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Most of the time you will see damage to the plant before you see any type of pest. If you see a large population of pests, that means they have been there for quite a while. That is why it is important to be diligent in looking at your plants daily or every few days and check for signs of plant damage.
In all honesty it is quite difficult to determine without the use of a microscope or magnifying glass. Typically pests in their adult stage are easier to identify, but larvae and juveniles can look almost exactly like beneficial insects to the naked eye. Pest vs. beneficial insect identification and distinction are very important in the grand scheme of things. If you see an insect that you are struggling to identify, go ahead and remove the insect. Better safe than sorry! This is why it is super important to wash your plant regularly before applying beneficial insects. If you have physically removed many of the physical pests, you can feel comfortable that what you are seeing is the beneficial insect. If you have a microscope, head over to our Pests & Predators dictionary to compare what you see!
Pests are a natural part of a plant’s life and do play a role in the plant’s delicate micro-ecosystem. Try thinking about beneficial insects as just another part of plant care. Just like you should fertilize your plants regularly, you should also be adding preventative beneficial insects regularly.
Beneficial insects will stay where prey is, which is on your plants! This is especially true for the mites. Lacewing larvae have been known to wander onto the walls and ceilings near the plants they were released on, but they should not wander to other parts of your home. If you want, you can collect the lacewing larvae onto a piece of paper and put it back on a plant. You can always just leave them alone and they will find their way back!
If you are dealing with an active infestation, you should try to release at least one type of beneficial insect every two weeks. For preventative measures, it depends on the beneficial insect used. Our community is happy to help you figure out a successful pest management plan that works for both your plants and your budget.
We recommend not watering at least 24 hours before or after applying beneficials, but best practice is 48 hours if that is possible.
Yes! In fact, the beneficial insects may thank you for the drink after a long journey from the beneficial insect farm to your plant.
Yes! All beneficials are safe for your curious pets. Our members have had their furry friends eat beneficial insect sachets with no adverse effects. You can use your beneficial insects with peace of mind!
This is totally normal! In fact, that is the usual experience for people who use beneficials. It’s unlikely that you will see them, but they are hidden away in the crevices of your plants, hard at work eating all of your pests.This is totally normal! In fact, that is the usual experience for people who use beneficials. It’s unlikely that you will see them, but they are hidden away in the crevices of your plants hard at work eating all of your pests.
Ideally, you should apply your beneficials as soon as you receive them. There are two exceptions: the sachets and nematodes. The sachets are considered “slow release” and have multiple generations of beneficial insects inside of them. Nematodes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. However, once they are opened you have to use all of them. Lacewing larvae, minute pirate bugs, and stratiolaelaps mites will begin to cannibalize each other if they are not spread out and given a food source.
You certainly can. However it is recommended to wait 10-15 minutes between each beneficial insect you release to give them time to settle into the plant.
Before you apply beneficial insects, you should wipe your plants down or give them a shower. You can wipe them down with wet paper towels, or you can get fancy and make a dish soap/water mixture. The goal is to try and remove as many pests as possible before applying beneficial insects. After application, do NOT do a full wipe down or shower. If you see any visible pests, you can spot clean those using a wet q-tip.
We have extensive YouTube videos showing you exactly how to apply each beneficial insect! Please search for our YouTube page called “DMV Beneficials,” or you can find the Release Tutorials under the “Resources” tab.
Those are lacewing eggs! White lacewing egg means they have already hatched, while green lacewing eggs mean they have not hatched yet. You can dust them off of your plant if you would like.
Beneficial insects can be applied to all of the mediums, however their application may vary. We have a great handbook that details how to use each beneficial for the different mediums.
If you’ve placed predatory mite sachets on or near your prop boxes, those small mites are the feeder mites that come in them. They are a type of mold mite and are drawn to moisture. They are harmless and will not impact your propagations.
While it may be tempting to release beneficials and let them do all of the hard work, remember it’s all about teamwork. You and the beneficials are working together against the pests. Continue to monitor your plant carefully and remove any visible pests.
No, you cannot. The pesticides are specifically designed to kill any insect, including beneficials. We recommend to stop using all systemics immediately and give a window of at least two weeks of no systemics (if possible) before using beneficials. If you are unable to wait that long, you risk losing up to 30% of your beneficial insects that you released.
There are sprays that can be used wisely in between beneficial applications, but you should never spray anything directly on top of your beneficial insects.
Unfortunately, these sprays are very harmful to beneficial insects and are not organic as advertised. Please do not use these on your plants.