The adult flies are commonly found making short hops over the compost surface. Adults can spread fungal diseases but most damage is caused by the larval stage feeding on plant roots making them vulnerable to disease infections such as Pythium and other damping off diseases.
How it works: Mites feed on sciarid fly larvae and other 'soil' pests including springtails, thrips pupae and root mealybug. At night they move a short distance up, on to the plant foliage and will feed on mealybug and other soft bodied prey. Mites are very mobile and soon distribute themselves throughout the crop. Adults are reported to live for several months and survive up to 50 days without food, making them ideal in situations of very low pest populations.
Species controlled: Bradysia spp. and many other insect or mite pests.
When to use: Introduce into most growing media including artificial substrates. Use as a preventative or at the first sign of sciarids. Requires a minimum temperature of 12°C.
Rates of use: 100 per m2 usually as a single application. For permanently planted areas (interior landscapes, botanic gardens etc.) re-introduce every 10 to 12 weeks.
How it works: Nematodes swim freely through moist compost (but they can drown if waterlogged), they are attracted to insect larvae and enter the body where a pellet of bacteria is released that kills the pest organism.
Species controlled: Bradysia spp. and other compost / soil living pests such as larvae / pupae where nematodes can enter the host body. Can also be used as a foliar spray for Western Flower Thrips, leafminer and scale insect control.
When to use: Generally as a curative treatment or programmed application for each batch of plants. The temperature range is 12°C to 25°C.
Rates of use: 0.5 to 1 million per m2 as a compost drench.