs (e.g., lygus), and on all life stages of whiteflies, mites and aphids. There are 67 species included in a list of prey organisms fed on by bigeyed bugs (Crocker and Whitcomb 1980). Cohen and Byrne (1992) observed that Geocoris use salivary secretions to adhere whitefly wings to a stable surface to allow feeding.

Commercial Availability: It has been demonstrated that repeated generations of bigeyed bugs can be reared on an artifical diet, and that commercially-reared bigeyed bugs had similar effectiveness as predators to their wild counterparts (Hagler and Cohen 1991, Cohen 2000, Pendleton 2002), suggesting that they have great potential as biological control agents. An artificial, meat-based diet for rearing Geocoris was first developed by Allen Cohen (Cohen 1985). An extensive survey of suppliers of beneficial insects and research scientists familiar with Geocorisindicate that the insects arenot in commercial production at the time of this writing (late 2011).

Orius spp.

Both immature stages (nymphs) and adults feed on a variety of small prey including thrips, spider mites, insect eggs, aphids, and small caterpillars. Orius holds its prey with its front legs and inserts its beak into the host body, generally several times, until the soft body is empty and only the exoskeleton remains. It has been reported to be an important predator of the eggs and new larvae of the bollworm and of spotted tobacco aphid, but it is believed that thrips and mites are the more basic part of an Orius diet. It can also be an important predator of corn earworm eggs which are laid on the silks. Other reported prey include eggs and small European corn borers, corn leaf aphids, potato aphids, and potato leafhopper nymphs.
Commercial availability: Orius are available commercially from insectaries (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).but specific use recommendations have not been researched. They are shipped as adults in a carrier such as bran, rice hulls, or vermiculite, along with a food source. The carrier can be shaken onto plants, and the bugs will readily disperse and locate prey.
Lacewings:

Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

Hemerobius spp.

All brown lacewings are voracious predators as both larvae and adults. Prey includes tree-dwelling insects such as aphids, adelgids and other small soft-bodied insects. H. stigma is often found in association with the balsam twig aphid (Mindarus abietinus Koch) in Christmas tree plantations. It is also an important predator of the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) and pine bark adelgid (Pineus strobi). Laidlaw (1936) recommended it for control of Cooley¹s spruce gall adelgid (Adelges cooleyi) on Douglas-fir. It is known to attack a variety of conifer-feeding aphids (McGugan and Coppel 1962; Laidlaw 1936).

Commercial Availability: Currently, brown lacewings are not reared commercially. Mass rearing of brown lacewings is difficult, requiring huge numbers of aphids (Garland 1981a).

Flies:

Syrphid fly

Most syrphid fly maggots feed on aphids, thrips, leafhoppers and and other soft-bodied prey like small caterpillars. They move along plant surfaces, lift their heads to grope for prey, seize and suck them dry and then discard the exoskeleton.

Commercial Availability: Episyrphus balteatus from Koppert Biological Systems is the only currently available hoverfly for purchase in the United States, although a few other species are considered amenable for commercial production.

Midges:
A. aphidimyza attacks over 60 species of aphids.
Commercial Availability: Aphidoletes aphidimyza is commercially available (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website). The midges are shipped as pupae in a moist carrier material, such as vermiculite. Sand or vermiculite may adhere to the pupal cases.
Other Predators:
Harvestmen will feed on many soft bodied arthropods in crops, including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, mites, and small slugs.
Commercial Availability: Not currently available commercially.
Parasitoid Wasps:
Aphidiid wasps attack only aphids. The conspicuous sign of aphidiid activity is the presence of aphid "mummies" - swollen, dead aphids that have been tanned and hardened to form a protective case for the developing wasp pupa.
Commercial Availability: Available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).

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Fungus Gnats:

Nematodes:

Steinernema feltiae

S. feltiae is especially effective against immature dipterous insects, including mushroom flies, fungus gnats, and tipulids as well some lepidopterous larvae. This nematode is unique in maintaining infectivity at soil temperatures as low as 10°C. S. feltiae has an intermediate foraging strategy between the ambush and cruiser type. Also exterminates Humpbacked flies, Fruit flies, Raspberry crown borer, Leaf miners, Cabbage maggot, Cucumber beetles, Shore flies, Black cutworm, Tobacco cutworm, White grubs, Beet armyworm, Onion maggot, Subterranean Termite and more. NOTE: Nematodes will only control the immature stages of these pest insects and will be ineffective against the adult stages.

Steinernema carpocapsae

This species is the most studied of all entomopathogenic nematodes. Important attributes include ease of mass production and ability to formulate in a partially desiccated state that provides several months of room-temperature shelf-life. S. carpocapsae is particularly effective against lepidopterous larvae, including various webworms, cutworms, armyworms, girdlers, some weevils, and wood-borers. This species is a classic sit-and-wait or "ambush" forager, standing on its tail in an upright position near the soil surface and attaching to passing hosts. Consequently, S. carpocapsae is especially effective when applied against highly mobile surface-adapted insects (though some below-ground insects are also controlled by this nematode). S. carpocapsae is also highly responsive to carbon dioxide once a host has been contacted, thus the spiracles are a key portal of host entry. It is most effective at temperatures ranging from 22 to 28°C.

Heterorhabditis bacteriophora

Among the most economically important entomopathogenic nematodes, H. bacteriophora possesses considerable versatility, attacking lepidopterous and coleopterous insect larvae, among other insects. This cruiser species appears quite useful against root weevils, particularly black vine weevil where it has provided consistently excellent results in containerized soil. A warm temperature nematode, H. bacteriophora shows reduced efficacy when soil drops below 20°C. They are useful to thwart ants, fleas, moths, beetles, flies, beetles, and other pests.

Commercial Availability: Of the nearly eighty steinernematid and heterorhabditid nematodes identified to date, at least twelve species have been commercialized. A list of some nematode producers and suppliers is provided here; the list emphasizes U.S. suppliers. Comparison-shopping is recommended as prices vary greatly among suppliers. Additionally, caution is again advised with regard to application rates. One billion nematodes per acre (250,000 per m2) is the rule-of-thumb against most soil insects (containerized and greenhouse soils tend to be treated at higher rates). A final caveat is that, just as one must select the appropriate insecticide to control a target insect, so must one choose the appropriate nematode species or strain. Ask suppliers about field tests supporting their recommended matching of insect target and nematode.

Bacteria:

Bacillus thuringiensis

Larvae may be killed by the microbial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensissub sp.israelensis (Bti) when applied as a drench to the growing medium.

Commercial Availability: Formulations of Bti sold for fungus gnat control generally are unavailable through retail outlets. The Bti product marketed as Gnatrol is used in commercial greenhouses and large interior environments.

Additional Notes:

  • The most important strategy to minimize fungus gnat problems associated with houseplants is to allow the growing medium to dry between watering, especially the top 1 to 2 inches. The dry-growing medium will decrease survival of any eggs laid and/or larvae that hatch from the eggs as well as reduce the attractiveness of the growing medium to egg-laying adult females. In addition, it is recommended to re-pot every so often, particularly when the growing medium has “broken down” and is retaining too much moisture. Furthermore, be sure to remove any containers with an abundance of decaying plant matter such as decayed bulbs and roots, which provide an excellent food source for fungus gnat larvae.
  • An effective means of detecting the presence of fungus gnat larvae is to insert 1/4 inch slices or wedges of potato into the growing medium. Larvae will migrate to the potato and start feeding within a few days. The potato slices should be turned over to look for larvae present on the underside.
  • Place yellow sticky traps horizontally on the soil surface. They might not be pretty, but they allow you to kill some adult gnats and monitor their populations.
  • Earthworms have been shown to increase the dispersal of Steinernema in some cases.

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Grasshoppers:
Fungi:

Entomophaga grylli
E. macleodii infects grasshoppers in the subfamily Oedipodinae, including band-wing grasshoppers. E. calopteni infects grasshoppers in the genus Melanoplus. E. praxibuli infects both Oedipodinae and Melanoplus species in the United States.
Commercial Availability: Entomophaga grylli is not commercially available.

Metarhizium

Metarhizium species are known to attack a wide range of arthropods: greater than 200 species in over 50 families. These include many species of agricultural, medical and veterinary importance. Some insect hosts included on two active product labels in the U.S. (as of 2011) [Met52, Novozyme Biologicals, Salem, Virginia] include “various ticks and beetles; root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips,” and locusts and grasshoppers (Green Muscle, Becker Underwood, Ames, Iowa). Additionally, Metarhizium species have been developed in other countries for use against cockchafers, spittlebugs, grubs, borers, and for control of mosquitoes that vector malaria.

Commercial Availability: Between October-2005 and May-2006, Faria and Wraight (2007) determined that there were 47 different commercially-available Metarhizium-based products available around the world. Because of recent taxonomic changes to the genus Metarhizium (Bischoff et al. 2009) it is not possible to determine the exact species composition of that list. However, as of 2007 many of the different products were listed as either Metarhizium anisopliae or Metarhizium anisopliae var. acridum, which Green Muscle is based on. This strain is active against locusts and grasshoppers and is now recognized as its own species M. acridum. The strain of M. anisopliae that is the basis for Met52 (Novozyme Biologicals) is now recognized as M. brunneum.

Nematodes:

Mermis nigrescens
Mermis nigrescens is normally associated with grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae, Romaleidae, Tettigoniidae) but also is reported to occur naturally in earwigs (Dermaptera), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera), and even honeybees (Hymenoptera). Because it is similar in appearance to other species of Mermis, and to Amphimermis, Longimermis, Agamermis, and Hexamermis, some host records may be inaccurate.
Commercial Availability: Mermis nigrescens is not available commercially. However, their egg stage can be stored and applied as a suspension in water, so if economic artificial rearing techniques could be developed M. nigrescens might make a useful augmentative biological control tool.

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Mealybug:

Ladybeetles:

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri ("Mealybug Destroyer")

This beetle was imported into the United States in 1891 from Australia by one of the early biological control pioneers, Albert Koebele, to control citrus mealybug in California. Although C. montrouzieri initially devastated the citrus mealybug populations in citrus groves, it was unable to survive the winter except in coastal areas. C. montrouzieri attacks citrus and closely related mealybugs and some soft scales, including hemispherical scale and its relatives. It is considered an important predator of citrus and long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes and is being introduced in a biocontrol program in the West Indies to control pink hibiscus mealybug.

Commercial Availability: Readily available from commercial suppliers (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America).

Lacewings:
Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

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Mites/Spider Mites:
Ladybeetles:
Under field conditions, S. punctillum occurs in orchards, tree plantations, gardens, and crop fields where it attacks two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) and other mites in the family Tetranychidae (2). It attacks spider mites in greenhouses, interiorscapes, nurseries and orchards (2, 5). Examples of pests, other than T. urticae, attacked include European red mite, Panonychus ulmi (Koch), spruce spider mite, Oligonychus ununguis (Jacobi), and southern red mite, Oligonychus ilicis (McGregor).
Commercial Availability: There is an expanding market for Stethorus punctillum and other predators such as phytoseiid mites (e.g., P. persimilis) that can help control spider mites (5). S. punctillum is available for purchase from Applied Bio-nomics and Sesil Corporation Biological Systems. There is a need for a more cost-effective rearing system for this natural enemy, since the cost of producing it is high (i. e., from 30 to 50 USD per 100 adults). The USDA and Applied Bio-nomics are conducting research to discover ways of rearing this predator at a lower cost.
Stethorus punctum is strictly a predator of plant-feeding mites, particularly the spider mites such as the European red mite and the twospotted spider mite, and especially the eggs.
Commercial Availability: Not available commercially at this time.
Bugs:
Common prey include aphids, mites, thrips, and pear psylla.
Commercial Availability: C. verbasci is not known to be commercially available.
This predator feeds on whiteflies, aphids, psyllids, scales, mites, and lace bugs (Wheeler et al. 1975, pers. obs.). In captivity it tends to cannibalize unless provided with hiding places.
Commercial Availability: Deraeocoris nebulosus has never been commercially available, though D. brevis was available until early 1998 when it was taken off the market due to labor-intensive rearing methods and decreased demand. Research that is underway to develop mass-rearing methods for D. nebulosus might result in its eventual availability.

Bigeyed bugs feed on a wide variety of prey smaller than themselves. They are among the most important natural enemies in cotton. They feed on eggs and small larvae of most lepidopteran pests (bollworm, pink bollworm, tobacco budworm), on the eggs and nymphs of plant bugs (e.g., lygus), and on all life stages of whiteflies, mites and aphids. There are 67 species included in a list of prey organisms fed on by bigeyed bugs (Crocker and Whitcomb 1980). Cohen and Byrne (1992) observed that Geocoris use salivary secretions to adhere whitefly wings to a stable surface to allow feeding.

Commercial Availability: It has been demonstrated that repeated generations of bigeyed bugs can be reared on an artifical diet, and that commercially-reared bigeyed bugs had similar effectiveness as predators to their wild counterparts (Hagler and Cohen 1991, Cohen 2000, Pendleton 2002), suggesting that they have great potential as biological control agents. An artificial, meat-based diet for rearing Geocoris was first developed by Allen Cohen (Cohen 1985). An extensive survey of suppliers of beneficial insects and research scientists familiar with Geocorisindicate that the insects arenot in commercial production at the time of this writing (late 2011).

Orius spp.

Both immature stages (nymphs) and adults feed on a variety of small prey including thrips, spider mites, insect eggs, aphids, and small caterpillars. Orius holds its prey with its front legs and inserts its beak into the host body, generally several times, until the soft body is empty and only the exoskeleton remains. It has been reported to be an important predator of the eggs and new larvae of the bollworm and of spotted tobacco aphid, but it is believed that thrips and mites are the more basic part of an Orius diet. It can also be an important predator of corn earworm eggs which are laid on the silks. Other reported prey include eggs and small European corn borers, corn leaf aphids, potato aphids, and potato leafhopper nymphs.
Commercial availability: Orius are available commercially from insectaries (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).but specific use recommendations have not been researched. They are shipped as adults in a carrier such as bran, rice hulls, or vermiculite, along with a food source. The carrier can be shaken onto plants, and the bugs will readily disperse and locate prey.
Lacewings:

Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

Mites:

Galendromus (=Typhlodromus, =Metaseiulus) occidentalis

Two-spotted spider mites, McDaniel spider mites, yellow spider mites, apple and pear rust mites, Prunus rust mites, blister mites, and European red mites.

Commercial Availability: G. occidentalis is readily available commercially, including some pesticide resistant strains (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).

Galendromus (=Typhlodromus) pyri

Galendromus pyri prefers European red mite and actively seeks this prey. It will also feed on the two-spotted spider mite and the apple rust mite.

Commercial Availability: G. pyri is a common inhabitant of commercial apple orchards in the northeastern United States. In addition, it can be obtained commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America).

Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) fallacis

In North American orchards, Neoseiulus fallacis strongly prefers tetranychid mites--the European red mite and the two-spotted spider mite--and will actively seek these.

Commercial Availability: N. fallacis is readily available from commercial suppliers (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).

Zetzellia mali

Apple rust mite, European red mite, and two-spotted spider mite.

Commercial Availability: Z. mali is not available commercially.

Euseius tularensis

Primarily citrus red mite and citrus thrips, however, two-spotted spider mite, immature stages of scale insects and whitefly nymphs are also fed upon. This predatory mite also feeds on pollen and leaf sap.

Commercial Availability: This predator is not available commercially. Because of its need for small amounts of leaf sap, it must be reared on a leaf surface. Its numbers naturally increase in citrus when broad spectrum pesticides are avoided.

This species is a specialized predator of web-spinning spider mites such as the two-spotted spider mite. In fact, P. persimilis feeds, reproduces, and completes development only on mites in the subfamily Tetranychinae, although it also feeds on young thrips and can be cannabilistic when spider mite prey is unavailable.
Commercial Availability: Widely available (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).
Other Predators:
Harvestmen will feed on many soft bodied arthropods in crops, including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, mites, and small slugs.
Commercial Availability: Not currently available commercially.

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Scale:

Ladybeetles:
Chilocorus kuwanae
In North America., euonymus scales and other scales, such as the San Jose scale. In China, Korea and Japan, where it is common, C. kuwanae helps to keep several species of armored scales under control in citrus groves and on landscape shrubs.

Commercial Availability: See the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website.

Chilocorus stigma
The genus Chilocorus consists mostly of armored scale insect predators. C. stigma is an omnivorous predator of several scale insects, aphids, and mealybugs (Muma 1955). It has been reported often as a predator of the pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae) (Cumming 1953, Neilsen and Johnson 1973, DeBoo and Weidhaas 1976). It has been observed attacking beech bark scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga) in Michigan. Muma (1955) found it associated with the Florida red scale (Chrysomphalus aonidum) in citrus groves.

Commercial Availability: Currently C. stigma is not commercially available in the United States. Developing an efficient and productive rearing method for C. stigma could be an important contribution to biological control or integrated pest management programs.

Harmonia axyridis

Many species of injurious soft-bodied insects such as aphids, scales, and psyllids, including pecan aphids, red pine scale, balsam twig aphids, and pine bark adelgid.

Commercial Availability: Not available commercially at this time.

Rodolia cardinalis

R. cardinalis is specific to cottony cushion scale. Adults and mature larvae feed on all scale stages; young feed on eggs.

Commercial Availability: Vedalia beetle is not commercially available at this time.

Bugs:

Deraeocoris nebulosus

This predator feeds on whiteflies, aphids, psyllids, scales, mites, and lace bugs (Wheeler et al. 1975, pers. obs.). In captivity it tends to cannibalize unless provided with hiding places.
Commercial Availability: Deraeocoris nebulosus has never been commercially available, though D. brevis was available until early 1998 when it was taken off the market due to labor-intensive rearing methods and decreased demand. Research that is underway to develop mass-rearing methods for D. nebulosus might result in its eventual availability.
Mites:

Euseius tularensis

Primarily citrus red mite and citrus thrips, however, two-spotted spider mite, immature stages of scale insects and whitefly nymphs are also fed upon. This predatory mite also feeds on pollen and leaf sap.

Commercial Availability: This predator is not available commercially. Because of its need for small amounts of leaf sap, it must be reared on a leaf surface. Its numbers naturally increase in citrus when broad spectrum pesticides are avoided.

Parasitoid Wasps:
Metaphycus alberti

Metaphycus alberti (Howard) was originally brought to California from Australia in 1898 by Albert Koebele, whose earlier entomological investigations of that continent led to the successful biological control of the cottony cushion scale (DeBach and Rosen, 1991). The new parasite was subsequently named for Koebele by L.O. Howard (Howard, 1898).This species has not been reported in the literature from other hosts, and therefore appears to be specific to C. hesperidum. It is known to attack C. hesperidum between the crawler and the adult stages, preferring young scale from 1 to 1.5 mm long, but successfully attacking much larger hosts as long as they are not reproducing.

Koebele's original material was reared from C. hesperidum collected in the Sydney area.

The parasite was apparently colonized in Riverside, California, around the turn of the century. It was subsequently recovered from C. hesperidum by Timberlake during 1911 and 1912 . Despite all of the subsequent sampling of C. hesperidum in southern California, M. alberti has not been reported from North America since Compere reared it from C. hesperidum in 1922. At present, M. alberti is known only from California, South Africa, and Australia.
Commercial Availability: Not commercially available, although there is some interest among commercial insectaries.

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Slugs and Snails:

Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita
The nematode is a soil dwelling animal and is generally found where slugs are abundant. It has been isolated from grassland and crops of wheat and oilseed rape (canola). Recent research has shown that the nematode is well adapted to life in leaf litter, compost, and organic soils. P. hermaphrodita has been shown to infect and kill a wide variety of pest species of both slugs and snails.

Slugs

  • Arion ater (Juveniles)
  • Arion distinctus
  • Arion intermedius
  • Arion lusitanicus (Juveniles)
  • Arion silvaticus
  • Deroceras reticulatum (the gray field slug)
  • Deroceras laeve
  • Deroceras panormitanum
  • Leidyula floridana
  • Tandonia budapestensis
  • Tandonia sowerbyi

Snails

  • Cepaea hortensis
  • Cernuella virgata
  • Cochlicella acuta
  • Helix aspersa (the brown garden snail) (Juveniles)
  • Lymnaea stagnalis
  • Monacha cantiana
  • Theba pisana

The most susceptible species is the grey field slug, Deroceras reticulatum, which is the most widespread pest species in the world and is responsible for most agricultural and horticultural losses. While all the above species have been shown to be killed by P. hermaphrodita in laboratory bioassays, many of the assays used high doses and unrealistic assay conditions, so it is not clear if P. hermaphrodita could be used to control all the above species under field conditions. Also, laboratory bioassays indicate that body size may be an important feature of susceptibility. For example the garden snail, Helix aspersa, is susceptible when its body weight is less than a gram, but larger individuals are not. Similar results have been found for the large slugs Arion ater agg. and A. lusitanicus. Thus, for some large species of slug, it would be advisable to apply nematodes at the time of year when only juvenile slugs are present.
Commercial availability: Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita is available under the trade name "Nemaslug" in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Spain and Italy. It is manufactured in the UK by Becker Underwood UK Ltd and distributed nationally and internationally by a range of distributers. Key markets include domestic gardens and high value commercial salad crops such as lettuce and celery. More recently, sales have expanded to include vegetables such as brassicas and potatoes. The product is mostly used by organic growers, but many conventional growers use the nematode alongside chemical molluscicides. The nematode is not commercially available in North America at present, as the presence of P. hermaphrodita in this continent has yet to be confirmed.

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Thrips:
Bugs:
Common prey include aphids, mites, thrips, and pear psylla.
Commercial Availability: C. verbasci is not known to be commercially available.
Both immature stages (nymphs) and adults feed on a variety of small prey including thrips, spider mites, insect eggs, aphids, and small caterpillars. Orius holds its prey with its front legs and inserts its beak into the host body, generally several times, until the soft body is empty and only the exoskeleton remains. It has been reported to be an important predator of the eggs and new larvae of the bollworm and of spotted tobacco aphid, but it is believed that thrips and mites are the more basic part of an Orius diet. It can also be an important predator of corn earworm eggs which are laid on the silks. Other reported prey include eggs and small European corn borers, corn leaf aphids, potato aphids, and potato leafhopper nymphs.
Commercial availability: Orius are available commercially from insectaries (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).but specific use recommendations have not been researched. They are shipped as adults in a carrier such as bran, rice hulls, or vermiculite, along with a food source. The carrier can be shaken onto plants, and the bugs will readily disperse and locate prey.
Lacewings:

Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

Flies:

Syrphid fly

Most syrphid fly maggots feed on aphids, thrips, leafhoppers and and other soft-bodied prey like small caterpillars. They move along plant surfaces, lift their heads to grope for prey, seize and suck them dry and then discard the exoskeleton.

Commercial Availability: Episyrphus balteatus from Koppert Biological Systems is the only currently available hoverfly for purchase in the United States, although a few other species are considered amenable for commercial production.

Mites:

Euseius tularensis

Primarily citrus red mite and citrus thrips, however, two-spotted spider mite, immature stages of scale insects and whitefly nymphs are also fed upon. This predatory mite also feeds on pollen and leaf sap.

Commercial Availability: This predator is not available commercially. Because of its need for small amounts of leaf sap, it must be reared on a leaf surface. Its numbers naturally increase in citrus when broad spectrum pesticides are avoided.

Fungi:

Metarhizium

Metarhizium species are known to attack a wide range of arthropods: greater than 200 species in over 50 families. These include many species of agricultural, medical and veterinary importance. Some insect hosts included on two active product labels in the U.S. (as of 2011) [Met52, Novozyme Biologicals, Salem, Virginia] include “various ticks and beetles; root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips,” and locusts and grasshoppers (Green Muscle, Becker Underwood, Ames, Iowa). Additionally, Metarhizium species have been developed in other countries for use against cockchafers, spittlebugs, grubs, borers, and for control of mosquitoes that vector malaria.

Commercial Availability: Between October-2005 and May-2006, Faria and Wraight (2007) determined that there were 47 different commercially-available Metarhizium-based products available around the world. Because of recent taxonomic changes to the genus Metarhizium (Bischoff et al. 2009) it is not possible to determine the exact species composition of that list. However, as of 2007 many of the different products were listed as either Metarhizium anisopliae or Metarhizium anisopliae var. acridum, which Green Muscle is based on. This strain is active against locusts and grasshoppers and is now recognized as its own species M. acridum. The strain of M. anisopliae that is the basis for Met52 (Novozyme Biologicals) is now recognized as M. brunneum.

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Whiteflies:
Ladybeetles:

Bigeyed bugs feed on a wide variety of prey smaller than themselves. They are among the most important natural enemies in cotton. They feed on eggs and small larvae of most lepidopteran pests (bollworm, pink bollworm, tobacco budworm), on the eggs and nymphs of plant bugs (e.g., lygus), and on all life stages of whiteflies, mites and aphids. There are 67 species included in a list of prey organisms fed on by bigeyed bugs (Crocker and Whitcomb 1980). Cohen and Byrne (1992) observed that Geocoris use salivary secretions to adhere whitefly wings to a stable surface to allow feeding.

Commercial Availability: It has been demonstrated that repeated generations of bigeyed bugs can be reared on an artifical diet, and that commercially-reared bigeyed bugs had similar effectiveness as predators to their wild counterparts (Hagler and Cohen 1991, Cohen 2000, Pendleton 2002), suggesting that they have great potential as biological control agents. An artificial, meat-based diet for rearing Geocoris was first developed by Allen Cohen (Cohen 1985). An extensive survey of suppliers of beneficial insects and research scientists familiar with Geocorisindicate that the insects arenot in commercial production at the time of this writing (late 2011).

Lacewings:
Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

Parasitoid Wasps:

Encarsia formosa

Encarsia formosa parasitizes at least fifteen species of whiteflies in eight genera. Most work has looked at the ability of E. formosa to control greenhouse whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum, sweetpotato whitefly,Bemisia tabaci, and silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii (= Bemisia tabaci strain B). Encarsia formosa is hyperparasitized by Signiphora coquilletti, Encarsia pergandiella, and Encarsia tricolor (Hoddle et al. 1998).
Commercial Availability: Encarsia formosa is readily available from North American insectaries.


Eretmocerus eremicus

E. eremicus attacks whiteflies (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) including greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporarium), sweetpotato whitefly (B. tabaci), silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii), and bandedwinged whitefly (T. abutlonea).
Commercial Availability: E. eremicus is commercially available from suppliers of beneficial organisms in North America (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).

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Other Pests:
Ladybeetles:
Lebia grandis is an indigenous natural enemy of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, and the false potato beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta, which is an occasional pest of eggplant. In fields of cultivated potato and eggplant, adults are specialist predators of all immature stages of Colorado potato beetle. In no-choice feeding trials in the laboratory, L. grandis adults consumed the larvae of the asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi), and also the three-lined potato beetle (Lema trilinea) but this has never been observed in the field. L. grandis larvae are specialist ectoparasitoids of Colorado potato beetle and false potato beetle prepupae (mature larvae) and pupae in the soil.

Lebia grandis has not been found in association with Colorado potato beetle on this pest’s ancestral host plant (Solanum rostratum) in central Mexico. Because it was described from North Carolina in 1830, it is clear that L. grandis was historically a specialist enemy of the closely related false potato beetle on horsenettle in the southeastern United States, before the Colorado potato beetle adapted to potato and spread into the eastern US. Subsequently, L. grandis adopted the Colorado potato beetle as a new and more abundant host, and is now found as far north as Michigan and southern Maine, north of the range of false potato beetle.

Commercial Availability: Not available commercially at this time.

Aleochara bilineatis

Root maggot eggs, larvae, and pupae, especially the cabbage and onion maggot.

Commercial Availability: Rove beetles are not yet commercially available from North American insectaries, although mass rearing techniques have been developed.

Geocoris spp.

Bigeyed bugs feed on a wide variety of prey smaller than themselves. They are among the most important natural enemies in cotton. They feed on eggs and small larvae of most lepidopteran pests (bollworm, pink bollworm, tobacco budworm), on the eggs and nymphs of plant bugs (e.g., lygus), and on all life stages of whiteflies, mites and aphids. There are 67 species included in a list of prey organisms fed on by bigeyed bugs (Crocker and Whitcomb 1980). Cohen and Byrne (1992) observed that Geocoris use salivary secretions to adhere whitefly wings to a stable surface to allow feeding.

Commercial Availability: It has been demonstrated that repeated generations of bigeyed bugs can be reared on an artifical diet, and that commercially-reared bigeyed bugs had similar effectiveness as predators to their wild counterparts (Hagler and Cohen 1991, Cohen 2000, Pendleton 2002), suggesting that they have great potential as biological control agents. An artificial, meat-based diet for rearing Geocoris was first developed by Allen Cohen (Cohen 1985). An extensive survey of suppliers of beneficial insects and research scientists familiar with Geocorisindicate that the insects arenot in commercial production at the time of this writing (late 2011).

Podisus maculiventris

Over 100 species in many families have been reported as prey. Prime targets are immature insects. Reported prey include the larvae of Mexican bean beetle, European corn borer, diamondback moth, corn earworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, cabbage looper, imported cabbageworm, Colorado potato beetle, velvetbean caterpillar, and flea beetles.

Commercial Availability: Available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website).

Lacewings:
Chrysoperla carnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Commercial Availability: C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially (see the off-site publication, Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America, page of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation website), and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabrisfor humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs.

Hemerobius spp.

All brown lacewings are voracious predators as both larvae and adults. Prey includes tree-dwelling insects such as aphids, adelgids and other small soft-bodied insects. H. stigma is often found in association with the balsam twig aphid (Mindarus abietinus Koch) in Christmas tree plantations. It is also an important predator of the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) and pine bark adelgid (Pineus strobi). Laidlaw (1936) recommended it for control of Cooley¹s spruce gall adelgid (Adelges cooleyi) on Douglas-fir. It is known to attack a variety of conifer-feeding aphids (McGugan and Coppel 1962; Laidlaw 1936).

Commercial Availability: Currently, brown lacewings are not reared commercially. Mass rearing of brown lacewings is difficult, requiring huge numbers of aphids (Garland 1981a).

Other Predators:
Harvestmen will feed on many soft bodied arthropods in crops, including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, mites, and small slugs.
Commercial Availability: Not currently available commercially.
Bacteria:
Japanese beetle is the exclusive host of the strain of P. popilliae which is sold commercially. However, other P. popilliae strains (and P. lentimorbus, which is considered a strain of P. popilliae by some experts) have other scarab hosts and are specific to different beetles in the family Scarabaeidae, which includes the Japanese beetle and the chafers - important pasture pests, but also the beneficial dung beetles.

Spores which reside in the soil and have been ingested by beetle larvae germinate in the larva's gut within 2 days and the vegetative cells proliferate, attaining maximum numbers within 3 to 5 days. By this time, some of the cells have penetrated the gut wall and have begun to grow in the hemolymph, where large numbers of cells develop by day 5 to 10. A few spores also are formed at this stage, but the main phase of sporulation occurs later and is completed by 14 to 21 days when the larva develops the typical milky appearance.

In laboratory conditions, the larva remains alive until this stage and usually contains about 5 x 109 spores. In field conditions, however, there are reports that larvae sometimes die earlier, before the main phase of sporulation is completed. This is of concern because sporulation stops when the host dies and the larva ultimately releases fewer spores to maintain the level of infestation of a site.
Commercial Availability: Readily available.

Fungi:

Entomophaga maimaiga
Based on lab results, E. maimaiga appears to be quite specific to the family that includes gypsy moth, although it can cause low levels of infection in a number of other species.

During a field study, the only cadavers that were found on trees were gypsy moth larvae killed by E. maimaiga. At locations where there were active epizootics of E. maimaiga occurring in gypsy moth populations, more than 1500 insects of 53 difference species were collected. Of those 1500 individuals, only one individual of a lasiocampid and one individual from the Noctuidae were infected with E. maimaiga.
Commercial availability: Not available commercially at this time.

Entomophthora muscae
Entomophthora muscae is a well known fungal disease of adult Diptera with a wide range of potential hosts. First described by Cohn in 1855 from an epizootic of house flies, E. muscae has been recognized as a potential biological agent for many years. Since Cohn's initial observations, epizootics have been observed in adult Diptera in the families Muscidae, Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae, Tachinidae, Drosophilidae, Scatophagidae, Culicidae and Syrphidae.
Commercial Availability: Entomophthora muscae is not commercially available.

Metarhizium

Metarhizium species are known to attack a wide range of arthropods: greater than 200 species in over 50 families. These include many species of agricultural, medical and veterinary importance. Some insect hosts included on two active product labels in the U.S. (as of 2011) [Met52, Novozyme Biologicals, Salem, Virginia] include “various ticks and beetles; root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips,” and locusts and grasshoppers (Green Muscle, Becker Underwood, Ames, Iowa). Additionally, Metarhizium species have been developed in other countries for use against cockchafers, spittlebugs, grubs, borers, and for control of mosquitoes that vector malaria.

Commercial Availability: Between October-2005 and May-2006, Faria and Wraight (2007) determined that there were 47 different commercially-available Metarhizium-based products available around the world. Because of recent taxonomic changes to the genus Metarhizium (Bischoff et al. 2009) it is not possible to determine the exact species composition of that list. However, as of 2007 many of the different products were listed as either Metarhizium anisopliae or Metarhizium anisopliae var. acridum, which Green Muscle is based on. This strain is active against locusts and grasshoppers and is now recognized as its own species M. acridum. The strain of M. anisopliae that is the basis for Met52 (Novozyme Biologicals) is now recognized as M. brunneum.

Nematodes:
Mermis nigrescens
Mermis nigrescens is normally associated with grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae, Romaleidae, Tettigoniidae) but also is reported to occur naturally in earwigs (Dermaptera), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera), and even honeybees (Hymenoptera). Because it is similar in appearance to other species of Mermis, and to Amphimermis, Longimermis, Agamermis, and Hexamermis, some host records may be inaccurate.
Commercial Availability: Mermis nigrescens is not available commercially. However, their egg stage can be stored and applied as a suspension in water, so if economic artificial rearing techniques could be developed M. nigrescens might make a useful augmentative biological control tool.

Steinernema feltiae

S. feltiae is especially effective against immature dipterous insects, including mushroom flies, fungus gnats, and tipulids as well some lepidopterous larvae. This nematode is unique in maintaining infectivity at soil temperatures as low as 10°C. S. feltiae has an intermediate foraging strategy between the ambush and cruiser type. Also exterminates Humpbacked flies, Fruit flies, Raspberry crown borer, Leaf miners, Cabbage maggot, Cucumber beetles, Shore flies, Black cutworm, Tobacco cutworm, White grubs, Beet armyworm, Onion maggot, Subterranean Termite and more. NOTE: Nematodes will only control the immature stages of these pest insects and will be ineffective against the adult stages.

Steinernema carpocapsae

This species is the most studied of all entomopathogenic nematodes. Important attributes include ease of mass production and ability to formulate in a partially desiccated state that provides several months of room-temperature shelf-life. S. carpocapsae is particularly effective against lepidopterous larvae, including various webworms, cutworms, armyworms, girdlers, some weevils, and wood-borers. This species is a classic sit-and-wait or "ambush" forager, standing on its tail in an upright position near the soil surface and attaching to passing hosts. Consequently, S. carpocapsae is especially effective when applied against highly mobile surface-adapted insects (though some below-ground insects are also controlled by this nematode). S. carpocapsae is also highly responsive to carbon dioxide once a host has been contacted, thus the spiracles are a key portal of host entry. It is most effective at temperatures ranging from 22 to 28°C.

Heterorhabditis bacteriophora

Among the most economically important entomopathogenic nematodes, H. bacteriophora possesses considerable versatility, attacking lepidopterous and coleopterous insect larvae, among other insects. This cruiser species appears quite useful against root weevils, particularly black vine weevil where it has provided consistently excellent results in containerized soil. A warm temperature nematode, H. bacteriophora shows reduced efficacy when soil drops below 20°C. They are useful to thwart ants, fleas, moths, beetles, flies, beetles, and other pests.

Commercial Availability: Of the nearly eighty steinernematid and heterorhabditid nematodes identified to date, at least twelve species have been commercialized. A list of some nematode producers and suppliers is provided here; the list emphasizes U.S. suppliers. Comparison-shopping is recommended as prices vary greatly among suppliers. Additionally, caution is again advised with regard to application rates. One billion nematodes per acre (250,000 per m2) is the rule-of-thumb against most soil insects (containerized and greenhouse soils tend to be treated at higher rates). A final caveat is that, just as one must select the appropriate insecticide to control a target insect, so must one choose the appropriate nematode species or strain. Ask suppliers about field tests supporting their recommended matching of insect target and nematode.

Algae:
Lagenidium giganteum
The parasite will infect and kill most species of mosquito breeding in fresh water, from temperatures of 16-32°C. It will also infect the closely related dipteran Chaoborus astictopus, the Clear Lake gnat, and at very high concentrations, some species of daphnids. Infection of daphnids is not desireable, but this only occurs when levels of the parasite ca. 100 times greater than that recommended for operational control are reached.

Commercial Availability: This parasite is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several states, including California and Florida, for use as an operational mosquito control agent. It is currently the only commercially available biological control agent (not including Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis, which is a microbial insecticide) for mosquitoes. Besides being host specific, L. giganteum has the ability to recycle for weeks, months, or even years in a given breeding habitat after a single application.

Beginning in 1997 the asexual stage of this parasite will be commercially available as the LAGINEX® formulation. It can be obtained from AgraQuest, Inc.

Parasitoid Wasps:

Muscidifurax raptor

The house fly, the stable fly, and other fly species.

Commercial Availability: M. raptor is available from commercial insectaries. Care should be taken to obtain insects that are free from disease (microsporidosis).

Trissolcus basalis

The primary host of T. basalis is the southern green stinkbug. T. basalis also attacks the eggs of other species of stinkbugs.

Commercial Availability: T. basalis is not commercially available in North America at this time.

Parasitoid Flies:
Trichopoda pennipes
Primarily squash bug and southern green stinkbug. Although Trichopoda pennipes is a parasitoid of several true bugs, there appear to be different biotypes across the country. Limited field studies suggest that different populations, or perhaps cryptic species, attack different species (types) of true bugs. For example, in California, a population of T. pennipes has been reported attacking the bordered plant bug. However the same fly was never found attacking the squash bug.

Recently, Trichopoda pennipes were collected from fields of squash in New York and shipped to California where they were released. These flies have permanently established populations in northern California near farms growing summer and winter squash. In the past, nymphs of squash bug in this area were never attacked by parasitoids. Now, one can easily find 50% or more of these nymphs with fly eggs deposited on them (see photo).
Commercial Availability: Not available commercially.

Edited by hookahhead
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Lady Beetle as Pests?


Lady beetle, lady beetle fly away from my home!


Almost everyone knows lady beetles eat many nuisance pests such as aphids and scale insects. Since they help reduce the density of pest insects, they are often called "beneficial insects" or "biological control agents". Several species of lady beetles have been introduced into the U.S. from other countries over the last century and have proven effective in controlling pest insects on farms and in gardens.


However, in the last couple of years, we have had many e-mails from people in several parts of the United States and Canada describing how lady beetles have invaded their homes and become a nuisance to them. People have reported that the lady beetles "bite", give off a bad smelling fluid when disturbed, and may even cause people to develop allergies. While many people recognize their value as beneficial insects and do not want to kill them, they also do not want them as nuisances in and around their homes.


Most lady beetles do not become nuisances to people, however, the multicolored Asian lady beetle (MALB) can. Based on the descriptions people supply us with, in those cases when a lady beetle has become a pest we believe it is the MALB.


For further information on MALB and a strategy to control them, click here.


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Thanks for this HH. Unfortunately each of the species that sounded most useful to my pest problems are not currently commercially available :(

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Kykeion, that problem is why I included the commercial availability with each organism. Please don't let this deter you though, do a little research on the organism yourself. Just because you can't buy it from Amazon doesn't mean that it's not accessible. Over the next few weeks I am going to try and compile what I can on the collection/cultivation of several species. Who knows maybe we can start trading bugs ;)?

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Yes, excellent work HH.

Hey, what about this bug?

Mantidae.jpg

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I'm not deterred by such circumstances, more so just bummed that there is not yet a practical way to utilize some of this knowledge.

Cost is also some what of an issue with some of these species. I can get 1,500 lady beetles (common species) for $20 at a local nursery, yet "mealybug destroyers" are something like $50 for 100 online. I understand that it likely has to do with supply/demand and breeding technologies, but it is unfortunate none the less.

Hopefully there will be some expanded growth and interest in these methods. Until then I'll continue to utilize the standard lady beetles and lacewings that are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

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Post 2 has been updated to include all of the predators for the referenced site. I would be happy to add any that someone else might find.

Kykeion I am going to work on the pathogens section next, maybe something in there can help you?

Any other thoughts on biological controls specifically raising/rearing beneficial insects?

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Im going with companion planting... the only problem I have outdoors is flea beetles and they only

go for solancaes... they kept destroying some Inka berries I had growing and they munch occasionally

on daturas and tomato seedlings... I tried radishes which seems to deter them a bit ... I was recommended

to try Dill and I've got some seeds so I'll try that this year... flea beatles are a fucking bitch if you are

wanting to stay all organic but hopefully the dill will work out... but if you guys find something that will

kick some flea beatle ass i'd love to know about it ... hopefully dill will work but im gonna skip growing a

few things just to see if they'll move on... i've read there are certain weeds they prefer and that it may

be beneficial to let some weeds grow so they'll leave the veggies alone but i'll have to refresh my memory

on which ones

The only other issues i've had outdoors is cabbage moths, they destroyed the brussell sprouts and made

the broccoli look ridiculous so Im just not gonna grow those eh lol We have a lot of wasps but maybe not enuff

but ah well fuckit for some things i'll just have to pay big bux for the pesticide free produce.. organic stores

aren't really very common yet in Tx but they're on the come up

I got ladybugs and lacewings in the past few years, and they both stayed around here.... I just saw

first ladybug of the season crawling around in some clover today... I love lacewings they just keep coming

back at the right time so I guess things are well balanced outdoors here...

indoors I get scale and thrips for some reason... I think both of those hang out with each other up in the

top of a fruitless mulberry and when they blow off land by my window or something... as juveniles they are

difficult to tell apart other than thrips are fast, and scale crawlers are slow fuggers... the scale only attack

one type of pereskiopsis and not the other and usually just die off but sometimes they kill the leaves...

anyhow what I usually do is find some lacewing larvae as soon as I can, let them free where the thrips are

and they pretty much hunt them down... I make it a rule that if I see one flying around i'll catch and let them

back outside... i may have to remove my sticky traps this year since im not growing anything that will breed

fungus gnats .... that's how much love i've got for lacewings... brown or green I don't care

I seen a lacewing larvae stabbing the shit out of a fungus gnat one time

I SEEN HIM! of course my favorite way to catch a gnat is with a bridgesii spine

but they put on a really cool show

Oh yeah... i'll add that I think the ladybeetles stay around here because we let alot of cilantro grow wild, plenty

of clover, and they love marigolds at least i read that.. but the thing is they use the pollen from those plants to breed

which is probably why they stick around... ur also supposed to 'mist' or wet down any place where you release them

so they won't fly all over the place... but they're pretty territorial and usually will ween themselves down to one or two

beetles per plant... sorry if thats redundant info I didn't read it all eh

oh yeah and if you have any issues with stink bugs... just spray them with dish soap and water

they will last about 8 seconds! same with squash bugs.. they don't bother me unless they bite a

cactus or a bell pepper

Edited by Spine Collector
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Updated post 2 to contain most of the parasitoids and pathogens now. AZS I still have to add mantids in there somewhere :wink:

Heres a few I found interesting..

Parasitoid Wasps:

Metaphycus alberti

Metaphycus alberti (Howard) was originally brought to California from Australia in 1898 by Albert Koebele, whose earlier entomological investigations of that continent led to the successful biological control of the cottony cushion scale (DeBach and Rosen, 1991). The new parasite was subsequently named for Koebele by L.O. Howard (Howard, 1898).This species has not been reported in the literature from other hosts, and therefore appears to be specific to C. hesperidum. It is known to attack C. hesperidum between the crawler and the adult stages, preferring young scale from 1 to 1.5 mm long, but successfully attacking much larger hosts as long as they are not reproducing.

Koebele's original material was reared from C. hesperidum collected in the Sydney area.

The parasite was apparently colonized in Riverside, California, around the turn of the century. It was subsequently recovered from C. hesperidum by Timberlake during 1911 and 1912 . Despite all of the subsequent sampling of C. hesperidum in southern California, M. alberti has not been reported from North America since Compere reared it from C. hesperidum in 1922. At present, M. alberti is known only from California, South Africa, and Australia.
Commercial Availability: Not commercially available, although there is some interest among commercial insectaries.

Trissolcus basalis

The primary host of T. basalis is the southern green stinkbug. T. basalis also attacks the eggs of other species of stinkbugs.

Commercial Availability: T. basalis is not commercially available in North America at this time.

Parasitoid Flies:
Trichopoda pennipes
Primarily squash bug and southern green stinkbug. Although Trichopoda pennipes is a parasitoid of several true bugs, there appear to be different biotypes across the country. Limited field studies suggest that different populations, or perhaps cryptic species, attack different species (types) of true bugs. For example, in California, a population of T. pennipes has been reported attacking the bordered plant bug. However the same fly was never found attacking the squash bug.

Recently, Trichopoda pennipes were collected from fields of squash in New York and shipped to California where they were released. These flies have permanently established populations in northern California near farms growing summer and winter squash. In the past, nymphs of squash bug in this area were never attacked by parasitoids. Now, one can easily find 50% or more of these nymphs with fly eggs deposited on them (see photo).
Commercial Availability: Not available commercially.

some info from wiki on "mealybug destroyers"

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, common name Mealybug Ladybird[2] is ladybird species endemic to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Unlike many of the often brightly coloured Coccinellidae, it is predominantly brown and has no spots. It has been used as a biological control agent against Mealybugs and other Scale insects. As a larva it apparently looks like the mealybugs they prey on, a case of aggressive mimicry.Within Australia C. montrouzieri was introduced to Western Australia as a biological control agent.As imported species As biological control agent outside Australia, C. montrouzieri has the common name Mealy bug destroyer. C. montrouzieri was introduced into California in 1891 byAlbert Koebele to control the citrus mealybug. It has also been introduced to New Zealand for biocontrol.

See also:

Cassiculus venustus (native New Zealand species which also feeds on mealybugs)

Coccinella leonina (native New Zealand species which specializes on aphids.

Edited by hookahhead
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I'm going to start looking into some methods for raising/maintaining these beneficial organisms. Here's a start with mealybug destroyers since they have caught our attention and are outrageously priced...

Mass culture of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri: Adults of C. montrouzieri were obtained from the Mass rearing unit, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University. It was mass multiplied on the mealybug, Planococcus citri (Risso) infesting pumpkin fruits (Cucurbita moschata) as described by Chacko et al. (1978) under laboratory conditions of 26±2°C and 60-70% R.H. Each breeding cage yielded 100-200 beetles. The beetles were collected from the breeding cages with an aspirator, released in a plastic jar (14x11.5 cm) and fed on 50% honey solution. Twenty-day old adults were used for release after completing their premating and pre-ovipostion periods as recommended by Tirumala and David (1958).

Six shrubs of croton, 20 years old, 2.5-3.0 m height and 2.0 m width, highly infested by citrus mealybug, P. citri grown in Orman garden located at Giza governorate, in Egypt were chosen for this study. The shrubs of croton were divided into two groups, 1st one (3 replicate shrubs) was treated with the predator, while the latter one (3 replicate shrubs) was left untreated as a control. The ratio of release was 50 adults of predator per one croton shrubs. Release was made once (inoculation release) in the early morning of October, 27, 2008. Sampling was carried out every ten days starting from Oct. 27, 2008 (just prior to release) up to January, 30, 2009. Each sample consisted of 20 leaves per croton shrub. Samples were transferred to the laboratory for examination under a stereo-microscope. Number of egg masses, nymphs and adults of P. citri were counted. Also, numbers of the associated natural enemies; Scymnus syriacus, Sympherobius amicus,Chrysoperla carnea and the parasitoid, Coccidoxenoides peregrinus were also counted.

Google translate of Chacko et al. (1978) abstract:

A method by which the predator / Cryptolaemus montrouzieri / can be raised in a lab ( India) is described. / Planococcus lilacinus / and / Planococcus citri / : As a means of food for insects were used. They were raised in a middle of squash . Predators , as adults , were released when aphid populations were fully developed . The female parasites that feed on mealybugs , also ovopositaron between them. The development of the predator , from egg to adult takes about a month in the greenhouse at an average temperature of 25 degrees C . Between 1976 to 1977 severe outbreaks of mealybugs were presented in coffee states of South India ( Kerala) . Among the coffee plantations / Cryptolaemus montrouzieri / was released in November 1976 and although there was established in April 1977 a large number of adults was observed. A few larvae of the parasite were recovered in a coffee plantation infested , about 10 kilometers from the release site . The predator virtually eliminated mealybugs this plantation . After the rains of the southwest monsoon season (June- September 1977) the predator was not found , but in December was again present, new releases of parasites were made to strengthen it .

Edited by hookahhead

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Update:

  1. Added Fungus Gnats to list of pests (check out the DIY yellow sticky trap video).
  2. Added three Nematodes to the list for "Other Pests"
  3. Alphabetized the list of pests.
  4. I have started a similar topic regarding the use of plant compounds as an effective pest management strategy, Organic Garden Pests-Aside!
Edited by hookahhead

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I have some questions, thought this would be a good place for them.

1. Do spiders eat spider mites?

2. Would spider mites make webs all around the pot or just on the plants themselves?

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I would imagine that some spiders do eat spider mites, however I doubt you would notice a significant difference. Of course this is only an assumption and nature is full of odd-characters.

Here's my rational:

  • Spider mites are typically smaller than spiders (they can hide)
  • Although I'm not certain, I believe spider mites can move fairly quick
  • Spider mites reproduce rapidly
  • Spiders use a "sit and wait" tactic

I actually looked the last one up. Wiki says "Most spiders that hunt actively, rather than relying on webs, have dense tufts of fine hairs between the paired claws at the tips of their legs". Despite this, I doubt active hunting species will stick around any one area for a given time.

Unfortunately (?), I can't answer your 2nd question. However, if you need help identifying your problem these links may be useful.

http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/turforn/to13_spider_mites.html

And of course, we need one for cacti too :uzi:

http://www.magicactus.com/red_spider.html

This is from the sister-thread on plant oils.

Laboratory bioassay results indicated that pure rosemary oil and EcoTrol (a rosemary oil-based pesticide) caused complete mortality of spider mites at concentrations that are not phytotoxic to the host plant. The predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot is less susceptible to rosemary oil and EcoTrol than twospotted spider mite both in the laboratory and the greenhouse. Rosemary oil repels spider mites and can affect oviposition behavior.

Good luck bud, i'll try to do a bit more digging for you.

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I'm pretty sure I just have spider gaurdians on my plants. I see webs on a bunch of my outdoor plants. I found one green spider chillin in a nest me made on one, but then I saw a red spider that looked like a 50x bigger than normal spider mite on another one. There's lots of webbing on them. I've never seen spider mites in this area though and there are lots of spiders where I have the plants so I'm pretty sure it's just spiders. Which I'll be happy if it is since they protect the plants.

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It's not disk shaped. It has a 3 body sections. The head, then a center portion then a fat butt. I think it's actually a spider.

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