Are you wondering if beneficial bugs are the right choice for your grow space and style? Here are our top ten do's and don'ts when using beneficial predators:
1. DON'T under treat. Not using enough predator bugs is the number one reason why they do not work. When an inadequate quantity of beneficials are used it is a waste of your dollars and time. Undertreatment can be especially detrimental if the environmental conditions are favorable for the pest bug's procreation and not for the beneficial's. In a situation of under treatment it will be very difficult for the predator to gain control.
2. DO follow the recommended guidelines on the number and frequency of the beneficials. This will give the beneficials the population size they need to get the outbreak under control. If unsure of the treatment quantities contact us and we will be more that happy to make a recommendation.
3. DON'T wait until you have an infestation before you treat! Once a pest infestation is out of hand it becomes much more difficult if not impossible to remedy. The typical environmental conditions of an indoor grow are more suited to the reproduction needs of a pest bug vs. a beneficial. If the infestation is too severe the predator bugs will not be able to keep up.
4. DO Release beneficials preventatively. When using beneficial bugs preventatively a grower is able to use smaller amounts and smaller plants. Not only is this more economical it also prevents damage that can ultimately effect final yields.
5. DON'T ignore your plants by not inspecting the leaves and stems each day. Not checking plants for signs of pest damage can allow an infestation to bloom and run rampant in a grow space undetected. Neglecting this crucial activity can be especially injurious when a new seedling, clone, preveg plant has entered the grow space from another facility. Though the plant may look 'clean' and healthy at first glance, tiny pest eggs can go without notice. Eggs are resistant to pesticide treatment and hard to see with the naked eye. Inevitably these eggs will hatch, grow, and breed. Without monitoring these undiscovered menaces can reek havoc on a new crop.
6. DO lots of monitoring so pests can be discovered before they become an untreatable problem. Monitoring does not have to take a considerable amount of time. It can be completed in tandem with other tasks such as watering and de-leafing. Look for tell tale pest indicators such as stippling, scratching or other irregularities on leaves. Flip over a few leaves on each plant to check for eggs or pests that find shelter under leaves. Pay attention to the stem of the plant looking for small bugs congregating at the base. Sticky cards can also be helpful to catch and monitor some types of pests.
7. DON'T leave plant waste such as plucked leaves or trimmed branches in your grow space. Decaying plant waste is a delectable buffet for pest bugs. This type of waste not only attracts pest bugs but provides them with food that bolsters their reproduction and development.
8. DO perform deleafs (removal of yellow and large fan leaves) before releasing beneficials and be sure to compost the trimmings elsewhere. Removing dead and/or heavily infested leaves will physically remove pests from a grow space. This population decrease will help the beneficals as the remaining pest population will be smaller and more manageable.
9. DON'T store the beneficials if possible after receipt. Predator bugs are alive and as any living creature they need food to survive. The longer they are kept in their shipping containers the hungrier and weaker they get. Some types of beneficials will become cannibalistic when left too long, with the larger bugs eating the smaller ones. After a period of time the beneficals will die from starvation.
10. DO release the beneficials as soon as possible. The sooner the beneficials are released the more vitality and vigor they will posses. The best predators are the ones that are hungry, but not weak from lack of food.