Predatory mites called Stratiolaelaps scimitus, also known as Hypoaspis miles. These tiny predatory mites inhabit the soil or compost surface. They feed on the eggs and larvae of fungus fly [sciarid fly larvae], springtails and thrip pupae. One adult can consume up to 8 sciarid fly larvae a day. The predators are active from 12.c.
These predatory mites can survive quite long periods without food, up to 4 weeks. However, egg laying will cease if there is no food supply. They prefer to live in dark damp places, where the soil or growing media is moist but not too wet. They will not control insect pests on plants as they are soil borne mites but will help control parts of the pest life cycle that occur in the compost/soil. These predators are especially useful to help protect plants at the vulnerable seedling stage or young plants.
It is good practice to also use yellow sticky traps to catch adult sciarid flies, shore flies and adult thrips. For thrip control; predators should be used in conjunction with Thrip Killer predatory mites Amblyseius cucumeris / Neoseiulus cucumeris. On receipt of the predators, keep the bottle horizontal and apply within 1-2 days of receipt. Apply the predators to the surface of pots, trays or under benches. Repeat applications monthly.