Dragonfli Blogs

Solitary Bees- Declining Numbers

14/11/16

 

The number of Solitary bees that are going to make it through the winter this year in the UK are much lower than normal. Our producer of Solitary bees has been checking his production nests and unfortunately many have failed, so it looks like there will not be many live cocoons for us to harvest next spring. This just goes to show how fragile the plight of many bee species is. It is difficult to always know what is causing the problems.

For those of you with Solitary bee nests, it is a good idea to move any nesting tubes that are inhabited into a garage or shed for the winter. This will protect them from predators such as birds. Woodpeckers especially, love eating the Solitary bee cocoons. If this is not possible, try putting some netting over the end to prevent birds getting access to the tubes. It is also a good time to clean out any empty tubes. This will remove any parasites and make the nesting tubes more likely to succeed next spring when new eggs might be laid in them. Return the tubes to the nester in March, when temperatures start to rise.

It is easy to remove the nesting tubes to keep them safe during winter.

It is especially important next spring to encourage the solitary bees that do make it through the spring to mate and lay new eggs in nesting tubes and habitats. This can be helped by creating areas of pollen bearing plants and siting your nesting tubes to the right orientation. The ones most likely to attract solitary bees should be facing south to south east. Also make sure they back onto a solid back and are not swinging in the wind, no bees will attempt to use these ones.

Ensure your nester is secured to a wall or fence

At Dragonfli we also have some very well designed solitary bee nesters. They make great Christmas gifts, so take a look at our Beepol Solitary bee nesters, now available in some great new colours to liven up the garden. 

    

A selection of our Solitary Bee and insect nesters.

Help the Solitary Bees in your garden by keeping any cocoons safe this winter and ensuring your nesters are eady for next spring.

Julian

 


Chafer grub damage is bad, but wait until the badgers arrive.....

09/08/16

Chafer Grubs under the lawn

The latest generation of Chafer grubs are now feeding on grass roots. Over the last few weeks I have visited several sites where small young chafer grubs are feeding just below the grass surface. In some areas they can be found in very large numbers.

At first it seems they are not doing any damage but eventually the grass will start to go yellow and once you pull at the grass, it will come away in your hands where the root system has been eaten away. Lawns and grass areas with stronger root systems will survive longer but even they will be overcome by large numbers of Chafer grubs. The damage at first can look like an area of grass that is suffering drought but once you look underneath you will often find no roots and the presence of small white grubs in a c -shape. These are the grubs or larvae of beetles, often the May beetle. These beetles normally start flying in May and then start to lay eggs in the soil beneath the grass. Over the next few months they develop into larvae and start feeding grass roots. This feeding continues until the soil temperature drops, this then triggers them to sink lower into the soil and go dormant until next spring. Rising temperatures then bring them out of dormancy, they then feed, pupate and then become adult beetles.

         

                                        Chafer Grub damage                             The May/Chafer Beetle

However the worse damage is often caused not by the Chafer grub but by what it attracts to your lawn.

Badgers love feeding on Chafer grubs, which you might think is a nice natural form of pest control but the damage they do is even worse! They rip up lawn areas, tearing back the grass to eat the Chafers underneath. I have visited quite a few golf courses and large gardens, which suffer terribly from this damage. The products available for controlling Chafer grubs are also reducing, especially for the home gardener.

                                                                           Badger damage

It is not all bad news though, there is an effective, natural solution.

The use of nematodes against Chafer grubs can be very effective and now is the time to use them. These tiny eelworm like creatures are watered into the turf. They then move under the soil to infect and kill the chafer grubs. They are harmless to humans, pets and wildlife but deadly to soil borne larvae like Chafer grubs (the same species also kills Vine weevil grubs). Once infected the chafer grubs die within a few days.

Close up of a nematode

There are a couple of rules to follow. - Chafer grub nematodes only work when the soil temperature is over 13C (late summer and early autumn) and need some moisture to move through the turf and soil. This means watering the grass before application and after.

For heavy infestations it is sensible to do one application in August and another in late September. The second application targets more mature larvae that the first application might have missed.

Dragonfli supply Chafer Grub Killer packs to treat all sizes of lawns from 20 square metres to 1000 square metres.

There is also a Garden Chafer trap for catching adult beetles that can be put out in the spring. This will help notify that Chafer grubs will follow and help reduce numbers , by catching the beetles this will help reduce mating and egg laying.

So we have controlled the Chafer grubs with nematodes , only Leatherjackets to worry about now but that is another blog.....

Julian

 


Natural control for Red Mite/ Northern Fowl Mite in Chickens

05/07/16

The world of biological control using natural enemies is constantly evolving with new beneficial insects being discovered that we can use to combat insect pests. Even pests that are not plant pests are not safe from biological control.

One such example is the new predatory mite for control of red mite/ northern fowl mite in poultry and other birds. Androlaelaps casalis mites were originally found in sparrow nests feeding on red mites. They were then tested on poultry to see if they could be used as a natural solution for the control of reds mites. The results were impressive and they are now available as a product called ANDROLIS

                                

                 Red Mites                                Feather damage by Red Mites            Androlis M (for 10 birds)

Red mite [ Dermanyssus gallinae ] is a horrible pest as it feeds on the blood of birds, once it has fed it drops to the floor. Reproduction can be very fast, especially in the summer months and the build up of mites on birds can cause severe distress to the bird, causing feather loss and stress. Other symptoms include reduced egg laying and even cannibalism. The red mite has become resistant to many chemical treatments, making it increasingly difficult to treat. The treatments that are available mainly act upon the adults. This leaves eggs to hatch and a cycle of treatments that it is difficult to stop. Often these treatments are un-pleasant for the birds and the applicator.

This is not true when using ANDROLIS. The predatory mites feed on the entire life cycle of the red mites, this means they eat the eggs and adults. The red mite is also not able to become resistant to being eaten! The predatory mites will also search for the red mite by crawling into cracks and crevices to pursue their prey. They do not generally go onto the birds but wait for the mites to fall off.  Androlis is supplied in various pack sizes from the smallest unit, which treats up to 10 birds to the largest unit, which treats up to 200 birds. The predators can be applied in two ways either by sprinkling on the floor of the chicken coop or aviary. Here they consume the red mites as they drop to the floor. They can also be applied to the sides of the coops with a special aluminium clip that holds a bottle of Androlis onto the side of the structure. This enables the predators to be released near roosting areas and hiding areas of the mites. This is especially useful towards the end of the season to prevent the red mites overwintering in cracks and crevices.

Androlis mite attacking a Red Mite ( seen under a micropscope)

If you are applying predators to the floor and cleaning out the litter on a regular basis, remember you may also be taking out the predators, so you will need to re-apply or apply using the applicator clip system. Androlis predators are active down to temperatures of 12.c, after this activity will cease. The best times for applying the predators is in the spring and in July. The predators do die back, once red mites are consumed so may need repeat treatment every 6-8 weeks to keep the balance of predators right. They do not overwinter, so will need to be used each year if red mite appears.

This really is a natural way of controlling this horrible pest and it not only provides a safe method but an effective one.

Give your birds a break from chemical warfare and try a more natural method with Androlis predatory mites.

 

Julian


Box Tree Caterpillars - there moth be something you can do!

21/06/16

The summer is here, although it is a typical British variable weather one at the moment! However warm and wet conditions often provide ideal conditions for certain pest species. 

One insect species that can be a pest is certain types of moth. 

Recently there has been an influx of Diamond Back moths, of which the caterpillars can cause serious damage to brassica crops and plants.

        

Diamond Back Moth damage           The Diamond Back moth

 

Another new invader is the Box Tree Caterpillar moth, which has ended up in the south east of the U.K. , after originating from South Asia. The larvae/ caterpillars of this species can have a devastating impact on box plants and hedges.

The plant leaves are shredded and box hedges look like they have serious die back, although this must not be confused with box blight, which is a different problem that box plants can experience. Box Tree Caterpillars eventually spin white webs around themselves as they pupate. This can make treating against them even more difficult. If you think you have a case of Box Tree Caterpillars , you can take part in a survey on the RHS website to monitor where they are spreading to in the UK. 

To help and monitor and control this pest, it is possible to use a Box Tree Caterpillar Moth trap. This uses a specific pheromone to attract the male box tree moths to drop into a funnel trap, where they are caught and drowned. This helps to prevent male moths mating , which in turn reduces female egg laying and hence reduce the development of the caterpillars.

                 

                Box Tree Caterpillar                          Box Tree Moth Trap                Pyrol Bug & Larvae Killer

 If caterpillars do appear on the box, it is possible to treat with a natural pyrethrum spray . This kills on contact but does not persist on the plant to kill other insects and is not absorbed by the plant. Natural pyrethrum is made from chryanth flowers and is a recognised organic insecticide. One such product is Pyrol bug and larvae killer available on the Dragonfli website along with the new Box Tree Caterpillar moth trap.

 

Lets keep these pests under control.

 

Julian


 

Unwanted garden tenANTS

20/06/16

Some less welcome insect visitors appear in numbers in our gardens as the summer goes on.

There are more ants in the world than any other creature on the planet - most of who keep appearing in my garden!

Ants can become a problem, especially if they build up in large numbers on lawn areas. Ant mounds can disfigure a lawn and high numbers of adults can make amenity use of a lawn difficult. The mounds are the entrance to their colonies which contain many different interchangeable roles for the ants - workers, soldiers, drones and Queens. Ant nests can go deep underground with many cavities for the colony to live in. This is why it is important to get the correct and quickest control method first time.

  

Ant mound in the garden                       Applying Ant Killer Granules

Some poison baits can be very persistent and leave harmful residues for other insects and wildlife, so treating effectively without damage to the local environment can be tricky. 

Some garden suppliers offer nematodes for the control of ants. Whilst I am a big fan of nematodes for the control of many insect pests, I am less convinced they are effective against ants. I think the action of the pouring water mixed with nematodes had some effect to displace the ants but does not offer much of a kill rate to the ants, which will most likely return shortly afterwards. 

A more effective solution with minimal impact on wildlife is the use of a natural pyrethrum bait or solution such as Neudorff Ant Killer Granules, which can either be sprinkled on ant trails or mixed in water and watered into ant mounds. The pyrethrum will kill the ants but does not persist in the soil to harm beneficial wildlife. 

If you prefer to use only physical means of control, repeated disturbance of ant colonies will eventually dislodge them and make them move.

Julian


26/04/16

Trap, Monitor and Kill!

Insect traps are a useful tool in the gardeners armory for giving an early warning of pest problems ahead and for contributing toward the control of them. There are insect traps that are designed for greenhouse use only and traps that can be used outdoors.

 

Greenhouses - 

For greenhouses the use of sticky traps is common place, but many are not used to their full potential.
 Too often a dust covered yellow trap is seen forlornly hanging in a greenhouse, not achieving anything.  Sticky traps can provide an early warning of insect pest attack long before the pests are noticed on plants, but if they are old and covered with dust and dirt they are of little use, with no effective catching area for insects to get caught.

New yellow sticky traps will give advance warning of whitefly, aphid and thrip. They can also be very effective at catching fungus fly/ fungus gnats, which can be an annoying pest when you are propagating plants, with clouds of flies flying up when disturbed. More importantly, their larvae will eat the roots of the young seedlings and can spread plant diseases such as pythium. Yellow traps can catch high numbers of these flies and reduce their impact in the greenhouse. 

Whitefly can be difficult to control if left to develop on plants. Sticky traps are good at catching adult whitefly, especially if you hang the traps just above the growing head of the plant where whitefly congregate.

 Sticky traps in the greenhouse will help control early pest infestations and warn gardeners that pests are present, so control measures can be taken to reduce the damage caused.

 

The Garden - 

Outside in the garden, there are also many types of insect traps that can be used to keep pests at bay and warn us of their presence. 
The spring is a really important time of year for many of these traps to be used.
 
Pheromone traps are normally placed in the garden in May. This is the start of the moth flying season - the pheromone lure attracts male moths into the traps. The males are tricked into thinking some lovely female is inside the trap, only to find it is a trap and there is no escape! Don't feel sorry for them though. If left in nature they will mate, leading to increased egg laying by females and then the development of caterpillars and grubs.
 
 
 
Plum Fruit Moth damage

 
 
 
Pests such as Codling Moth and Plum Fruit moth can devastate fruit - trapping the males will reduce this damage. Codling Moth [Cydia pomonella ] can be a destructive pest of apple and pear fruit. The caterpillars part of the Codling moth life cycle bores into the fruit making it un-edible in many cases. The Plum Fruit Moth ; Grapholita [cydia] funebrana is a common pest of plums , damsons and greengages. The female moth lays her eggs near the plum fruit and once the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the fruit. The caterpillar is pinkish-white and about 10-12mm long and eat the plums from within.This sometimes is not observed until the Plum is cut into.When the caterpillar is fully fed it may exit the plum leaving a small hole. Infected fruit often ripen first.

 

Other garden pests can be reduced with insect trapping.

 

Damage caused by badgers digging for Chafers.

Chafer Grub damage of lawns in the summers can destroy lawns and attract birds and animals to dig up lawns, looking for the grubs. By placing Chafer Beetle traps out in the garden in May, adult Chafers can be caught. This will reduce egg laying and the development of grubs. These traps use a scented lure to attract the beetles. Another pest that can be cuaght with this typs of trap, is the Raspberry Beetle, which causes damage to soft fruit.

 

Last, but not least, the British gardeners most common foe - the slug.

Slug numbers can be reduced by using pitfall traps. These traps are dug into the soil, baited with something like beer and then the slugs fall in to them and drown - not a bad way to go!  

 

 

Take a bit of time to think about what insect pests cause problems in your garden and plan ahead, by placing the right traps out to monitor and reduce their effects.

 

Julian.

 


18/01/16

How and which predators to use for control of Red Spider Mite

Two spotted mite [Tetranychus urticae], more commonly known as red spider mite, can be a damaging pest to many crops and plants. They often go un-noticed early in their development and with increasing temperatures their population rapidly develops. These tiny mites feed on the plant sap and tissue, stunting and killing off plant growth. Leaves generally turn yellow as the chlorophyll is removed from the leaf, which in severe cases can kill plants totally. The appearance of plants is also ruined with yellowing leaves and webbing appearing. These webs also contain huge numbers of spider mites and are often used by the mites to move from plant to plant, sometimes by being blown around or even attaching to people working with the plants.

   

Control of spider mites with insecticides is difficult. Spider mites are very good at building up resistance to insecticides over quite a short period of time and physical acting products generally only kill the adults. This leaves eggs to hatch and develop, which means regular application is required to break the life cycle. A more effective and environmentally friendly method is with the use of spider mite predators. Predators will eat the entire life cycle, egg to adult and the spider mites are not able to become resistant to them. They are also easy and safe to apply with no harmful chemical residues being left on the plant or in the environment.

How and which predators we use is key to their success. There are now several species available to growers and gardeners. The main candidates are;

  • Phytoseiulus persimilis
  • Amblyseius californicus
  • Amblyseius andersoni

The most effective predator in the right conditions is: Phytoseiulus persimilis, supplied in shaker bottles or vials. It breeds quickly in the crop with faster egg laying than the spider mites and starts feeding soon after application. It eats spider mite faster than all the other available predators and will happily go into dense webbing to feed, which some of the others will not. However it does not survive long without food and cannot be introduced before spider mites are present. They also need temperatures to be above 15C to be active and are most active from 20C-30C,temperatures above this will reduce and stop their activity. Introduce after spider mite is observed and apply them close or onto the infected areas of the plant. In high infestations repeated applications may be required to build up their numbers to a level where they out compete and control the spider mite.

Amblyseius californicus is also an effective predator of spider mites and can be introduced at lower temperatures than Phytoseiulus. They can also survive without spider mites for some time and can feed on pollen. This enables them to be introduced earlier and before spider mite appears. Their activity starts from temperatures over 10C up until about 33C.

They are available in bottles or breeder sachets that can be hung on plants, releasing predators over a period of weeks. They can be combined with Phytoseilius for an effective bio control programme. However they are not recorded as a native insect to the UK. If non-native insects are thought not to be able to overwinter in the UK, they are often still permitted for use like Phytoseiulus. Judgement on Amblyseius californicus is still under consideration. This means they are not available to gardeners and only to growers growing under glass.

               

          Spider mite predator                                       Spider Mite Killer sachet

There is another alternative; Amblyseius andersoni.  This predator is active at the lowest temperatures of the three ( from 6C)  and will continue working at the highest temperatures (up to 40C). It can be introduced before spider mite is present in breeder sachets. It is most effective when there are low numbers of spider mite and when temperatures are too cold for the other predators. Andersoni does not like feeding on spider mites in high numbers where there is webbing. It should be combined with Phytoseiulus in warm conditions when there are high numbers of spider mites.

 

So what is the best strategy for control of spider mites with predators, here is what I suggest;

  • Introduce Spider mite killer sachets [Amblyseius andersoni] as early as possible in the growing season. Each sachet will release hundreds of sachets over a period of about 4 weeks. If spider mite is low or not present, continue regular introduction throughout the growing season. They can also be used on outdoor crops of soft fruit and trees and shrubs.
  • Introduce Amblyseius californicus sachets if you are a professional grower, growing crops under glass, as early as possible and re-introduce sachets on a regular basis.
  • Always introduce Phytoseilius predators, if spider mite is increasing or in high numbers. Introduce only when temperatures are above 15C and when spider mite is present. Keep repeating applications until the predators are easy to observe on the plants.

 

The full range of predators can be sourced from our Natural Pest Control page.

Julian


21/11/15

Autumn clean up will pay dividends in the spring

Whether it is bees, birds or bugs, a good clean up in the Autumn will help lay the foundations for a more productive spring in the garden.

Our Beepol bumblebee colonies are all finished now and the new queens they produced, will already be hibernating for the winter. The wooden houses we provide for them should now be cleaned out and put away for the winter. One of the foes of the bumblebee, the wax moth, is rather adept at using these homes for overwintering in. So to make sure that no pupa are stuck to the inside or burrowed in to the wood, use a wire brush to dislodge them when cleaning.

For birds, their bird boxes could also do with a clean out, to help prevent a build up of parasites and mites before the birds look to use them again in the spring.

Even a greenhouse can provide a handy home for some less welcome insects in the winter. if you leave any greenery, like weeds, in a greenhouse, even an unheated one, this can provide a nice overwintering spot for whitefly or aphids. So a good weediing session now can significantly reduce pests transferring to your new plants in the spring.The odd yellow sticky trap will also give you a good warning of early pests or help catch any unwelcome lodgers in the winter.

However, don't be too tidy in the garden!  A pile of logs makes a good habitat for ladybirds and beetles and a pile of leaves might prove useful materials to a hedgehog looking to build or add to shelter for their hibernation homes.

Finally, as the temperatures drop, remember wild birds food supplies will dwindle, so start topping up bird feeders.

Will it be a cold winter, a wet one or a mild one? Who knows?  But whatever comes, let's help create a good environment in our gardens for bees, birds and bugs - we need them all!

Julian

 


What is Mycorrhiza?

05/11/15

Quite a few gardeners know about Mycorrihza, but to many, it is all a bit mysterious. However, it is a natural fungi that is worth knowing about.

Mycorrihza is a soil bourne fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of plants, to the benefit of both. it does occur naturally, but can also be increased at planting time with products like our Roots Boost Mycorrihza.
 
So what are these benefits that plants derive from an application of Mycorrihza?  Many plant types will benefit from the following if Mycorrihza is used at planting;
  • Increased root growth
  • Increased plant survival rates
  • Improved water use efficiency
  • Great nutrient uptake
  • Better plant vigour
  • Increased ability to withstand disease
Some plants form especially strong Mycorrihzal associations, such as roses, which have even been able to survive in areas that historically have suffered from rose re-plant disease. Mycorrihza works best in challenging conditions for plants, so if you are planting in a nutrient poor soil, it will help the plant take up more nutrients and the same with water and drought conditions. If soils have heavy metals or high salinity in them, Mycorrihza will also help them survive in these adverse conditions.
 
More and more landscapers are using Mycorrihza when planting trees on road sides or new build developments, where the soil may be weak. Traditionally then may expect heavy plant losses in these areas, but with Mycorrihza this is significantly reduced.

If you are planting a new hedge this Autumn, now is the time the use Mycorrihza to help it establish.
Our Roots Boost Mycorrihza also contains bio stimulants and microbes to further improve plant health, so to get the best chance of plant survival, make sure you apply Roots Boost Mycorrihza at planting.  
  
Here's to great plant health in your garden!   
 
Julian

Beepol Bumblebees - the truth

20/10/15

Beepol bumblebees are disease free and to be enjoyed for what they are!

Humans often disagree about many things - even bumblebees! 

Since we started supplying bumblebees to gardeners 5 years ago, a small number of very vocal activists have tried to claim that our bees were a threat to the environment and that people should not buy Beepol bumblebees.

First they claimed we were introducing a foreign species - not true. The species we supply is Bombus Terrestris Audax, a common species in the British Isles. Next they moved on to where the bees were produced, suggesting that only bumblebees produced in the UK should be permitted in the UK. In an ideal world this might be desirable, unfortunately, economically it is not possible. There are no specialist production sites in the UK and the cost of building one is more than any company will invest.

Some might say, OK, why do we need to import bumblebees? The answer is simple and very important to UK horticulture.  They are needed to pollinate many crops grown in the UK, especially tomatoes and strawberries. No bumblebees, would make the production of many crops very difficult, resulting in the loss of many jobs and a reliance on importing more food produced abroad. Not many would support this.

So why do activists continue? Oh yes, the diseases.  Their argument is that the pollen produced by bumblebee producers is infected with honeybee diseases. We can't answer for all bee producers, but we do know that our producer, Koppert Biological Systems, is the world leader in the safe production of beneficial insects. We know the strict protocols and procedures that are in place to prevent the spread of diseases and pest insects in their production. First, all the pollen used is carefully selected, frozen to -23C and then irradiated to kill all diseases. They are produced in a closed production cycle, unlike honeybees and have to pass inspection from vetinary inspectors before leaving the production site. The bees are also monitored for diseases, pests and viruses in a variety of complex and thorough ways. These systems are in the public domain and can be verified, as they are too long to list here! Koppert also worked closely with Natural England on a protocol for safe importation of bees into the UK, which is closely adhered to.

We do not know how other producers operate, but we do know that our bees are produced to the highest quality and represent no threat. To say otherwise, is simply not true and cannot be proven.

What next? Oh yes, the activists say you should not buy them because they are commonly found in the UK and have no value. Well that is only true if your aim is to save certain species, that is not our stated aim. We want to provide bumblebees that are value pollinators, easy to look after, educational ( a fantastic way to teach children and adults on the benefits of pollinators) and enjoyable. Anyone who has watched Beepol colonies at work in the garden, can't help but acknowledge how fascinating they are to watch. They are no threat..

Julian


Help for hedgehogs this winter

13/10/15

Colder weather will now be making one of the gardeners allies and most welcome visitors, a little sleepy and ready for bed.

Hedgehogs are a great addition to the garden and need looking after. It is estimated their population has crashed by 30% since 2002 and is following the same rate of decline as the Tiger. It would be awful for UK wildlife if we lost this wonderful little animal.

 

At this time of year they need to have fed well or still be feeding, to build up their strength for the long hibernation through the winter, especially if they have been born later in the season. We can help in several ways;

  1. Provide additional food and water ( NOT bread and milk, which they are not able to digest)
  2. Offer a suitable habitat for hibernation or shelter. One that gives shelter and protects them from predators.
  3. Remove barbed wire or chicken wire that may injure them.
  4. Not use traditional slug pellets. If required use only iron based ones, which are harmless to hedgehogs. But not forgetting that hedgehogs are also very good predators of slugs!
  5. Be careful when tidying up the garden, especially if using strimmers and having bonfires.

Here at Dragonfli, we are doing our bit by selecting habitats that are strong enough for winter shelter and give enough protection from predators. We also offer some highly nutritional foods, including dried beetle larvae for building up the hedgehogs reserves in the winter.

See what you can do to help hedgehogs in your garden this autumn.

Julian.


 

The advance of biological control

06/10/15

My first Dragonfli blog, so I better start with a good one! Which is why I will start with advances in biological control of pests, seeing as I have dedicated a large part of my career to it.

When I started working in the biological control industry, over 25 years ago, we had about four beneficial insects that we could recommend to professional growers to try, and only two or three crops where growers would use them. There was virtually no use of them or very little knowledge of them in gardening and hobby sectors. Wow, how things have progressed! Dozens of different natural enemies and beneficial insects are being used by growers on a whole range of crops in the 21st century, not only on food crops, but ornamental crops too. It is not only professional growers that benefit from these industrious bio control critters, but now also, the average gardener. Most gardeners are aware of nematodes for the control of may soil borne pests and even if they have not tried them yet, they will most likely give them a try over the next few years. So why are growers and gardeners turning away from traditional insecticides?

There is no one single answer but rather a combination of factors, which I could write chapters on, but as I need to keep your attention, here is a quick summary ;

1. Supermarkets don't like chemical residues on the food they sell, forcing growers to look for alternatives.

2. The cost of bringing new chemical insecticides to the market is enormous and highly regulated, reducing the development of new agrochemical products, especially in small markets like gardening, so that gardeners have to look to others ways to control pests.

3. Consumers are more environmentally aware and are receptive to alternatives to traditional chemical insectides.

4. Bio control works! If you are a pest insect, you cannot become resistant to being attacked or eaten by another insect!

5. Some fantastically innovative companies like Koppert Biological Systems, have taken biological control global and on a massively lower level. companies like my own, Dragonfli Ltd, have given gardeners access to some of this green technology.

One of the many exciting features of biological control is its continual evolvement and for me, the most exciting of late is the jump from controlling plant pests to controlling livestock pests.

I could not have imagined 25 years ago that we would now be looking at pest control for livestock, but it is now starting. Here at dragonfli we can now supply predatory mites for control of Red Mite on chickens and snake mite for snakes and reptiles. How amazing is that?! Whatever next......

I will tell you more about them in another blog, but for now keep learning and watching out for more developments in biological control - the chemical-free future of pest control.

Julian

 

         

A predatory mite attacking a Red Mite                        A close-up of a nematode                &nbs

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Last chance to treat Leatherjacket larvae

This short, fat leatherjacket  larvae does a lot of damage to lawns from August through to the end of October. The recent warm weather does enable later applications but should not be delayed to long now.

Once you have evidence of this grub under your grass, it is time to apply nematodes.

Available in many sizes -  100m2, 500m2 , these nematodes will seek out and destroy Leatherjacket larvae within 14 days of use. Can be applied by watering can or hose end nozzle.

This is a natural solution for leatherjackets in lawns. Leatherjackets are the larvae of crane flies, otherwise known as Daddy-long-Legs. The majority of the eggs are laid late summer and develop into Leatherjacket larvae in the late summer- early autumn.

Stop these horrible pests ruining your lawn by using a biological control.

 

 

Red Mite Season

The warmer temperatures are perfect for Red Mite ( Chicken Mite) to increase in numbers.

ANDROLIS is the name of the product for controlling red mite and northern fowl mite on all birds.

It contains predatory mites that feed on red mite. They kill all stages of the parasites from egg to adult.

Red bird mite [ Dermanyssus gallinae ] causes significant stress to infected birds and anemia, which  sometimes leads to death. Birds show signs of nervousness and even cannibalism.

Chickens/ hens  and other birds infected with Red Mite also see a drop in egg laying.

ANDROLIS is easy to use and is 100% safe to the birds, the environment and humans.

Androlis is available in 4 sizes     M, L, XLXXL

 

 

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