The next group of beneficial insects to be covered are the scale destroyers. Scale insects have been a constant insect pest despite all of the spraying that we do for them, this is because when we spray, we are killing off the harmful scales, as well as the natural predators that are feeding.
First on the list of scale parasites is the golden chalcid (Aphytis melinus). This mini wasp lays it's eggs under hard shelled or armored scales. When the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel through the scales, eating as they go, and emerge out of the top of the scale. The main targets are California red scale, Citrus red scale, Oleander scale, San Jose scale, Ivy and yellow scale.The adults live approximately 26 days and feed on honeydew. 4-6 wasps are recommended to be released per yard monthly as needed depending on the infestation size.
The second parasitoid is the soft scale parasitoid (Metaphycus helvolus). This is another mini wasp who lay their eggs in or under the scale and the larvae eat their way through the scale.The adult female also control scales by sucking the body fluids out of the host with her ovipositor (a hollow tube that is used to insert her eggs into the host). Release 1-2 per yard monthly as needed for prevention starting in the spring. This parasitoid can provide long term control if the right scale is present.
Third on the list of scale controls is the singular black lady beetle aka The Scale Destroyer (Rhyzobius iophanthae). This is a very opportunistic beetle that will consume a variety of soft scales. Both the adult form and the larval form are fierce predators of scale. Release 2-7 per yard tri-weekly depending on infestation size. 2-3 releases are recommended per year.
The next scale predator is the scale picnic beetle ( Cybocephalus nipponicus). These beetles feed primarily on Euonymus scale, but they will also feed on San Jose scale, Juniper scale, Pin needle scale and others. These beetles feed slowly, so control of heavy infestations will take a little time. Release 20-30 beetles per yard annually. For best results make several small releases, 5-10 beetles, near the infested plants every three weeks during the growing season.
Finally, for mealy bug control is the mealy bug destroyer aka Crypts (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri). The larvae of the these beetles closely resemble their prey, and can be easily confused for them. The difference is that the crypts larvae is over 2 times the size of the mealy bug prey. Both the adult and larvae are voracious predators of Citrus mealy bug, Solenopsis mealy bug and the Long tailed mealy bug. Release 2-8 per yard into the infested areas every three weeks starting in the spring.
If you have any questions regarding beneficial insects, please do not hesitate to contact me at 631-691-2381, 631-404-6802 or at firstname.lastname@example.org