In order to get the most out of your Bio-Diversity Pack it is important to understand what steps to take prior to introducing them as well as how they work, how to release, where to release and how much to release. Please read through this guide prior to introducing your beneficial insects for best results.
If you are looking for directions in releasing these packs in your Bio-Active terrarium, vivarium or enclosure, check out this article.
Steps Prior to Introduction
A. Look at your watering practices. It is very common to over water. It is known that over watering leads to root issues as well as pest problems. If you are in a living soil setup, it is common to water only 5-10% of total soil volume (If growing in 10 gallon pot, each watering is only .5 to 1 gallon). Your frequency of watering depends on the environmental conditions of your grow area like temperature and relative humidity as well as the overall VPD. To further complicate things, each plant is slightly different in their water uptake so you need to constantly assess and re-assess. Build A Soil made a very good guide to help growers dial this in here.
C. Stop using IPM root drench products. We recommend you stop using any products in your root drenches that are aimed at eliminating any insects in the soil. These products can kill the beneficial insects and organisms in your soil. Please use discretion and do your research prior to any root drench applications.
What Species are Contained
Dalotia coriaria (Rove Beetle), Hypoaspis miles (Stratiolaelaps scimitus), Oribatid mite, Echytraeidae (pot worms), Springtails.
How They Work
Our Bio-Diversity insect packs are more effective when introduced prior to any infestation or problem. When applied in an active pest infestation, they tend to take several weeks to establish a population big enough to make a dent. Once rove beetles, and Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles) enter their new homes, they immediately start eating the larvae of fungus gnats, soil stages of thrips, root aphids and several other undesirable root born pests.
While the rove beetle takes a few weeks to reproduce and establish, the predatory Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles) tend to start hunting right away due to their shorter reproductive cycle and because there are enormous populations in each pack.
While the predators are establishing dominance in the soil food web, the Oribatid mites, Springtails and Echytraeidae (pot worms) provide a population boom for enhanced competition, quicker nutrient cycling and assisting in keeping a balance of beneficial bacteria and fungi.
How to Release
For best results, clear a little hole through any mulch in the release spot. Our Bio-Diversity soil insect packs come packaged in a worm casting/coco coir blend along with decomposing pieces of beneficial insect food. We package them this way so they are able to sustain during shipping and also because the pieces of food act as a reproduction base for the beneficial insects in their new habitat.
When distributing in different spots from the same insect container, use a glove to break up pieces of the beneficial food into even size chunks and place in each cleared area. It is normal for it to smell bad. After placing chunks of food, distribute even amounts of the bio-diversity insect soil into each container, covering up the piece of food and then re-establishing mulch.
Where to Release
Our Bio-Diversity soil insect packs should be released in the center of each container or centralized locations in a green house environment. If there is an existing pest condition, it is best to locate the areas with highest activity and release beneficial insects in that spot. The beneficial insects will start establishing wherever you place them, but over time they will grow in population and expand over your entire grow space.
When To Expect Results
The visible result is the diminishing gnat populations which generally come when the populations of your beneficial, predator species (rove beetle and hypoaspis) are able to go through at least one reproduction cycle. Hypoaspis take roughly 11-14 days to complete one cylcle and rove beetles take approximately 4 weeks.
The key to quicker results is to follow this guide for success. It is important to minimize anything that could be exacerbating pest issues and to allow these predators time to take control.
How to Maintain Your Populations
The beauty of this product is that it is regenerative. What that means is the species contained have the ability to assume their natural lives in your indoor garden. Their life and dynasty will continue in your soil as long as you keep it alive by staying moist. In order for them to be successful they need something to eat and somewhere to live.
We recommend the following as tips for long-term success:
1. Keep them fed with organic matter. We practice chop and drop defoliation which will provide a perpetual mulch layer and food source. In addition to defoliation, we feed our soil Beneboost monthly. This is a fungal dominant seed meal and grain amendment that we make which provides an optimal diet to those soil organisms and will help them flourish.
2. Keep your soil moist, even when there is no plants in your containers. We also recommend maintaining a cover crop between cycles and you can even continue to run your light on 12/12 at very low light. These bugs will continue to thrive in the dark, but keeping a bustling ecosystem is just ideal across the board.
3. Keep a good mulch layer. This does not have to be straw, wood chips or rice hulls. The best mulch layer is the defoliated material you leave in your beds. When there is an absence of defoliation, straw is ideal.
Looking for more information on soil based beneficial insects? Check out our informational articles here!
Read More About These Key Soil-Based Beneficial Insects
- Oribatid Mites (Oribatida)
- Rove Beetles (Dalotia coriaria)
- Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles)
- Springtails (Collembola)
- Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia Fetida)
- Enchytraeidae (Pot Worms)
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