Well, apparently the "specialist" we went to didn't really know as much as we though. I just discovered that I have a thrip problem, not a spider mite problem. In his defense, the damage does look similar. How do we know? Well, my parents had the brilliant idea of taking some of affected leaves from my plants and sticking them under a microscope. The result? (see below) So now I have a very real thrip problem instead of an imaginary spider mite problem. So...does anyone have any tried and true methods of getting rid of thrip? I haven't noticed any adults, just the larvae. But I might have missed them. I've heard nematodes work...are they okay to use with aquaponics?
Hey Rich, I doubt that you are ever really going to see fish deaths as a result of spinosad.
Another thing that spinosad apparently wont kill, are particular populations of Western Flower Thrips that have developed a resistance. The thrips I had here died just fine. Hopefully yours will too. Good luck.
Hey there Vlad, thanks for the feedback. In fact, I'm in New Mexico, so I may very likely have those little rascals (Western Flower Thrips). Any other ideas? I'm considering the Pirate bugs, but there pretty darn expensive (100-150 USD for 500). I'm really into the concept of what I call "bioponics". the idea of incorporating as many beneficial organisms into our growing system as possible; I think a lot of people are doing this but most of the focus research is on fish. Right now I have frogs, ladybugs, fiddler crabs, and red wigglers in my rock medium flood plain, and fish of course in the tank. If we could locally figure out how to breed these different beneficial critters, or better yet, make our systems naturally attract and support their lives, as well as support each other's systems locally, that would be great. All of these type efforts must continue in order to support our peaceful resistance to corporate giants, that if unchecked, will destroy the world to make a buck for the 1%.
Oh, well if you're looking for natural control, I can try and give you a hand. You're right, pirate bugs are really expensive. They do cover a broad range of pests and I think they feed on pollen when there's nothing else to eat. But they are big (My system is in my garage, so I try to keep large populations of noticeable insects at a minimum), and I think they have tendency to bite as well...So there are definite benefits and drawbacks.
There are varieties of predator mites that feed specifically on thrips. Here's a list of some predators you can take a look at. The "insidious flower bug" is the same as the minute pirate bug. This place is my fav for predatory insects; they usually offer the best pricing and are quite reliable.
Lol, this discussion brings back so many memories....fascinating to remember how much I really didn't know at the time.
Ever play around with IPM Rob? It's kind of addicting; you might have fun with it. I really enjoy not having to spray, EVER.
Although, since you're selling, I'm sure selling produce with potential critters in it can be a turn off.
Rob Nash said:
when In doubt.. go with the triple threat... Spinosad, Insecticidal Soap, and Pyrethrins.. mix at half strength, and mix all 3 together.. works on every bug, every time... just don't get it in the fish tank...
yes.. it could harm the fish.. but in five years of spraying every 4-6 weeks, ive not yet killed fish with sprays.