|Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles) |
This tiny (0.5 mm) light-brown mite naturally inhabits the top 1/2" layer of soil where fungus gnats, as well as springtails and thrips pupae dwell. The female Stratiolaelaps lay their eggs in the soil, which hatch in 1-2 days, and 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 entire life cycle is 7-11 days.
Stratiolaelaps are used primarily for control of fungus gnat larvae, but they also feed on western flower thrips pupae.
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. Moisten soil or target area planting media at least 10 minutes prior to release. Containers include a shaker lid which allows for distribution over the soil surface. Concentrate the bulk on the most heavily infested areas. Stratiolaelaps moves well on soil surfaces, so it is unnecessary to apply to all surfaces. Leave the empty container in the treatment area until any stragglers have left.
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.), and Neoseiulus cucumeris, Beneficial Nematodes (Steinernema feltiae), and Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis.
Stratiolaelaps can also be effective at ridding pet tarantulas, lizards and snakes of pest mites. Moisten area before introducing Stratiolaelaps. Introduce a few tablespoons of substrate with Stratiolaelaps per habitat every day or so, as needed. Pest mites should dissappear within 48 hours. Continue introducing Stratiolaelaps until container is empty. Lighter dosages serve as a preventative, higher dosages as a curative.