Thrips cause damage to plants by sucking out juices and leaving leaves tired and damaged. The most common species are western flower thrips, which as their name suggests attack and hide in flowers.
Thrip killer Amblyseius cucumeris is a natural predator of numerous thrip species. These useful predators come in a loose carrier material allowing fast application onto infestations and natural chemical free control for your plants. Each Amblyseius predators will consume many thrip young and eggs, moving around the plant and flowers in search of their prey.
Amblyseis will feed on flower pollen which allows their introduction before pests are present. With predators on the plant at all times, any news signs of thrip will be killed before they can take hold.
When using natural predators there are numerous advantages compared with chemical treatments. Predators will actively search for prey, even in very small cracks and crevices finding more thrips. Chemicals rarely kill thrip eggs, this means that although you may see a reduction in the adult pests to begin with, the next generation will simply come back again. Some thrips will build up resistance to chemicals over time making them less effective, this is not possible against predators as they are being eaten!
Amblyseius cucumeris predatory mites will feed on thrip larvae and eggs on the plant itself. This effectively breaks the life cycle of pest thrips by killing the young and eggs before they can develop into adulthood. These predatory mites will not feed on the adult thrips so the use of blue sticky traps is encouraged to catch the flying adults simultaneously.
If thrip are not present Amblyseius cucumeris will also feed on spider mites (strawberry mite, broad mite etc) honeydew and pollen. This effectively allows their introduction before pests are present, a useful tactic to prevent outbreaks occurring.
Temperatures should be between 14-30 degrees with a relative humidity level of around 75% for optimal thrip control using cucumeris.
Our expert Julian Ives advises the following rate of application against thrips;
Light infestation – 200 mites per square metre
Heavy infestation – 500 mites per square metre
Repeat applications may be needed against heavy infestations, introduce fresh predators every 2 weeks or until control is achieved.
The predators will begin consuming thrips straight away and given correct conditions will continue to feed and reproduce until control is achieved. If you cannot see thrip numbers reducing after around 7 days, you may need to apply more predators to gain control, greater numbers will win the battle!
Loose predators provide a quicker release, getting large numbers of predators onto the thrip infestation, this is ideal if you have a heavy infestation. If you are protecting seedlings small piles can also be used at the base of plants, predators will then make their way out in search of prey on the plant.
Sachets will last a little longer (around 4-6 weeks) and act as breeding sites, releasing predators slowly onto the plant in search of prey. These are better suited for prevention or for small infestations. By having a few sachets on your plants at all times, outbreaks can be prevented as predators will consume any early signs of thrip.
Amblyseius cucumeris comes in a loose bran material that can be gently sprinkled directly onto leaves or heaped on rockwool blocks at the base of your plants. You can also use our distribution boxes which will act in a similar way to sachets, providing breeding sites for the predators to emerge from.
Please Note; Amblyseius cucumeris is a living creature and can be affected by any chemical pesticides used within the previous few weeks. As a guide cease using pyrethrum or SB plant invigorator 2 days prior to use and other persistent chemicals or universal bug killers 1-2 weeks before using Amblyseius cucumeris.