Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles) is a tiny (0.5 mm) light-brown mite that naturally inhabits the top 1/2" layer of soil. Stratiolaelaps have been used primarily for control of fungus gnat larvae in greenhouse crops, but also feed on western flower thrips pupae, pathogenic nematodes, Spring Tails, Black Vine Root Weevil, Strawberry Root Weevil, and Cactus Root Weevil, reptile mites, hermit crab, cricket, scorpion and tarantula mites to name a few. "Stratio" has also been shown to effectively impact populations of pest mites and insects that overwinter in the soil, and there is even evidence that "Stratio" will feed on Varroa mites that plague beehives without touching the bees [VIDEO PRESENTATION], and there is ongoing research into how effective Stratiolaelaps might be at controlling Small Hive Beetle.
The female Stratiolaelaps lay their eggs in the soil and hatch in 1-2 days: the nymphs and adults feed on the soil-dwelling pests. Populations of Stratiolaelaps include both sexes, but the males are much smaller and rarely seen.
Each Stratiolaelaps mite will consume 1-5 prey or eggs per day. They survive by feeding on algae and/or plant debris when insects aren't available. Their typical life cycle is 7-11 days.
Release rates: 5,000 mites treats 500-1,000 plants; 10,000-25,000/per acre. For maximum fungus gnat control, use with Neoseiulus cucumeris and Beneficial Nematodes.
Stratiolaelaps should be released immediately upon arrival. Although Stratiolaelaps will move between plants in pots, at least every second plant should be treated. Application needs to be made early enough to allow the mites to spread. They will not move throughout an entire greenhouse from a single introduction point. Stratiolaelaps will not survive below the top 1/2 inch of soil, so mixing mites into the growing media prior to potting is not recommended.
Other biocontrol agents to use in conjunction with Stratiolaelaps are Ladybird beetles, Green Lacewing, Minute Pirate Bug (Orius sp.), Neoseiulus cucumeris, Beneficial Nematodes (Steinernema feltiae), and Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis.
Stratiolaelaps can also be effective at ridding pet reptiles and invertabrates of pest mites.
Recent research and trials are showing success using Stratiolaelaps in bee hives to treat for Varroa mites.
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