Organic Controls for Garden Pests
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Sciarid Fly and Shore Fly

The adult sciarid flies live on and around the compost surface of pots, more commonly indoors rather than outside. The flies themselves are an unsightly nuisance but most of the damage is caused actually by their young.

The small white larvae live in the compost and feed on the tender roots of plants and cuttings. In our own nursery we have seen them nibbling at the edges of banana seeds, and preventing germination.

Shore flies live in or on algal scum or very wet, decomposing organic matter and are common in greenhouses and outdoor areas where conditions are damp. They are commonly found buzzing around compost heaps. Their larvae do cause damage, but they are not nearly such a threat as the sciarid fly larvae. Adults are thought to carry pathogens such as fusarium. They are susceptible to the same controls as sciarid fly.

Biological Controls

There are two possibilities for biological control of sciarid. Both attack sciarid larvae. One is a predatory mite which crawls over the soil looking for prey, and the other is a nematode which is watered on, and which attacks the sciarid larvae underground. The mites have the advantage that they can crawl into crevices and onto surfaces that the nematodes can't reach. They are also good as a preventative measure, as they can survive with little food, or alternative food. On the other hand the nematodes are more effective if the sciarid population is high. Use both in a two-pronged attack!

Predatory Mites

These are tiny brownish crawling beneficial mites (Hypoaspis miles) which eat eggs and larvae of Sciarid flies. The soil temperature needs to be above 12C, and they will be even more effective if the soil is warmer than that. Use as soon as possible after receipt, and within 48 hours. Store at 15-20 C until use. Keep out of direct sunlight. For more information about hypoaspis mites click here

Small tub 10,000 mites
23.95 inc P&P

Large tub 25,000 mites
42.95 inc P&P

These are tiny transparent worms (eelworms) which live in the soil. These nematodes are active at temperatures as low as 5C, but they are more effective at 10C.
The nematodes which parasitise sciarid fly larvae are Steinernema feltiae and you can find these both in the "leatherjacket" nematode packs and the general "Fruit and Veg" nematode packs For more information about nematodes in general click here

Small Pack - 15sqm
11.95 inc P&P

Large Pack - 100sqm
24.95 inc P&P