Predator mites. rove beetles, and nematodes. Oh my...

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by parry willis, Jan 8, 2023.

  1. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Good sunday funday to all,

    I will cut straight to the point of this post.

    Integrated Pest Management.

    What do you do? What do you employ? How do you employ it? What do you employ it for? Is your target indoors or outdoors?
    Fungus gnats? Thrips? Aphids? weevil's? pick something, specificity is not the focus of this conversation.

    Is your strategy organic? do you use chemical warfare? Do you care at all and just let the bugs get what they get?
    Do you culture pre-biotics such as Lactic Acid Bacteria as a part of your strategy?

    I want to hear about it. I want to share what I know, in order to help others both indoors and out.

    Truth of the matter is, an infestation can lead to eviction of houseplants or from an indoor growing situation. or the destruction of a vegetable(or other) garden outdoors. Being proactive and armed with the knowledge of local herbivorous insects, and their adversaries, can be truly priceless.

    Let's talk about bugs!
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Your post reminded me of this excellent book, in which I first read about the lovely tiny wasp that is a natural predator of the cockroach:
    Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live by Rob Dunn

    I employ a varied strategy in dealing with uninvited guests. In general, I use as few and as mild toxins as possible: for example, I pick scale insects off my orchids with a cotton swab.

    However---when the annual springtime ANT migration begins...into my living room plants...I do not hesitate to whip out and deploy the Raid House & Garden. I know from experience that the nuclear option is the only way to go with this situation.

    I rescue sunning garter snakes from the street, worms from the driveway; am happy to see praying mantis cases in fall and babies the following summer; have learned to recognize and protect ladybug larvae and immature forms of beneficial insects.

    That's it, right there---you have to know what you are looking at to know what to do with it.
     
    Margot likes this.
  3. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC Canada
    I really do not have many insect problems in my garden. I control rhododendron weevils by wrapping the trunks with tape and Tanglefoot. Aphids on my hellebores get washed off with water.
    Two large thatching ant nests provide thousands of allies to help me fight problem insects.

    Very few plants are affected and, if they were, I'd probably get rid of the plants before going to all the trouble of culturing anything. My garden is too big and time is too short.

    The biggest pests here are deer and rabbits - a whole different level of IPM.
     
  4. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Thank you both very much for your interesting responses. I appreciate your participation. I apologize for not responding until today, but, it's been one of those weeks.
     
  5. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Some interesting topics, touched on I think! I want to immediately point out, that, due to the variance of climates/environs that we(those who join this thread) will likely be dealing with a fairly broad spectrum of creatures. not just insects as Margot pointed out.(re; deer and rabbits, etc).

    Can we firstly broaden our scope of the ant aspect of this conversation? I'm very curious what kind of ants, specifically? I understand and expect that there is a variety, Like myself, however. I notice it's usually one particular species of ant, in my case the fairly common black ant, that is persistent with it's submission of a rental application on an annual basis. In the area where i live, i'm fortunate to only have a handful of variance with respect to ants(black, red, carpenter, and a black/red variant). I do however live in a particularly rural setting, so their attention is maintained elsewhere largely.

    As far as my methodology, i'm usually of the same opinion. I won't use anything aerosol based, ever. Not into it, I have my reasons. My preference is to use bait that is then taken back to the hive for maximum footprint. Raid makes what I feel is the most effective in a liquid form. The ants drink it and take it back to the hive, boom, next thing you know the only ants coming from the target hive are fresh daily larvae hatches instead of large numbers. very quick and effective in my experiences. This being said, the past two years I have been trying to get along a little better with the bio-diversity living around my home and in my gardens, etc. Ants included. Something that had become an issue for me that I was determined to get a hold of, is ants in my apple trees. now to some extent, I don't mind because natural pollination. But when their roaming becomes tenancy, that will take an obvious toll on their host. Last year, I targeted a few plants to grow around the property. peony and wild roses are both known ant attractants. As well as some ant deterring plants(rosemary, thyme, mint, catnip) which I kind of kept around the corners of my deck, close to the door in front and back. worked pretty good as I did not see one ant inside this past summer.

    All this being said, the above strategy works for me, and I mean, it's pretty generalist. It sure won't be what works for every species of ant or situation. There are things available, however. Which is sort of why I started this thread. I just want to help in some way if I can. Gardening can be a real challenge sometimes. proper identification and IPM strategies can be equally if not more challenging, if not impossible. Some of the pests we deal with are pretty tough to see due to their size. Thankfully we have google and as i'm finding out personally, a very supportive community with regards to IPM. I will post a follow up with a couple links to some interesting info regarding some generalist strategies. utilizing beneficial fungi to target pests. A patreon link, to someone that everyone might find interesting. an entomologist/IPM specialist that I personally support. He's helped me out several times in my journey down the rabbit hole that is Living Soil Organics. As well as a couple other things I will cover a bit of an explanation of with the follow up.

    Thanks for having a chat, hopefully we can continue.
     
  6. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Interesting read from University of Missouri on why ant's dig peony flowers from 2018:
    Ants on Peony Flowers: An Example of Biological Mutualism (Michele Warmund)

    An article from Oklahoma State University regarding fungal use for pest management:
    Fungi Used for Pest Management in Crop Production - Oklahoma State University

    Mr. Matthew Gates, is a champion advocate of helping and education of IPM and IPM strategies. Hugely qualified individual. I support him myself.
    https://www.patreon.com/Zenthanol

    Walsh Medical Media; Fermentation Technology department on use of Lactic Acid Bacteria as a bio-control agent: please read the PDF;
    walsh medical media | journals | open access journals

    Youtube of Chris Trump. The information he presents/teaches is invaluable for many reasons. Natural IPM of organic inputs used in Korean Natural Farming are relevant to this particular thread but there is a broad use perspective here:
    https://www.youtube.com/c/ChrisTrumpSoilSteward?app=desktop

    Some light reading! Look forward to hearing back
     
  7. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Good afternoon, Margot, and thank you for your input. I appreciate that you joined this thread very much, as it highlights the bio-diversity and difference in eco-systems supported in short distances throughout a region.

    According to what I know, is that you reside in an area classed as zone 8B. Which makes for a pretty drastic difference even though our proximity is relatively close, as I reside in zone 4B. These details are fairly important when considering things like pest management or control. A lot of the times, the climate can dictate heavily the critters that are effecting us. rabbits and deer included.

    Now, to dive in. I find it very interesting that you target root weevils(aka; rhododendron weevil) with the product "Tanglefoot". To the best of my knowledge, weevils like to feed on a nocturnal cycle. Which they climb their target, munch out, and head back to the soil to hang out until the next evening. They lay their eggs(as majority of adult weevils are female) and their larvae brood in the soil. So while you're preventing damage to to your fruit tree, or whatever, from climbing insects. It allows a population to establish and grow. I suspect also that due to your growing zone classification, that they, like the ants, don't really have the seasonal adversity to possibly interrupt their life cycle, that they would find in my zone. I suspect many other "pest" herbivorous insects reside in your particular climate, that might go unnoticed due to the lush foliage and bio-diversity as well. Strictly to exemplify; spider mites, leaf borer, brown/green lacewing, etc. The list can go on and on, i'm sure you know.

    Aphids are an ever persistent and ever present creature in gardens around the world. both indoor and outdoor. Suffice to say, that there has/is/will continue to be heavy investment into the management of aphids. specifically even. as they are both wide spread and varied. Quite an interesting topic, if one is willing to go down the proverbial "rabbit hole". Aphids are clonal. Born pregnant. the young hitch rides on adults to avoid predator attraction. Their pathogenic adaptation is renowned. The word "prolific" has to be used, I feel in this diatribe! as they multiply like crazy and are up there with two spotted spider mites with the level of economic crop destruction they cause on an annual basis.

    To slide back into the ant category! We have to keep aphids at the forefront please. I understand that Thatching ants are highly predatory. Which is great! The best mitigation are those that are natural. I also do my best to promote and encourage beneficials in my growing spaces both indoors and out. This being said, there is a downside to thatching ants and aphids being neighbours. That issue is that they are great neighbours! Thatching ants are well know ranchers of aphids. protecting and encouraging their population in order to get that sweet, sweet honeydew. Personally, symbiosis and mutualism are incredibly fascinating and i normally don't get in the way when i'm able to identify it. A balanced eco-system is a thriving eco-system, right?!

    Before I get to long winded. I would like to touch on the culling of plants in one's garden. Personally, my gardening season, outdoors, is under 4 months from last frost to first frost. sometimes less than the common expectation. The last thing i'm going to do, if at all possible, is cull a portion of my vegetable garden and take a hit to my crop yield. Now, in an extreme, of course I would cull something. But even then you have to be careful. If for example there is a spider mite infestation, good luck. All that will be done is spreading them to the rest of the crop that at the time is currently not effected. root born insects, well, you can't dig them out! So I opt for control and management. Via a variety of measures. pre-biotics(Lactic Acid Bacteria) to prevent things like powdery mildew, blossom and fruit rot, fungus gnat and thrip populations(both of which will be common both indoors and out for pretty much everyone). The use of rove beetle and hypoaspis soil mites to control a variety of herbivorous pests insects.

    As far as deer and rabbits go, maybe they need their own plot with some alfalfa and lettuces to keep them distracted somewhere perhaps not on your property(adjacent crown land maybe)!! I'm half joking with that! Honestly, fencing is really the only solution, and even then, beware of the sub-terra assault!

    I will provide a follow up post, with some links to information that you may find interesting on the topics here-in. I look forward to further discussing them with you. Thank you for participating.
     
  8. parry willis

    parry willis New Member

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    Interesting informational about thatching ants from sort of close to home for you(Margot):
    Thatching Ant - Cranbrook Pest Control

    Another interesting read about thatching ants from university of Wisconsin Milwaukee:
    Western Thatch Ant (Family Formicidae) - Field Station

    Information from Mcgill University about how ants farm aphids:
    Farmer ants and their aphid herds

    Informational from Colorado State University about root weevil. I recommend paying special attention to "beneficial nematodes" as a control measure. For sure warrants a follow up if you are not familiar with them(nematodes):
    https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/root-weevils-5-551/

    Informational about the use of nematodes to control root weevil populations:
    Control sneaky root weevils with beneficial nematodes

    The Bug Lady. Located on Vancouver Island. They can set you up with beneficial nematodes and insects. I buy stuff from them myself:
    https://www.thebuglady.ca/

    Please follow up with the Zenthanol youtube/patreon as well. As root weevil has been an extensively covered topic as it has had significant economic crop impact. Both indoors and out.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5dNbnQob9sSQVmLMLnQXUA

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    https://www.patreon.com/Zenthanol/posts

    Look forward to hearing from you regarding these topics.
     

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