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The Gardener’s Little Helpers
Sweet little creatures… For professional greenhouse growers but also for amateurs with a veranda or greenhouse, there now exists an alternative to chemical products. There are in fact natural predators of insects which destroy our plants. Therefore, by using these little helpers alongside selective treatment we can cultivate responsibly and be more environmentally friendly. We call this ‘inbuilt protection’.
The advantages of this new protective technique are:
- the elimination of chemical stress on the plant which is often weakened by sometimes repeated chemical treatment.
- it gets rid of the risks brought about by the handling and inhaling of these chemical products.
However, use of these predators demands an enclosed space to ensure that they are kept as close to the plants as possible.
The insects live together in harmony and are of no risk to humans. They are all natural entities which are of no danger to users, to consumers or to the environment. None of these insects stings people or damages plants.
The best-known helper is the ladybird larva which is an excellent predator of greenfly and is also an educational tool for children who love to follow its evolution.
The predators which are easiest for the amateur to use are:
Cryptoline M (this is a ladybird called Cryptolaemus Montrouzieri).
It attacks the floury and cottonous mealybugs or cochineal insects. It is presented in small flasks of 25 adults. Once installed after 2 or 3 introductions, the adults reproduce, and along with the adults, the larvae will continue to eat the mealybugs and clean the vegetation. These should be used especially by people with a lot of non-flowering plants like the ficus, the scheflera, the croton, etc…in fact, most non-flowering plants, but also flowering plants…Watch out for the larvae which are all white…don’t mistake them for mealybugs…
Encarline F (that’s the well-known Encarsia Formosa)
which mainly attacks the Trialeurodes vaporarium (one of the big varieties of aleurodes). It is presented on tiny cards on which are placed aleurode pupas which have already been interfered with by encarcias. From these pupas will come adult encarcias which will act as a parasite on and destroy the existing aleurode populations. This product is inexpensive, and for it to be efficient, it should preferably be used as a preventative measure or on small numbers of aleurodes. If the population of aleurodes is too big (high infection) a compatible phytosanitary product should be used beforehand (and for amateurs the phyto choice is not an easy one..). It should preferably be used by people with a lot of fuschias, primaveras, lantanas, gerberas, etc… ( click next for preview next page)