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Beneficial Insects

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by seaf0ur, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. The Mantids

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    Parying mantises are very fast predators. They are ambushers meaning they sit and wait for their prey to come by. Once their prey is within their reach, they can quickly attack and grab this passing by insect prey with their spiny forelegs, and then munch on it. They are also known to camouflage with their surroundings to mislead their victim insects. Both nymphs and adults feed on different kinds of insect pests. Young nymphs feed on small soft bodied insects such as aphids and flies whereas adults feed on large insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, moths etc. They are very effective against moths because they are active during night.

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    Another advantage for the praying mantis is its coloring. Not only does the mantid's green to grayish-brown offer excellent camouflage in the plant foliage where it prefers to hunt, this color can be somewhat altered by an individual to better match its specific surroundings. The praying mantis will sit and wait or very slowly stalk its prey, sometimes swaying back and forth to mimic plants moving in a breeze, only to become lightning fast when it snares its target. It immediately uses its strong mouthparts to start chewing the still-living prey. Sometimes, the mantid will bite its victim on the neck first, thus paralyzing the insect and avoiding its escape. It is fast enough to catch flies and mosquitoes that venture within its grasp.

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    All of these characteristics combine to make mantids formidable and almost perfect predators. Why the “almost” qualification? One problem is that the entire family is indiscriminate in what they eat. While they consume pests such as flies, crickets, moths and mosquitoes, they also devour other beneficial insects, including each other. Larger species (especially those in tropical areas) Some species are large enough to eat lizards, small mammals and even hummingbirds.

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  2. Aphidius colemani - Aphid Parasites

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    This tiny parasitic wasp (A. colemani) hones in on its prey by sensing the distress signals of infested plants as well as detecting the aphid's honeydew secretions. Once there, it injects an egg into the aphid. When the egg hatches, the larvae begin to consume the pest from inside. The resulting wasp then emerges from the rear of the dead aphid to seek out other prey. Surviving aphids react by emitting an “alarm” pheromone which causes the colony to flee, often falling to the ground where they die.

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    Appropriate for garden and greenhouse use, aphid parasites can be used both as a preventive measure and to combat infestations. Adult wasps live two to three weeks and will lay eggs in as many as 300 aphids over the period of their lives, increasing the numbers of wasps as they do. Proof they're at work can be found by searching for the brown, mummified shells left of dead aphids.

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    Aphelinus abdominalis work in the same way and have a similar appearance.

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  3. Aphidoletes aphidimyza - Aphid Predators

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    In its larval stages, Aphidoletes aphidimyza is a voracious aphid killer. The more aphids present, the more it will consume. Also known as the gall midge, it's known to feed on some 60 types of aphids. It's a popular means of aphid control in greenhouses.

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    Basically night feeders, the larvae hide on the undersides of leaves during the day. In its adult, midge stage, the delicate fly feeds on aphid honey dew and deposits eggs in aphid colonies. The larvae take two-three days to hatch and go through three stages over two weeks, feeding on aphids as they go. The predator spends its pupal stage in the ground. The adult emerges in one to two weeks to lay more eggs among the remaining aphids.

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  4. Steinernema carpocapsae & Heterorhabditis heliothedis - Predatory Nematodes

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    Parasitic nematodes seek out insects harmful to garden plants, shrubs and trees in their soil-borne stages and destroy them from the inside out. Present in soils throughout the world, these microscopic, non-segmented worms destroy over 250 different insects, including Fleas, Thrips, Fungus Gnats, even insects as large as Cutworms! Nearly any insect that spends a part of its lifecycle in the soil is likely prey before they reach adult stages.

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    When released into the soil, Predatory nematodes seek out the larvae and pupae of susceptible pests by sensing the heat and carbon dioxide they generate. They enter pests through various orifices or directly through the “skin.” Once inside the host, they release a bacterium that kills it within a day or two. They will continue to feed on the remains, multiplying as they do, before exhausting it and leaving to seek another food source.

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    Nematodes do not prey on lady bugs, earthworms or most other beneficial insects. They are harmless to plants and humans as is the bacterium they produce. Evidence of the nematodes effectiveness, other than reduced pest populations, is difficult to spot as these microscopic creatures consume their hosts in the soil, leaving little trace behind. They're appropriate for use on lawns, in gardens and around trees and shrubs. They need generally moist condition to facilitate their movement.

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  5. Dacnusa sibirica & Diglyphus isaea - Leafminer Parasites

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    The parasitic wasp Dacnusa sibirica occurs naturally in North America and Europe. The adult is dark brown to black and is 2-3 mm long. Dacnusa sibirica can easily be distinguished from Diglyphus isaea by its long antennae. As an adult, it differs from Opius pallipes, another beneficial insect against leafminers, only in the front wing venation.

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    The Dacnusa sibirica female deposits her egg in a leafminer larva. Diglyphus isaea egg is laid beside the host. If there are too few hosts, Dacnusa sibirica may deposit more than one egg per larva, but eventually only one parasitic wasp develops in the leafminer larva.

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    The parasitized leafminer larva does not die, but keeps on feeding. First Dacnusa sibirica evolves in the leafminer larva. Then, when the leafminer larva pupates, the Dacnusa larva mutates. Further development of the pupa also takes place in the leafminer pupa. Finally, not a leafminer, but an adult parasitic wasp leaves the pupa. So the different development stages are not visible without opening the leafminer larva or pupa.

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    Dacnusa sibirica can hibernate in leafminer pupae thereby allowing it to occur simultaneously with its host already early in the season. Adult parasitic wasps do not feed on hosts as Diglyphus isaea does. Dacnusa sibirica is able to locate mines at very low densities. It looks mainly low in the crop. Once it has found a mined leaf, it searches for larvae with its antennae. The wasp can distinguish parasitized from non parasitized leafminer larvae (host discrimination).

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  6. Chrysoperla rufilabris & Chrysopa ornata - Multi-Predators

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    Despite its beautiful, poetic name, the green lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris) is deadly to almost any soft-bodied insect pest and its eggs. In its adult stage, it lives up to its name, feeding only on nectar and pollen. In its larval stage - when it's known as the “aphid lion” or “aphid wolf” - it's a voracious consumer of problem insects, known to devour over 200 aphids in a week. If it runs out of food, it will cannibalize other lacewing larvae.

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    C. rufilabris lays up to 200 eggs, often near a colony of aphids, on a slender stalk, known as the “egg stalk,” attached to the underside of a plant leaf. After hatching, the larvae climb the stalk to find their prey. The larvae continue to feed for two to three weeks, then spin cocoons from which the delicate adults emerge in five days, ready to lay more eggs.

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  7. Hippodamia convergens - Multi Predators

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    Lady beetles, also known as ladybugs spend their lives in both adult and larval stages feeding on mites, aphids, other soft-bodied bugs and all the insect eggs they can find.

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    The lady beetle leaves a cluster of bright yellow eggs on plant leaves and stems. Within a week the eggs hatch and the insatiable, horned and segmented larvae emerge seeking food. The larvae go through three molting stages and, depending on conditions, will pupate after three to four weeks. It's another week before the adult emerges, ready to resume feeding.

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    H. convergens will generally go through one or two generations during a growing season, often synchronized with the advent of aphid infestations. Plants that provide the adults with a source of pollen and nectar will help encourage these popular beneficial insects to stay in your garden.

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  8. FOCK YES. Thanks man! Great info!!
     
  9. Cryptolaemus montrouzieri - Multi Predators

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    Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, is a small black lady beetle with a tan front end and a voracious appetite for mealybugs. This predator also readily feeds on some soft scales including hemispherical scale and its relatives, but reproduction is substantially greater on mealybugs.

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    Adult female beetles lay their eggs among the cottony egg sack of adult female mealybugs. Eggs hatch into larvae in about 5 days. These larvae feed on mealybug eggs and other crawlers. It takes another 24 days for these beetles to go through three larval stages and a pupal stage before they become adults. After four days, adult beetles will begin to lay up to 400 yellow eggs during their two month life span.

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    The larvae grow up to 1.3 cm in length and have woolly appendages of wax (their true legs are barely visible underneath) which makes them superficially resemble mealybugs, although they are about twice as large as the adult female citrus mealybug.

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  10. Orius tristicolor & Orius insidiosus - Multi Predators - Thrip Destroyers

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    Adults are black and white and are about 2-2.5 mm (1/10 inch) long, somewhat oval-shaped, and black with white wing patches. Wings extend beyond the the tip of the body. The nymphs are first colorless, then later become yellow to brown. The nymphs are teardrop-shaped and fast moving. All stages have red eyes. Both adults and nymphs feed by sucking juices from their prey through a sharp, needle-like beak (the rostrum), which is characteristic of all true bugs.

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    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.

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    Adults are great flyers and move efficiently to locate prey. The adults are attracted to flowers. Under ideal conditions each female adult could lay up to 45 eggs over a 2-week period. Females lay tiny eggs 2-3 days after mating embedded in soft plant tissue, these eggs are not very visible. They hatch into nymphs which develop through five nymphal stages. Egg incubation is generally 3-5 days, and development from egg to adult takes a minimum of 20 days under optimum conditions. Females lay an average of 129 eggs during their life spans, and adults live about 35 days. Several generations may occur during a growing season.

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  11. Spiders ...
     
    What's your source OP?
     
  12. #12 seaf0ur, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2014
    Phytoseiulus persimilis, Neoseiulus californicus, Amblyseius fallacis Galendromus occidentalis & Mesoseiulus longipes - Spider Mite Predators


    These predacious mites are the carnivorous cousins of leaf-feeding spider mites and other pestilent mites that feed on plants.

    Phytoseiulus persimilis is about the size of a spotted spider mite, is orange or tan in color, has no spots, and is shinier and more pear-shaped than their prey. They are also more active and have longer legs than spider mites.

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    Neoseiulus californicus adult females are approximately 0.1 mm in length and oval in shape. Males are slightly smaller than females. Both males and females are translucent and can be pale orange, peach, or pink in color.

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    Amblyseius fallacis is pear-shaped and about the same size as it's prey and hairless. It is reddish in color when feeding on the European red mite, gold when feeding on the two-spotted spidermite in strawberries and blotchy green when feeding on the two-spotted spidermite in cane berries.

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    Galendromus occidentalis are very similar in appearance and life cycle to Fallacis. Adults are pear-shaped mites that are less than 0.5mm long. They range in color from beige, amber and red. They are able to hunt in extremely hot conditions, without requiring a high humidity

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    Mesoseiulus longipes are pear-shaped mites that are less than 0.5mm long. They range in color from beige, amber and red. They are able to hunt in warm conditions, they are also able to hunt in extremely dry conditions

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    The mouth parts of predatory mites extend in front of their body while pest mite mouthparts extend downward to feed on plants.

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    Once distributed in the garden, predatory mites take to the underside of leaves where pest mites congregate. Females will lay eggs that are double the size of plant-eating mites eggs. Eggs hatch within days and generally go through a six-legged larval stage and two, eight-legged immature nymphal stages before becoming adults. The population of mite predators will continue to increase as long as there is prey. Once they've exhausted their food source, they move on or starve.

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  13. Trichogramma minutum(East of the Rockies) & Trichogramma platneri(West of the Rockies) - Moth & Multi Parasite

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    Trichogramma are pale-yellow micro-wasps, 1/100 inch long, smaller than a pinhead. They drill through moth eggs to deposit 1 to 3 of their own eggs depending on moth egg size.

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    Trichogramma are parasites to over 200 pest moth species (armyworms, borers, cutworms, fruit worms, leaf worms, leaf rollers, loopers etc.) eggs can be destroyed by Trichogramma. Trichogramma prevents ravenous worms (caterpillars) from hatching out and devouring crops.

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  14. Feltiella acarisuga - Spider Mite Predatory Midge

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    Feltiella acarisuga are tiny yellowish maggots which will prey on spider mites immediately after hatching. After about a week of eating spider mites, mature maggots begin to pupate, forming cocoons adjacent to leaf veins that yield new adults within about six to seven days. All stages of the insect should be visible within 2 to 3 weeks. Feltiella will persist in the greenhouse until the spider mite infestation is controlled, after which time they will die off.

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    The number of midges will increase in response to increases in prey numbers and can search out isolated spider mite outbreaks from a distance. Feltiella works best on crops with hairy leaves and stems such as cucumbers and tomatoes. They have been shown to work quite effectively on tomatoes where Phytoseiulus persimilis mites are ineffective. Feltiella and P. persimilis can co-exist at high population densities and can be used together for effective spider mite control. Feltiella are recommended for prevention of spider mite outbreaks. Since they cannot survive in the absence of their prey, these midges should be released only after a spider mite probelm has truly been detected.

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  15. Stethorus punctillum - Spider mite Predators

    Stethorus is a specialized spider mite predator in the lady beetle family. Adults are tiny, 1.5mm (1/10 inch) long, dark brown to black, oval beetles with brownish yellow antennae, mouthparts and legs. The larvae are slow-moving, gray, with conspicuous legs. They move from plant to plant on leaves. Eggs are yellowish ovals, laid singly in or near mite colonies.

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    The complete life cycle takes 14 to 20 days. Female beetles lay 3 – 13 eggs per day. Over their long life span (up to 2 years) females can lay over 1000 eggs. Females must eat 20 – 40 spider mites per day to initiate and sustain egg laying.

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    Larvae feed for 10-14 days. A single larva can consume 240 spider mites as it develops from egg to adult. Older larvae migrate down the plant to pupate and pupae are often found along leaf veins on the undersides of leaves. Adults emerge from pupae in 6-7 days.

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    Both larvae and adult beetles feed on all stages of mites. Adults can eat over 50 mite eggs and 10 adult mites per day. If food is scarce, they will also feed on other small arthropod eggs, aphids, nectar and pollen and will cannibalize their own species.

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  16. Stratiolaelaps scimitus (formerly Hypoaspis miles)- Fungus Gnat - Multi Predator Mite

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    Stratiolaelaps scimitus is a small brown mite ~1mm long, with a distinctive darker brown V-shaped marking on the upper surface of the body. It inhabits the upper levels of the growing media particularly loose open substrates and prefers media high in organic matter such as peat, sawdust and coconut fibre, but will also establish in rockwool, and scoria.

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    predaceous on a variety of soil organisms, but is particularly useful against fungus gnat larvae. They also help control soil stages of thrips and may account for up to 30% of thrips control. They do not control shore flies or moth flies, but will feed on other soil organisms, such as springtails and root mealybugs. This predator has also proved useful in controlling pest mites in reptile enclosures, and spider colonies.

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    Oval eggs are laid into the media, which hatch into 6-legged white larvae, which then pass through two 8-legged, brown nymphal stages before reaching maturity. Female mites lay 2-3 eggs per day and consume 1-5 prey per day. Males are much smaller than females but are in equal numbers. The length of the life cycle from egg to adult varies with temperature and with food supply. It takes about 17-18 days to reach maturity

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    Stratiolaelaps adapt well to the various growth media and capillary mats used in plant production, but do not survive freezing or flooding conditions.
    These mites can live without food for weeks and can be easily established in your crop.

     
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  17. Amblyseius cucumeris - Thrips Predators

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    Amblyseius cucumeris is a tiny, pale coloured beneficial mite. It is the preferred predator for thrips control. These mites are most effective at preventing thrips build-up when applied early in the growing season at the first sign of thrips. and can be used in gardens outside in the summer months in sheltered areas. These mites crawl around on the leaves and within the flower buds looking for their favourite prey which are thrips larvae. They usually target the smaller, newly hatched young, but they have been known to tackle larvae bigger than themselves.

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    The complete life cycle takes 10-12 days. Cucumeris populations have somewhat more females than males (64% female). Females will lay 1-3 eggs per day, with an average of 35 eggs over a lifetime. Eggs are laid on leaf hairs along the veins on the lower surface of leaves. They will hatch in about 3 days. Newly hatched larvae do not feed until they moult at 2 days old. They feed for another 7 days before becoming adults. Adults live for up to 30 days and eat an average of 1 thrip per day and also feed on two-spotted mites and their eggs.

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    Establishment of Cucumeris requires 3-4 weeks, so they should be applied before thrip problems develop. Because cucumeris feed on immature thrip stages a decrease in adult thrip populations will not occur for about 3 weeks.

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  18. Eretmocerus eremicus - Whitefly Parasites

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    Eretmocerus eremicus is a parasitic wasp for whitefly control. Female Eretmocerus eremicus are pale lemon yellow with green eyes and clubbed antennae. The name Eretmocerus is derived from Latin, meaning "oar-like," and refers to the shape of the female antennae. Male wasps have longer, elbowed antennae, and are yellowish brown in color.

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    Eretmocerus can develop in any larval stage of the whitefly, but it prefers the second and early third stage. Eretmocerus eremicus lays its eggs under the whitefly larva. After 3 days the translucent eggs turn brown. If an egg is laid in the first larval stage, a development rest occurs, Eretmocerus larvae will not develop before the whitefly larva has reached the second larval stage.

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    The complete life cycle takes 17 to 20 days, depending on temperature and the larval stage of whitefly. Two weeks after parasitation, the pupa will turn yellow, not black as is the case for Encarsia. In order to leave its host, Eretmocerus makes a small round hole in the parasitised whitefly, just as Encarsia. Both males and females are lemon-coloured. The males are only dark yellow on the upperside of the thorax, a part of their underside is brown.

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    E. eremicus attacks whiteflies including greenhouse whitefly, sweetpotato whitefly, silverleaf whitefly, and bandedwinged whitefly.

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  19. Encarsia formosa - Whitefly Parasites

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    Encarsia formosa is a tiny parasitic wasp that parasitizes whiteflies. It was the first biological control agent developed for use in greenhouses. Adults are black with yellow abdomen, less than 1 mm (1/20 inch) long (they do not sting). Larval stages live entirely inside immature whiteflies, which darken and turn black as the parasites develop inside. With the exception of the adult, all stages of Encarsia occur within the whitefly host.

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    The complete life cycle takes about 28 days. Encarsia populations are all female (males are rare and dark in color). Eggs are laid in 2-week-old whitefly scales (second and third whitefly larval stages), one egg per whitefly. Most Encarsia are female and each lays up 10 eggs per day for an average of 200 eggs. Larvae develop inside the whitefly scale for 10 days. They pupate for another 10 days, then adults emerge by chewing a hole in the top of the scale. Adults are most active for about 10 days, although they can live up to 30 days.

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    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

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