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Cryptolaemus montrouzieri

Cryptolaemus was one of the first discoveries in the science of biological control. This little beetle known as "the australian ladybird" was first exported from Australia to California in 1891 to control citrus mealybug

Both the adults and the juveniles (larvae) eat all stages of Mealybug, and they can also eat aphid and scale if there are not enough mealybug around. In the UK it is used only in the warmth of conservatories or glasshouses, as it is not normally warm enough outside, and also the adult ladybirds tend to fly away. It needs warmth and light to work efficiently, so it is best introduced from April onwards, unless you live in the south and west where the spring is earlier. Cryptolaemus settle best when there are quite a large number of Mealybugs to attract them.

Unfortunately Cryptolaemus can be killed or damaged by insecticides, so its best to stop using these well before they are introduced. Soft soap can be used to wash off the plants if you are waiting for warm weather.

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Introducing Cryptolaemus

Cryptolaemus are sent to you as larvae, or a mix of larvae and adults. The larvae will also eat the mealybugs. They are voracious feeders, and if they can't find enough food, they will eat each other! The advantage of using larvae is that they are not so dependent on light levels and do not need to sit in the sun to warm up before beginning to work. Cryptolaemus adults look like brown ladybirds. Their larvae are white however and look very like mealybugs themselves with a white waxy coat. In the trio below you can see mealybug on the left, adults being released in the middle, and cryptolaemus larvae on the right. They are about 1cm long, with a white waxy coat, and they are slightly larger and more active than their prey.

Ordering your Cryptolaemus

Your cryptolaemus are posted to you directly from the breeders, in Kent, to minimise the losses that occur in transit. Standard pack of 10 gives good coverage for an average conservatory where the problem is not severe. The large pack is needed where the infestation is advanced or the area larger. When you get your tube release the contents gently onto the mealybug wool - they can smell their prey and won't get lost!
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Standard Pack 10 insects
18.95 inc P&P

Large pack 25 insects
26.95 inc P&P