At what time of year should I use Biological Controls?
The general rule is that the natural predators and parasites divide broadly into two camps - insects and nematodes. Insects need warmth and light and do best in daytime temperatures above 15°C (60°F) with day length more than 11 hours or artificial light. Nematodes live in the soil and so don't need the light. They are effective at 10 degrees and even lower. Having considered the best environment for the predator, the next thing to consider is when the prey is active. You need to check out the life cycle of the pest - please consult the individual pages on the product or pest you are looking at for more information.
What happens once the Biological Control has eradicated the pests?
Given satisfactory conditions, the beneficial predator or parasite population will continue to grow as long as there are pests to feed on. As they are generally highly selective in their diet, once they have cleared up the pest problem they will either die off, or fly off to search for food elsewhere. There are a few exceptions, but as a general rule growers will introduce a new batch of predators every year.
How do I know which pests I have?
Because each control is very specific, correct identification of the pests is essential. Check your plants regularly to ensure that you are aware of any problems and can order Biological Controls as early as possible. Sticky deposits and black sooty mould are danger signals and require investigation. It could be due to whitefly, greenfly, scale or mealybug infestations. If you are stuck in identifying your pest try our What Pest? pages or contact us to tell us a bit about what you are experiencing.
How much do I need?
The nematode packs are sized by the sq metres of coverage. The insect packs are more difficult to size because it depends on the size of your plants, as well as the number of prey. As a general rule of thumb the smallest size is suitable for a small greenhouse or conservatory.
Is there anything I can do now, before my Biological Controls arrive?
Reducing pest numbers will decrease the time needed to eradicate the problem. Squashing them or spraying them with Organic Pest Control Spray where possible will leave lower numbers of remaining pests to be dealt with. SB Plant Invigorator kills insects on contact and is therefore equally harmful to beneficial insects and pests alike. However they do not have any lingering residual harmful effect once dry. Chemical sprays should not be used for at least 4 weeks before introducing beneficial insects as most chemicals have long lasting residual effects.
Can I store my products if I don't want to use them straight away?
It is best always to use live product as fresh as possible. However if you are ordering nematodes they can be kept in the fridge for about 7 days if necessary. Store them in the front of the salad compartment so there is no danger of them freezing. There is a notional "expiry date" on the pack under the sleeve for guidance, so you can see how fresh it is.
For insects that are active, there will be a recommended storage temperature on the label and you need to check this carefully - this is the best temperature to slow them down without killing them. There is also an expiry date on the packaging too - but active insects are really best released as soon as possible.
Cards and sachets are not quite so temperamental and you can store them for a few days if you really have to - again check the temperature guidance carefully because it varies.
When will we deliver ?
We order in live product on the basis of what our customers order the previous week. There may be between 1 day and 8 days lead time, depending on the product.
However occasionally our suppliers let us down - most of the product is bred and not manufactured so there a lot of uncertainties. If this is the case we will contact you.
Can't I pay extra and get it quicker ?
Live insects cannot be kept "in stock", because they would not be fresh. Often insects stored in tubes eat each other! Fresh packs arrive with us every Wednesday or Thursday, based on the orders received the previous week, and we send them out straight away. So order before 1pm on Monday if you need your order the same week (some items such as ladybirds have an even longer lead time).
Nematodes also need to be ordered by Monday morning to be sure of a delivery the same week. Nematodes however can be stored in our refrigerator for a few days and sent out to you on a weekday convenient to you. Please use the comments box if you would like a specific day and we will do our best to meet this.
Other products such as sticky traps have a long shelf life so we can keep a stock. They can normally be sent out any weekday
Do your prices include delivery?
All the prices shown on the fast order form include postage and packing within the UK by Royal Mail First Class Post.
Do you deliver outside the UK?
We do not deliver outside the UK with the exception of the Republic of Ireland. The reason for this decision is that a good proportion of european courier deliveries, and Air Mail, arrived late or went astray last year. We ARE continuing to deliver to the Republic of Ireland by Air Mail because this service is more reliable, and we have many valued and loyal customers from the Republic. However beware of ordering very vulnerable items such as lacewings and ladybirds for ROI - if they are late they may die in transit and this would be at your own risk.
Do I have to order online?
Ordering online is quick and simple but if you prefer you can phone through your order, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, and we will be happy to help.
How should I store the product ?
If you have ordered a live product, (flying insects, cocoons, eggs, larvae) you should use it as soon as possible. Open the packet immediately and if you can't use the product straight away then check the optimum storage temperature for the creatures inside. Some insects can be stored in a warm part of the fridge, other insects need to be stored at a slightly higher temperature - there will be a thermometer symbol on the tube or vial and you should be guided by this.
Nematodes should be stored in the fridge, not in the ice box, which will slow them right down and help them remain at their best for longer.
Please don't order more than you need and aim to "save some for later". The fresher the product, the more effective it will be.
What if I am out?
Nematode packs are delivered in packs which may fit through your letter box, but often the package might be larger, especially if you order several things at once. The postman will usually have the local knowledge to know where to leave a parcel if no-one answers the door. If your products do end up at the Post Office please collect them straight away.
Can I send to a different address?
Yes, follow the instruction at the checkout.