Predatory mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles)

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Predatory Mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus also known as Hypoaspis miles is been widely used as a biological control agent to control dark-winged fungus gnats, (Bradysia spp.) and thrips. This predatory mite generally lives in the soil and feeds on soil-dwelling stages of fungus gnats, thrips and other insect pests (see below) that cause a serious damage to many economically important crops grown both in the greenhouses, nurseries and fields, and poultry. Adults of predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus are clear-brown to tan colored tiny mites that are about 0.8- 1.0 mm in size. Females of Stratiolaelaps scimitus generally lay oval shaped eggs in the soil or potting mix. These eggs hatch into tiny brown to black colored larvae with six legs. These larvae then develop through two successive developmental stages known as protonymphal and deutonymphal stages. Both these immature nymphal stages resemble to their parents known to feed on the eggs and larvae of fungus gnats, and larval, prepupal and pupal stages of thrips that present in the soil. The optimum temperature required for the reproduction and development this predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus mite is between 15-25°C (59-77°F). At this temperature range these mites generally complete their egg-egg life cycle within 13-15 days.

Facts (show all)

- Effective against the following pests
  • Fungus gnats, Bradysia spp.
  • Pill bugs
  • Poultry lice
  • Poultry red mites, Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Sow bugs
  • Spider mites
  • Spring tails
  • The dry bulb mite, Aceria tulipae
  • The root mealybugs
  • The mushroom sciarid fly, Lycoriella solani
  • Varroa mites, Vorroa destructor
  • Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis
+ Key factors for Stratiolaelaps scimitus effectiveness
  • Stratiolaelaps scimitus are natural predators of mainly fungus gnats, shore flies and thrips.
  • Both adults and nymphs of this predatory mite voraciously feeds on the eggs and all the larval stages of fungus gnats.
  • Since both adults and nymphs of this predatory mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus live in the soil or potting medium, they can find and feeds on the mature larval stages of thrips that fall on the soil or potting medium surface for pupation. Also, these mites can feed on the prepupal and pupal stages of thrips.
  • As these predatory mites can survive in the soil for a longer time without any food, they are considered as good candidates to use as biological control agents even there is a very low population of host insects like fungus gnats and thrips present in the target area. These predatory mites can reduce over 30% population of thrips.
  • Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites are very effective against fungus gnats and thrips can complete several generations when the temperature is between 15-25°C (59-77°F) and the relative humidity between 40-60%.
  • Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites are commercially available and can be released in the fungus gnat and thrip infested crops.
+ How predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites works in the greenhouses, nurseries and field
  1. Although Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites are used in closed places like greenhouse and mushroom houses, they found to be effective in controlling other insect hosts in the open nurseries.
  2. After application in the greenhouses or nurseries, Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites immediately can start munching on the eggs and larvae of fungus gnats.
  3. These predatory mites by feeding on mature larvae, prepupae and pupae can reduce over 30% population of thrips.
  4. While feeding, these predatory mites can develop and reproduce rapidly.
  5. Under favorable environmental conditions and if there is enough food around, these mite can recycle continuously (do not need to apply again and again) and help to keep the pest population under economic threshold level.
+ Which stages of fungus gnats and thrips are killed by predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites?
  • Eggs and all the larval stages of fungus gnats and soil-dwelling stages of other insects.
  • Mature larvae, and prepupal and pupal stages of thrips.
+ How many Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites should be released?
  • 5-10 predatory mites/square feet (0.1 sq. meter) area bi-weekly, 2-3 times.
  • 25,000 to 50,000 predatory mites/acre, bi-weekly, 2-3 times.
+ When and how Stratiolaelaps scimitus should be released for the effective control of fungus gnats and thrips?
  • The predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites are shipped as adults, eggs and/or nymphs in a container containing a mixture of vermiculite, peat and bran.
  • If you are not ready to release these predatory mites upon their arrival then store these containers with mites in a dark place at cooler temperatures between 10-15C.
  • This mixture of media containing predatory mites is easy to spread on the soil or potting medium infested with fungus gnats and thrips.
  • Release these mites by opening the containers and sprinkling the mixture of media containing predatory mites on the surface of soil or potting media.
  • As these predatory mites are very active, they will disseminate themselves throughout the soil/media profile to seek their different host stages.
  • As a preventive control measure these mites should be released when there is a very low population of fungus gnats, thrips and other insect pests.
  • As a curative measure these predatory mites should be released when there is a large population of pests including fungus gnats and thrips.
  • Release predatory mites, Stratiolaelaps scimitus when temperature is between 15-25°C (59-77°F) and the relative humidity is between 40-60%.
+ Why you need them
  • they can reduce the crop damage by feeding on crop pests including fungus gnats and thrips
  • they can munch on different stages of their hosts including eggs
  • they are able to actively search for their host and feed on them
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle in the soil or potting medium after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to release in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not damage plants
  • do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with predatory mite
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Cabrera, A.R., Cloyd R.A. and Zaborski, E.R. 2004. Effects of greenhouse pesticides on the soil-dwelling predatory mite Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Acari: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) under laboratory conditions. Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 793-99.
  2. Cabrera, A.R., Cloyd, R.A. and Zaborski, E.R. 2005. Development and reproduction of Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Acari : Laelapidae) with fungus gnat larvae (Diptera : Sciaridae), potworms (Oligochaeta : Enchytraeidae) or Sancassania aff. sphaerogaster (Acari : Acaridae) as the sole food source. Experimental and Applied Acarology 36: 71-81.
  3. Castilho, R.C., de Moraes, G.J., Silva, E.S., Freire, R.A.P. and Da Eira, F.C. 2009. The predatory mite Stratiolaelaps scimitus as a control agent of the fungus gnat Bradysia matogrossensis in commercial production of the mushroom Agaricus bisporus. International Journal of Pest Management 55: 181-185.
  4. Enkegaard, A., Sardar, M.A. and Brødsgaard, H.F. 1997. The predatory mite Hypoaspis miles: biological and demographic characteristics on two prey species, the mushroom sciarid fly, Lycoriella solani, and the mould mite, Tyrophagus putrescentiae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 82: 135–146.
  5. Lesna, I., Sabelis, M.W., van Niekerk, T.G.C.M. and Komdeur, J. 2012. Laboratory tests for controlling poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) with predatory mites in small 'laying hen' cages. Experimental and Applied Acarology 58: 371-383.

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