- When should I expect my order to arrive?
In order to make sure we supply everyone with the freshest products available, we do not keep a rolling inventory (except sometimes Stratiolaelaps- which is subject to change). That being said, we ship all orders out Wednesday of each week, with order deadlines being the Friday before the shipping week.
Most Washington and Oregon orders may be shipped Ground, allowing for next day arrival. Any shipping outside of the Pacific Northwest will need to ship UPS 2nd Day or Next Day, depending on weather, location, and beneficial insect. Remember that we are working with a perishable product, and shipping methods reflect the need for your bugs to arrive to you alive and well.
- What is the difference between corn grits, vermiculite and bean leaves? Which one is better?
There is not one better than the other, simply different. The only difference is the carrier the bugs are supplied on: corn grit, vermiculite, or bean leaves. The predators on bean leaves come in larger containers, because the leaves take up more space. Further, the vermiculite bottles contain slightly more carrier than corn grit (more vermiculite, not more bugs) for ease of distribution. Finally, each of them only have adults in the bottles or trays.
- How long and where can I store my beneficial insects?
The majority of beneficial insects need to be released as soon as possible after receiving the shipment. The few exceptions are: Stratiolaelaps, cucumeris, Aphidoletes (in trays), nematodes and ladybugs.
- Stratiolaelaps: The tube can be stored for about two weeks. Lay the tube on its side in a cool place away from sunlight. An office drawer or cabinet is perfect. Do not refrigerate!
- Cucumeris: The tube can be stored at most for one week (the females will start eating the males after one week). Lay the tube on its side in a cool place away from sunlight. An office drawer or cabinet is perfect. Do not refrigerate!
- Aphidoletes: Store the tray in an office environment away from sunlight and heat. Check the tray daily for emergence of the midges. Release them about 24 hours after you first see emergence.
- Nematodes: They can be stored in a refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. Make sure to use by the expiration date located on the trays.
- Ladybugs: They can be refrigerated for several months. While in the colder refrigeration environment, they will go into a hibernation phase. Keep in mind that the longer you store the ladybugs, the mortality rate increases.
- Can I use beneficials if I recently sprayed?
Generally, it is not advisable to use insecticides and beneficials together. Do not use systemic insecticides at all if you are using beneficial insects, they are not compatible.
You can use beneficials shortly after using an insecticide if it is a contact insecticide (e.g. Safer’s insecticidal soap). Different beneficial insects may have different reactions to chemicals. Stratiolaelaps, for example, may still work if applied to the soil (they will not be affected by foliar sprays). Aphidoletes on the other hand are very sensitive to residual spray, and may avoid plants until the residue is gone.
- How can I monitor my plants to make sure I don’t get an outbreak?
There are several ways to monitor plants: yellow sticky cards and tape, or monitoring/trap plants. Examples of trap plants are bush beans, yellow marigolds and eggplants (plant from seed). Many common pests will flock to these plants first, allowing you time to control them before they attack your plants. They also act as a trap in which you can remove large numbers of the pests simply by removing the trap plant. Check out our blog for more on monitor and trap plants!
- How long does it take to start seeing results?
Some beneficials only need one application (e.g. Stratiolaelaps), while others need to be applied more frequently (e.g. Encarsia and Aphidoletes). If you apply them early and frequently (when necessary), you should begin to see results fairly soon. The results would be that you would not be seeing an infestation or an outbreak.
- Will the beneficials fly away when the pest is gone?
Some beneficials do not fly at all ( e.g. Stratiolaelaps, cucumeris, fallacis and persimilis), and will stay in the soil as long as they have a food source. For the ones that do fly, they will begin to widen their search area if your target area has been cleaned up. This actually comes as an added benefit as it creates a “buffer” area around your nursery, farm or yard.
- Do they feed on anything besides bad bugs?
Some will feed on pollen (e.g. fallacis) or other small insects in the soil (e.g. Stratiolaelaps).
- What is the "triple threat" spider mite predators that I've seen around, and why don't you supply it?
The spider mite predators contained in the "triple threat" bottle that some other companies supply are the same predators that we also sell individually (usually it is a combination of M. longipes, P. persimilis, and N. californicus). We do not supply them in a single container because the californicus can potentially be harmful to the other beneficial insects. Californicus is a generalist predator, and with no food source (spider mites) in the bottle, it will consume the other two predatory mites. By the time you receive the bottle, it will most likely contain only the californicus. Each predatory mite has optimum temperatures and humidities it works best at, so check the technical sheets or contact us to find the best combination for your crop!
- Can I use Entomopathogenic Fungi (EPF) in conjunction with beneficials?
While these products would not harm the likes of Stratiolaelaps in the soil, there is a chance that if a product (e.g. NoFly) were to make contact with a beneficial, that insect would die (however, eggs and pupae would be safe). These products are intended for growers that get an outbreak of a pest (e.g. thrips) as a safer, more sustainable option to knock down the outbreak. Once the outbreak is contained, beneficials may be used again without worrying about the persistence of an insecticide.
- How do I apply my bugs to the infested area?
Check in with our Release & Care Instructions handout on best practices for releasing your beneficials for maximum success. If you don't see your product listed, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'd be happy to give you more information!
- Will the “good bugs” harm my reptile or arachnid?
The good bugs will not harm reptiles or arachnids. Stratiolaelaps and nematodes feed on small insects in the soil like fungus gnats, mites, and thrips larvae.
- I am seeing pests on my plants, but can’t identify what they are. How do I find out?
I am seeing pests on my plants, but can’t identify what they are. How do I find out?
The easiest way is to take a picture, and send it in! If you can’t spot the bug itself (they can be really small and hard to photograph), find the damaged plant part and send that picture in. We will be able to identify the problem, and work to find the best solution for you.