1 My gardener, Ryan McCallister, was expecting a very unusual delivery yesterday.
2 The package contained living beneficial organisms.
3 The packing slip listed four different kinds of insects that will hopefully feed on some harmful bugs present in my greenhouses.
4 A tube of 100 Cryptolaemus montrouzieri - These outstanding beetles destroy mealybug populations and have been known to start in on other scale species afterward.
5 We received a cup of 5,000 Aphytis melinus, which are tiny wasps that feed on scale.
6 A bottle of 1,000 Chrysoperla rufilabris, or Green Lacewing Larvae - They are aggressive predators of aphids and other soft-bodied pests.
7 A pack of 1,000 Encarsia formosa hanging cards - This is one of the original biocontrol agents, with a long and successful history of their ability to prevent and manage greenhouse whiteflies.
8 Inside the shipping box was an insulated packing container.
9 The insects are kept chilled during shipping, keeping them less active.
10 The 100 Cryptolaemus montrouzieri
11 These beetles are similar to lady bugs, another beneficial predator for the outdoor garden. Ladybugs love aphids, whereas these love mealybugs.
12 The 5,000 plus 500 Aphytis melinus are very tiny.
13 The 1,000 Lacewing larvae
14 The Lacewing larvae are mixed with rice hulls for easy distribution.
15 A closeup of a Lacewing
16 The packet of the 1,000 Encarsia formosa
17 These tiny wasps come on strips of perforated cards that you separate and hang on plants.
18 The black specks are the pupae, which are lightly secured to each card.
19 Ryan became concerned when he discovered scale on some of the greenhouse plants. Most scale insects are parasites of plants, feeding on sap drawn directly from the plant's vascular system. Their waxy coating make them difficult to eradicate.
20 This creature is a mealy bug, another pest that feeds on plant juices.
21 The Crypto-M beetles that go after mealybugs are drawn to the color white. We are going after long-tailed mealybugs, which don't lay eggs in white cottony masses. Ryan placed bits of synthetic batting to encourage the Crypto-M beetles to lay their eggs and increase their population.
22 He began releasing the beetles.
23 Their new home
24 Another nesting area
25 A Crypto-M beetle released near mealybugs
26 Ryan released the four different insects throughout the greenhouse.
27 The tiny Aphytis melinus flew out of their container.
28 Another shot
29 Hopefully, it's goodbye scale!
30 Releasing the Green Lacewing larvae among the standard topiary
31 And then Ryan hung a few Para-Strips to combat pesky whitefly, that feeds on the underside of plants leaves.
32 The next stop was the vegetable greenhouse, which we keep organic and chemical-free.
33 Tomato plants tend to draw whitefly and Ryan hung the Para-Strips among them.
34 He sprinkled the Green Lace wing throughout.
35 And released more of the Aphytis melinus
36 The last stop was the citrus greenhouse.
37 The entire process was repeated here.
38 Now we just wait for the good work of these beneficial insects.