I have tried insecticidal soap, alcohol, both mixed together, and regular
insecticide that was supposed to kill mealy bugs, and my aunt's method using
sevin dust. I still have mealy bugs in my moss rose. Does anyone know of
any wy to get rid of these critters that I haven't tried? Hopefully one
A batch of ladybugs would be less expensive than most of the solutions
you've already tried. :-( I bought a batch online a couple seasons back --
they cleared up the aphid problem right quick and I can't say as I saw many
other pest insects. We also bought some other insects while we were at it
(mantids, silver lacewings, etc.) that have hung around. I think the total
on the order was something like 30 bucks including shipping. I tried to
find where I bought them but it looks like I did not bookmark it. :-(
Have you found any ladybugs floating about the yard? You could always catch
a few and "relocate" them to your moss rose. ;)
With colder weather coming on I'd imagine this will not be much of an issue
(unless you're in a warm climate of course).
Hey Shell -- Someone on another group recommended the following as places to
www.natpestco.com $7.60 for 1500 ladybugs plus $11 freight
www.buglogical.com $10.85 for 1500 (also recommends Cryptolaemus and Green
www.gardensalive.com $13.99 for about 900 (claims their ladybugs are better
As far as Cryptolaemus goes, here's what buglogical.com has to say about
The most comonly used natural enemy of mealybugs are Crypts which are in the
ladybug group of beetles. They are predators of mealybugs.
Crypt eggs are laid among mealybug colonies and hatch in 5-6 days at 81
degrees F. The four larval stages have wolly appendages of wax and resemble
mealybugs. True legs are barely visible under the larvae.
The larval stages feed on mealybugs and live for a total of 12 - 17 days.
The last larval stage can be longer than 1.3 cm (1/2 inch). Crypts pupate in
sheltered places on stems or on greenhouse structures. Adults emerge after
7-10 days and also feed on mealybugs. Adult Crypts are dark brown with
orange heads and tails, and are about 4mm (1/6 inch) long. Adults mate, and
within 5 days females will begin to lay eggs (a total of 400-500 eggs in
thir 50-day lifetime.) The life cycle requires about 31 days at 81 degrees F
and 45 days and 70 degrees F.
Adults and young larvae prefer to feed on mealybug eggs, but the older
larvae will feed on any mealybug stage. The adults can fly and cover large
areas to search for food. If food is scarce, crypts will fly off in search
of other related insects such as aphids and soft scales. A single larva can
consume 250 small mealybugs.
Apply 5 Crypts per infested plant or 2-5 Crypts per square yard. In orchards
release 1,000 - 2,000 per acre for mature fruit trees. Crypts are most
effective when mealybug populations are high. Repeated relaeases are
Green Lacewings are good for a few pest insects. They'll eat aphids,
mealy-bugs, spider mites, leafhopper nymphs, caterpillar eggs, scales,
thrips, and white-flies as well as others (as long as the bodies are
relatively soft and slow moving).
Myself, I used a regimen of lacewings, praying mantis, and ladybugs a few
summers back to control our problem insects. It's worked very well although
I think I might need to add a few more to the population (they've spread out
a bit and I think the birdies have been doing their part in the food
The use of beneficial insects is not terribly complex -- the only
requirements are that you STOP using pesticides and pick a season that is
suitable to the species of beneficial you select (this of course depends
primarily on your climate). For example, I'll be waiting until late spring
2004 to begin rejuvenating most of our local populations as we're in zone 6
and we're heading into the winter. The spring thrust will be praying
mantids and lacewings. On the ladybugs I'll probably wait until the
summer -- we've a pretty decent population here still so it might not be
necessary to add more and I want to give it the spring to be sure.
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