Agro Homeopathy Homeopathy Papers

Homeopathic and Other Natural Solutions to Plant and Crop Pests

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Homeopathic and Other Natural Solutions to Plant and Crop

Index

  • Bacillus thuringiensis

Aphids, Mealy bugs & Scale

Brassicae

  • Chrysopa carnea
  • Chrysopida
  • Syrphina larva

Cucurbitae

  • Coccinella
  • Coccus
  • Dicyphus
  • Tiphia vernalis

Rosaceae

  • Tanacetum vulgare
  • Deraeocoris nebulosus

Labiatae

  • Teucrium marum

Leguminosae

  • Camphora

Vitaceae

  • Ricinus communis

Mites

Brassicae

  • Bovista
  • Ricinus communis
  • Trombidium
  • Campylomma
  • Euseius tularensis

Gall wasps

Ornamentals

Ants & Termites

  • Artemisia vulgaris
  • Camphora

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Bacillus thuringiensis

A soil bacterium. Bacillus thuringiensis. NO Bacillae. Tincture of the commercial brew.

CLINICAL

Caterpillars. Beetles, flies and fly larvae, such as whitefly, cabbage moth and cabbage fly, carrotfly.

GENERAL

The introduction of the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis looked at first to be very promising. It appeared to kill serious pests, like caterpillars, beetles and fly larvae, while being non-toxic to humans, spiders and other predators. By transferring the genes and encoding these in crop plants, it was assumed that the plants themselves would be the insecticides. Hence ‘no-spray’ cotton, potatoes, tomatoes, soybeans or corn, cultivated in what was thought to be the Utopian farm.

At this moment it has to be admitted that what first looked so promising, is rapidly proving to be a lot less rosy. A handful of pests have already developed resistance against the ‘pesticide plant’, something the scientists had predicted would never happen. And, according to the latest laboratory reports, many other pests, like the Colorado beetle and some species of budworm, have the potential to become resistant in the near future. The worry is really that by putting toxic genes into crops, the evolution of ‘super-bugs’, resistant to an array of transgenic toxins, might be sped up much faster than previously thought. Such was the case at the change of the Century.

It is an observable fact that in the last 50 years developments in pest control have followed the same patterns, governed by the assumption that resistance could be overcome by either more or stronger versions of the same substances. The trend has now shifted to genetic engineering, backed by the same fallacious philosophy. Although bacterial toxins are a lot more selective in what they kill, the burgeoning business they have generated, is exactly what fans the worry about resistance. In the 1980s their sales have increased more than fourfold, to the tune of over US $100 million. Although farmers have been abundantly spraying Bt, as it is called, for over 20 years, without there ever being any evidence of resistant insects, that picture is fast being demolished. Some scientists have always been sceptics. Whenever there is a new insecticide, people think of reasons why it is impossible for insects to become resistant to it. Others just assume they are going to become resistant, which is a safer and more realistic viewpoint.

As early as 1985 the first resistant moths, taken from grain storage bins in the Midwestern US turned up. Then in 1990, scientists came across another moth, the diamondback, on Hawaiian cabbage and watercress. Consequently, resistant diamondbacks have been found as far afield as Florida, New York State, Japan and mainland Asia. Roughly a dozen breeding experiments have only confirmed that a wide range of insects has the capacity to develop resistance. On top of that, the toxins lose their potency in a couple of days after spraying, because of sunlight, which breaks them down rapidly. Thus the protection they provide is only very temporary.

Transgenic cotton, potatoes and soybeans are already a fact and so are tomatoes, while maize should follow shortly. While it looks as though this scenario is needed, to get rid of pests, the risk of resistant survivors passing on their resistance to their progeny increases with every generation. If it were not for transgenic plants, there would not be such an urgent need to deal with the resistance problem. Other critics accuse Monsanto, the producer of Bt, of dragging its feet. It is the old style of working – it is studied to death. By the time resistance appears it is too late. Scientists have to pay attention to clues that it is coming, or the battle is lost. It is scientific suicide to sit back and say, let’s wait and see what is going on. At the same time, because of the complexities of the subject, scientists know little about which of their tactics might work. Scientists can model and discuss or try to run lab experiments, but it appears that they all agree that this is insufficient to come up with an answer that will allay the fears of the farmers

Only a few countries that came into its program in the latter years still have benefit from its use. The Bt transgenic plants have been shelved and the battle has returned to more conventional chemicals and other genetic changes.

Bt has a disadvantage that is all the more glaring, considering its limited period of usefulness. This is due to the dosage, which is aiming at a knock-out effect. While such may work the first few times, after a period the pest begins to develop resistance, simply because it must somehow perform its job – rebalancing the unnatural spacing caused by interfering humans.

Control can never be achieved completely, simply because in nature there is also no complete control. Each species of plant has to sacrifice 5% of its numbers to maintain the insect populations, which are necessary once the balance is lost, to restore it. Naturally each farmer must be satisfied with the fact that 5% of his crop is lost to disease, damage from storms and insects or other influences.

Bt in potency has none of the disadvantages of the crude, since it is on the level of the subtle that the potencies work. The energy levels of a monoculture crop are possibly measurable. How they can be measured we do not yet know, but we can conceptualise different ways in which such could be done. A radionics machine or NMR might provide us with the necessary parameters. We can also conceive of Kirlian photography as a possible means, since the ‘aura’ of the plants ought to differ after the administration of the remedy. Until such has been attempted and definitively proven, we shall leave this speculation for what it is and restrict ourselves to the remark that dynamic processes are difficult of measurement.

Minimum dose means the smallest possible amount. All effects produced in nature are always caused by the smallest possible amount of energy. Nature does not like waste, therefore the waste of material doses will create the opposite effects of what we want to achieve – sooner or later, dependent on the sensitivity of the entities involved and the volatility of the product used. With volatility we mean here the severity of the effect produced.

Of course it is to be expected that insects develop resistance, since the method to get rid of them is the wrong method. Homoeopathic remedies do not have the disadvantage of resistance development, simply because they are not aimed at the insect, but at the plant. If we were to seek to destroy the insects with our remedies, everyone who would use them would soon find the same resistance problem rearing its ugly head. The advantage of the homoeopathic approach is found in the fact that the insect is interesting only as a symptom and never as something that needs to be killed to be rid of.

Bombyx processiona

Procession caterpillar. Bombyx processiona. NO Lepidoptera. Tincture of the live caterpillars.

CLINICAL

Caterpillars, vegetable loopers, sawfly larvae, army worms, cabbage moths and other caterpillars.

GENERAL

The true bombyx is not a very large caterpillar and is today known as the white cedar moth, Leptocheria reducta. It is about 45 mm long, dark brown, with yellow head and masses of long grey and black hairs, which on contact cause skin irritation.

Clarke mentions that: “in one case a boy shook a large number of caterpillars from a tree on his naked chest. It caused an itching so severe, that he had to run for assistance. Then fever, somnolency, delirium and finally death ensued.”

(Clarke, 1991)

The caterpillars live in colonies at the base of the tree during the day and feed on the foliage at night. After denuding the tree, they walk in a single file to the next, which behaviour accounts for their name. They produce two generations per year.

Rodale’s periodical relates the case of a commercial peanut and soybean farmer (1976). He prepared a crude product from vegetable loopers. Control was very successful. Another report from 1978 mentioned sawfly larvae being used in a similar fashion.

Bombyx in potency has been used to treat most caterpillars on most crops as a generic remedy. Both as a spray and in the trickle system it is effective. In both cases the plants become immune to caterpillar infestations.

RELATIONS

Compare: Cantharis Sambucus, Val., Vib

Aphids, Mealy bugs & Scale

Brassicae

Chrysopa carnea

Gauzefly. Chrysoperla =Chrysopa carnea, C. rufilabris Neuroptera: Chrysopidae. NO Hymenopterae. Family Chrysopidae. Genus Aphidius. Species Chrysopa carnea. Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm. Aphid infestations of all types on nearly all types of plants. Chrysopa prefers Brassicae, but will take aphids from almost any plant.

GENERAL

Common Green Lacewing C. carnea.

These green lacewings are common in much of North America. Adults feed only on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew, but their larvae are active predators. C. carnea occurs in a wide range of habitats in northeastern, midwestern and western U.S., and C. rufilabris may be more useful in areas where humidity tends to be high (greenhouses, irrigated crops, southeastern and midwestern U.S.).

Appearance

Adult green lacewings are pale green, about 12-20 mm long, with long antennae and bright, golden eyes. They have large, transparent, pale green wings and a delicate body. Adults are active fliers, particularly during the evening and night and have a characteristic, fluttering flight. Oval shaped eggs are laid singly at the end of long silken stalks and are pale green, turning gray in several days. The larvae, which are very active, are gray or brownish and alligator-like with well-developed legs and large pincers with which they suck the body fluids from prey. Larvae grow from <1 mm to 6-8 mm.

Habitat (Crops)

Cotton, sweet corn, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, asparagus, leafy greens, apples, strawberries, and other crops infested by aphids.

Pests Attacked

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Life Cycle

These two species of green lacewings overwinter as adults, usually in leaf litter at the edge of fields. During the spring and summer, females lay several hundred small (<1 mm) eggs on leaves or twigs in the vicinity of prey. Larvae emerge in 3-6 days.

The larval stage has three instars and lasts two to three weeks. Mature third instars spin round, parchment-like, silken cocoons usually in hidden places on plants. Emergence of the adults occurs in 10 to 14 days. The life cycle (under 4 weeks in summer conditions) is heavily influenced by temperature. There may be two to several generations per year.

Relative Effectiveness

These lacewing larvae are considered generalist beneficials but are best known as aphid predators. The larvae are sometimes called aphid lions, and have been reported to eat between 100 and 600 aphids each, although they may have difficulty finding prey in crops with hairy or sticky leaves.

Natural populations of Chrysoperla have been recorded as important aphid predators in potatoes, but mass releases of lacewings have yet to be evaluated against aphids in commercial potato production. In small scale experiments outside the United States, lacewings achieved various levels of control of aphids on pepper, potato, tomato, and eggplant, and have been used against Colorado potato beetle on potato and eggplant. On corn, peas, cabbage, and apples, some degree of aphid control was obtained but only with large numbers of lacewings. Mass releases of C. carnea in a Texas cotton field trial reduced bollworm infestation by 96%, although more recent studies show that C. carnea predation on other predators can disrupt cotton aphid control.

C. carnea is considered an important aphid predator in Russian and Egyptian cotton crops, German sugar beets, and European vineyards. The North Carolina State University Center for IPM considers it an important natural enemy of long-tailed mealybug, one of the 5 most important pests of NC interiorscapes.

Several strains of C. carnea occur in North America. Matching of the proper strain to specific pest management situations is desirable.

Pesticide Susceptibility

C. carnea appears to have some natural tolerance to several chemical insecticides although there may be considerable variation. Populations tolerant of pyrethroids, organophosphates, and carbaryl have been selected in the laboratory.

Conservation

Because young larvae are susceptible to dessication, they may need a source of moisture. Adult lacewings need nectar or honeydew as food before egg laying and they also feed on pollen. Therefore, plantings should include flowering plants, and a low level of aphids should be tolerated. Artificial foods and honeydew substitutes are available commercially and have been used to enhance the number and activity of adult lacewings. These products may provide sufficient nutrients to promote egg laying, but they cannot counter the dispersal behavior of newly emerged adult lacewings.

Commercial Availability

C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabris for humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs. Naturally, in potency such restrictions as to environment do not have any significance, because the remedy is not subject to environmental circumstances to enable its effectiveness.

‘All aphid parasites are Hymenoptera or wasps in the broad sense and belong to two Families; the Aphidiidae, which are the most important and are all aphid parasites and the Aphelinidae, which also parasitise other insects such as scale and whiteflies.

The Aphidiidae include many important genera; Aphidius, Praon, Ephedrus, Lysiphlebus, Monoctus and Trioxys. The adults are small, slender wasps with black, brown, orange or yellow colouration.’

(Hussey N.W. Biological Pest Control)

While in nature the wasp oviposits the aphid and still takes a few days to hatch, the remedy will immediately act and thus time is gained against the aphid devastation. For the different instars of the parasitic wasp do not interfere with the development of the aphid. Only at the 4th instar does the predator become active enough to stop the aphid’s development and life.

The remedy made from the parasitic wasps do not have this delay in action, nor are they dependent on a particular instar of the aphid to do its work. Several parasitic wasps prefer or even need a particular instar of their prey to oviposit their eggs.

Another drawback to using parasitic wasps lies in the fact that although the adult female may make several hundred ovipositions during its life, only a small proportion will reach adulthood. Even under laboratory conditions only 100 will be produced, of which 60 might be female. Because development takes about two weeks, the maximum population increase rate can be calculated as approximately 4.5 x a week. In the greenhouse practise of every day, the rates are considerably lower.

These drawbacks do not exist with the homoeopathic potencies, which do not require breeding time, have no influence from the lifecycle of the pest or the weather conditions and are thus applicable at the time the infestation is acute. The immediate response is another feature with which the remedy shows superiority over even IPM.

Chrysopida

Chrysopida. Gauzefly. NO Hymenopterae. Trituration of the live fly. Tincture of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Aphid infestations. Scale

GENERAL

Aphid infestations on the plant or crop. These gauzeflies subsist mainly on aphids. They are generally active at dawn and dusk. They can be recognised by their glass-like wings, which contain greenish or yellowish veins.

It can be given at the time of infestation or as a preventative measure, protecting the plant before such infestations occur. It gives protection during the entire lifecycle of the plant in annuals and biennuals.

While it is true that live insects can be cultivated to do the work, it is often difficult on account of the unpredictability of pest infestations. Therefore, it is also costly, since the insects may not be available at the moment of need or the breeder of predators does not sell any, since there are no infestations during its own lifecycle. Moreover, the adult predator migrates away from the aphid, even when there are plenty available.

The solution presented is the best possible alternative, since the lifecycle of the predator or of the pest no longer plays any role in the eradication – the remedy is always available and works at all times, under all circumstances.

With commercially available poisons, control needs 5-6 treatments at intervals of 8-10 days during the entire summer. With the build-up of resistance, this has to be increased to 6-10 treatments at intervals of every week. The costs are astronomical.

With IPM, three successive batches of cocoons have to be introduced at intervals of 5 days, at a ratio of 1 cocoon to 25 aphids. Many times, the parasite larvae are incapable of controlling the aphid populations, since these can explode at 30 x their rate every day, in hot and dry weather. This also requires additional parasites, to achieve effective control and makes it rather expensive to use. While control is often very effective, provided the development of aphid and parasite are parallel, equally often a change in weather can cause population explosions requiring more parasites.

Homoeopathic remedies can be applied at all times and prevent re-infestation, even when optimal conditions are present. IPM does not prevent re-infestation and will have to be applied again, thus raising the cost for the grower.

Syrphina larva

Hover fly. NO Diptera: Syrphidae Syrphus spp., Allograpta spp. Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Aphid infestations; also as prophylactic

APPEARANCE

Aphid infestations. Plants covered in aphids. When Syrphina is sprayed or given directly to the plant, the aphids have either died by the next day or have fled. Notwithstanding their protection by ants, these cannot fight off a non-existing enemy and therefore the aphids will disappear.

GENERAL

Syrphina is a green, yellow or brown coloured glider, the larvae of which like aphids almost as much as Coccinella larvae do. When the soil is cultivated, the larvae which survive underground, are promptly killed. During the insect season the use of the remedy is therefore indispensible, if the farmer is not to succumb to pests.

Adults are 10 to 12 mm long marked with yellow, black, or white bands resembling bees or small yellowjackets. They fly swiftly and tend to hover over plants (also call hover or flower flies). Adults feed only on pollen, nectar, or honeydew produced by aphids. Larvae are about 12 mm long, wrinkled or slug-like, and tapered to a point anteriorly. They are usually brown or green with whitish areas. Eggs are chalky-white with faint longitudinal ridges and are laid singly among aphid colonies.

Lifecycle

Syrphid flies overwinter as pupae in the soil. Adults begin emerging in April and May about the same time as aphid populations begin to increase. They lay eggs on leaves and stems of plants infested with aphids or other suitable prey. Eggs hatch in 3 to 4 days into soft-bodied maggot-like larvae. Larvae feed for 7 to 10 days, then drop to the soil to pupate.

A life cycle from egg to adult is completed in 16 to 28 days and there are three to seven overlapping generations each year.

Importance

Larvae feed on soft-bodied insects, particularly aphids. As many as 400 aphids may be consumed by one larva during its development period. Larvae seize aphids with their mouth hooks and suck out the body contents. These predators are common in most field and vegetable crops and may be important in suppressing aphid populations if unnecessary applications of non-selective insecticides are avoided.

Two common species of syrphid flies occur in the northwest: the western syrphid, Syrphus opinator and Scaeva pyrastri, and both species are commonly found in mint fields.

Cucurbitae

Coccinella

Lady bird. Sunchafer. Coccinella septempunctata. Chrysopa septempunctata. NO Coleoptera. Genus Chrysopids. Tincture of the freshly crushed beetles.

CLINICAL

Aphids. Scale. Whitefly

GENERAL

Sevenspotted Lady Beetle

The sevenspotted lady beetle, repeatedly introduced to North America from Europe for the biological control of aphids, was established in the early 1970s in New Jersey, apparently from an accidental introduction. It has since spread naturally or been introduced to many northeastern and north central states. C. septempunctata may be a more effective predator than some native lady beetle species, displacing them in some areas.

Appearance

Comparatively large (7-8 mm) with a white or pale spot on either side of the head. The body is oval, and has a domed shape. The spot pattern is usually 1-4-2, black on the orange or red forewings. Lady beetle larvae are dark and alligator-like with three pairs of prominent legs, growing to 7-8 mm in length. Eggs are spindle shaped and small, about 1 mm long.

Habitat (Crops)

Aphid infested crops, including potatoes, legumes, sweet corn, alfalfa, wheat, sorghum, and pecans.

Pests Attacked

Reported prey include pea, cowpea, green peach, potato, corn leaf, melon aphids, and greenbug.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in protected sites near the fields where they feed and reproduce. In spring, emerging beetles feed on aphids before laying eggs. Females may lay from 200 to more than 1,000 eggs over a one to three month period commencing in spring or early summer. Eggs are usually deposited near prey such as aphids, often in small clusters in protected sites on leaves and stems. The eggs are small (about 1 mm) and spindle-shaped.

C. septempunctata larvae grow from about 1 mm to 4-7 mm in length over a 10 to 30 day period depending on the supply of aphids. Large larvae may travel up to 12 m in search of prey. A second generation may appear about a month later. The pupal stage may last from three to 12 days depending on the temperature.

In the northeastern United States, there are one to two generations per year before the adults enter winter hibernation. Development from egg to adult may take only two to three weeks, and adults, most abundant in mid- to late summer, live for weeks or months, depending on the location, availability of prey, and time of year.

Conservation

C. septempunctata is spreading to new areas each season. Conservation can best be accomplished by following integrated pest management guidelines as outlined in the tutorial of this guide.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Aphids attack grains, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

They are 1-2mm long in general, although larger species also exist (4-5mm). Different species have different colours, green, blue, pink, deep yellow, lemon-coloured, grey, white or black. Some species have wings. Others have a winged and a wingless stage. When over-crowding occurs, they grow wings, flying to other plants or other parts of the same plant. Near the end of the body two tubes protrude, called cornicles, a feature particular to aphids. Aphids are viviparous, ie. bearing live young, resulting in possible population explosions.

Coccinella either sprayed directly on the aphid or when given to the plant, rapidly diminishes the populations. Aphids pierce and suck, drawing sap from plants, preferably young shoots and buds, the latter producing deformed flowers. Some aphids form galls, attacking root system as well. Others carry yellow dwarf virus. Aphids are protected by ants and produce honey dew for them.

Population size depends on temperature and nutrient levels. At 15oC the females produce three young per day, which increases to six at 25oC and with high potassium and/or phosphorus levels can increase to ten. Hence population explosions occur mostly during warm to very warm weather, when humidity is around 40 to 50%.

Coccinella has been used extensively with good results, usually requiring only a single dose. Overdosing will attract aphids to a plant, resulting in repeated aphid infestations.

Coccus

Cochineal. Coccus cacti. NO Hemiptera. Trituration of the dried bodies of the female insect.

CLINICAL

All soft bodied scale.

GENERAL

Coccus, being a soft scale, is specific for treatment of soft scales, because it possesses similar properties. Shellac is an example of a remedy for hard scales, as it is a product of a hard scale species. Coccus has been used on different species of scale living on different trees. Eucalypt scale (wattle tick, soft brown scale), scale on citrus trees, scale on bottle brush disappeared after a single dose. As with Coccinella, care must be taken not to repeat the remedy

There are some twenty types of soft scale, all of which can be treated with this remedy. It is the remaining hard scale that must be treated with Shellac, approximately ten species. Thus each of these remedies is generic to the scale to a certain extent.

Dicyphus

CLINICAL: Whiteflies, aphids, thrip, spider mites. Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), Tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). Dicyphus will feed on two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), Thrips and Moth eggs but will not control these pests.

GENERAL:

Plants

Note: Since Dicyphus is also a plant feeder it should not be used on crops such as Gerbera which can be damaged. This is only relevant if it is used as an Integrated Pest Management tool. In the potency such drawbacks do not exist. Most of the work with Dicyphus has been on vegetable crops such as tomato, pepper and eggplant where it will not cause plant damage by plant feeding.

Description

The predatory bug, Dicyphus hesperus is similar to Macrolophus caliginosus, which is being used in Europe to control whitefly, spider mites, moth eggs and aphids. The use of Dicyphus is being studied by D. Gillespie (Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada Research Station, Agassiz, BC). Dicyphus should not be used on its own to replace other biological control agents. It is best used along with other biological control agents in greenhouse tomato crops that have, or (because of past history) are expected to have. whitefly, spider mite, or thrips problems.

• Eggs are laid inside plant tissue and are not easily seen.

• Adults are slender (6mm), black and green with red eyes and can fly

• Nymphs are green with red eyes

Use in Biological Control

• Release Dicyphus as soon as whiteflies are found, early in the season at a rate of 0.25-0.5 bugs/m2 (10 ft2) of infested area; repeat in 2-3 weeks.

• Release batches of 100 adults together in one area where whitefly is present or add supplementary food (frozen moth eggs: i.e. Sitotroga sp., Ephestia sp.) to these areas weekly.

• Dicyphus needs large numbers of prey (+100) to reproduce, so releases should only be made in areas where pests have been detected or where supplementary food is being added.

• This predator obtains water from plant feeding and can survive for long periods without food but must have insect food to reproduce. Feeding damage to the plant or tomato fruit is superficial and not usually noticeable unless population levels exceed 100 Dicyphus/plant.

• The use of banker plants such as mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and eggplant is useful for increasing Dicyphus numbers as well as monitoring for pests.

Monitoring Tips

• Adults and nymphs move quickly and hide in plant material when approached.

• On mature tomato plants adults and nymphs are often found on the middle leaves.

Tiphia vernalis

Spring Tiphia, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer. NO Trituration of the live insect. Tincture of the live insect in purified alcohol.

tiphiawaspCLINICAL

Grubs of the Japanese beetle.

GENERAL

The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, is a highly destructive insect pest. Damage caused by the feeding larva (grubs) and adults result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the agricultural and ornamental plant industry in the eastern United States annually. Introduced accidentally into the United States in about 1916 near Trenton, New Jersey, the beetle has spread throughout most of the eastern United States, with several outbreak areas well ahead of the main front. Though western states have been successful in eradicating introduced populations of the beetle in the past, and it is not yet widely established in the Midwest, it still presents a major quarantine threat to many of these areas, as well as to many countries outside the United States.

The Japanese beetle is not considered a significant pest in its native Japan, where natural enemies of the beetle, including insect parasitoids (parasites whose offspring eat the host or prey), pathogens, and predators significantly increase the mortality of the beetle. The use of natural enemies by humans to suppress populations of pest insects (and weeds) is called biological control.

Spring Tiphia, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer.

The spring Tiphia wasp, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer, is an effective biological control agent that can be used as part of an overall Integrated Pest Management program to suppress populations of the Japanese beetle. USDA researchers consider it to be the most effective parasitoid of the beetle in the U.S. When used in conjunction with other control strategies that do minimal harm to natural enemies of the Japanese beetle (such as parasitic wasps and nematodes), this wasp can regulate beetle populations at an acceptably low level.

The purpose of this book is to help people and agencies interested in sustainably suppressing populations of the Japanese beetle to establish the spring Tiphia and optimize the wasps’ reproductive potential for maximum control through the use of habitat modification by planting known food plants that the wasps favor.

The spring Tiphia was originally identified as a significant biological control agent of the Japanese beetle in Japan and Korea in the early 1920s. Between 1925-1927 the wasp was released in the nNortheastern US, and became quickly established as a natural enemy of Japanese beetle populations there. Although it will not eradicate the beetle from an area, the spring Tiphia can help keep populations of the beetle low enough to lessen damage to plants and to minimize the potential of accidentally transporting and thus spreading the beetle. The spring Tiphia is especially effective in suppressing outbreak populations of Japanese beetles. In areas with appropriate food plants, the wasp parasitizes an increasing percentage of grub population, thus causing these populations to be diminished over a period of several years.

The suppression of Japanese beetle populations by the spring Tiphia in outbreak areas ahead of, and along the advancing beetle front can minimize the amount of feeding damage caused and also slow the spread of the beetle. Also, by suppressing beetle populations in sensitive areas, such as around airports, parks, and plant nurseries, we can lessen the probability of accidentally transporting and introducing the Japanese beetle to uninfested areas. These natural enemies can be safely used to sustainably suppress populations of the Japanese beetle, especially in environmentally sensitive areas such as those near waterways or in state and federal parks. Once established, the natural enemies remain in the area for as long as the Japanese beetle is present, keeping beetle populations sustainably lower than they would be in their absence.

Description of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp looks very similar to a winged black carpenter ant. The female wasp is heavily set and built for digging in the ground in search of Japanese beetle grubs. Its size can range from ½ to ¾ of an inch long. The male wasp, which spends its adult life flying in search of female wasps, is more slender and is normally only 3/8 of an inch long. It has a tiny hook at the end of its abdomen that is used when mating with the female. The female wasp possesses a stinger and, if handled roughly, can give a mild sting, similar to a sweat bee. However, it is not aggressive towards humans and will not normally sting people.

Distribution of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp was originally released in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1927. It established readily, and redistribution efforts by the USDA from 1927 through 1953 led to the release of the wasp in Maryland, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, District of Columbia and Vermont.

Recent survey work by USDA APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) has shown the spring Tiphia is widely distributed over many parts of the eastern United States. Researchers have found the wasp as far west as Indiana and Tennessee.

Life History of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia normally emerges when bridal wreath spirea are in bloom. After a brief period of feeding and mating, the female wasp begins to hunt for Japanese beetle grubs to parasitize. The female wasp is able to detect the presence of grubs in an area probably by scent, and burrows into the ground in search of a grub. Once she finds a grub in its earthen cell, a brief struggle ensues. The female wasp stings the grub, causing a temporary paralysis that lasts about 30 minutes. She then prepares an area on the underside of the now paralyzed grub between the thorax and abdomen to receive a single egg. She rasps the area with the tip of her abdomen and kneads it with her mandibles, then attaches an egg to this softened spot. By wearing away the membrane of the grub and making it thinner, the wasp larva, which hatches about 7 days later, has little problem piercing the skin of the grub in order to feed. The female wasp can normally parasitize 1 to 2 grubs daily in this manner, and can lay a total of between 40 and 70 eggs over her lifespan of 30 to 40 days.

Parasite egg placement. Spring Tiphia stinging. Tiphia larva feeding.

Once the spring Tiphia wasp egg hatches, the larva begins to feed on the grub, and the grub rapidly becomes weakened and ceases to feed. The wasp larva grows rapidly and consumes the entire body of the grub except for the head capsule in a matter of days. The beetle grub now completely consumed, the wasp larva spins a waterproof brown cocoon in the earthen cell of its former occupant, and enters the pupal stage. Transformation from pupa to adults occurs inside the cocoon in late summer or early fall, and the adult wasps overwinters safe inside its waterproof cocoon until spring. In spring, the adult chews its way out of the cocoon, digs its way to the surface, and emerges from the soil to start the life cycle over again.

Selecting Areas for Release of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp needs three factors for a successful release. They are: 1) An area that contains an abundant supply of its host, (which is the 3rd instar Japanese beetle or Oriental beetle [Anomala orientalis Waterhouse]); 2) Adequate food plants to enable the wasp to realize its reproductive potential; and 3) High and low ground to ensure continuance of the grub population in both wet and dry years. Studies by USDA researchers found that percentage of parasitization was greater for more dense grub populations: 57% for 6 grubs per square foot; 31% for 2 grubs per square foot; and less than 20% for one grub per square foot. However, the authors have found that these percentages could be increased by planting or having additional food plants in the areas where beetle grubs consistently occur, such as golf courses, parks and the areas surrounding airports.

The potential release area can be surveyed to determine how many Japanese beetle grubs per square foot are present. By doing some preliminary survey work, you will be able to select an area that has the most grubs, which will give you the best chance for establishment of the spring Tiphia. Grid off the potential area being considered for release. If you have a large area, such as a golf course or a park, you will want to make several sample sites to determine which has the most grubs. Each potential survey area can be gridded into a 30 foot by 30 foot square grid. Each section in the grid is a 10 foot by 10 foot piece, for a total of 9 ten foot square areas. The overall grid pattern looks like a tic-tac-toe drawing. Take one soil sample from each of the nine squares. Each soil sample should be 1 foot square and 6 to 8 inches deep. Count all the grubs in each soil sample. By looking at the raster pattern on the rear of each grub, you can determine if the grub is a Japanese beetle grub. Do this sampling pattern for each area under consideration for release of the Tiphia wasp.

In a heavy infestation, Japanese beetle larvae can be very numerous under the turf.

Once you have completed the soil sampling for each area, you will know how many grubs per square foot are present. By selecting an area with the highest number of grubs, you will ensure that the spring Tiphia has every advantage in order to become established in the desired area.

Food Plants for Adult Tiphia vernalis

USDA researchers found that, in the northeastern U.S., adult spring Tiphia wasps feed primarily on the honeydew exuded from aphids, scale insects, and leafhoppers. The adult wasps were found feeding on the shaded foliage of maple, elm, cherry, tulip and pine trees, and some broad-leafed shrubs. The wasp will also feed on the nectar of blossoms, such as forsythia, and on the extra-floral nectaries of peonies. However, as the wasps were later redistributed into other parts of the eastern and southern US, the potential exists for them to utilize other plants for food. Research by the author (RCM) while with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) found that Tiphia adults used blooming tulip poplar trees, Liriodendron tulipifera as a food and mating site. Researchers in China have used the knowledge of food plants to increase the rates of Tiphia parasitization of white grubs to an average of 85%. Thus, the potential for using food plants to increase the rates of parasitization of the Japanese beetle by the spring Tiphia is great and should be utilized whenever possible.

Food Plants Known to be Utilized by Adult Tiphia vernalis:

Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera
Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana
Norway Maple Acer platanoides
American Elm Ulmus americana
Forsythia Forsythia x intermedia
Firethorn Pyracantha coccinea
Pine trees Pinus spp.

Determining Tiphia vernalis Parasitization Rates

In order to determine the parasitization rate of the spring Tiphia on the Japanese beetle, soil sampling must be done in a manner similar to that described above. Between 25 and 40 soil samples are normally taken. The timing of the survey work for parasitization rates is of utmost importance. The survey must occur between the time that the spring Tiphia has ceased its egg laying activities, and before the Japanese beetles begin to emerge as adults. Normally, this is a 7 to 10 day period, and usually occurs in early June in North Carolina. Due to the brevity of this period, only a certain amount of sampling can occur each year.

By digging up Japanese beetle grubs and pupae, you can examine each one to determine if the spring Tiphia has been active. You may find grubs, grubs with Tiphia larvae attached, Tiphia cocoons, or Japanese beetle pupae. The number of grubs and pupae that have no sign of spring Tiphia attack are compared to the number of parasitized grubs and Tiphia cocoons found in a particular area. This number will give an indication of the relative amount of parasitization of a particular population of the Japanese beetle.

Another indication of the relative effectiveness of the spring Tiphia is the large numbers of adult wasps seen flying on sunny days. Each wasp seen has developed at the expense of a Japanese beetle grub. Large numbers of these wasps flying about suggests that the parasites may be of much greater benefit than is usually thought. Wasps can be sampled non-destructively by spraying foliage with sugar water and counting the wasps attracted to the bush in a fixed interval.

Rosaceae

Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy. NO Compositae. Tincture of whole flowering plant.

CLINICAL

Flies, worms of any type, Japanese beetles, ants, moths, fleas. Rabies. Nematodes. Peach is most affected by Tanac. Premature fruit drop.

GENERAL

Grows on high ground and pastures.

Tanacetum oil is, according to Hale (quoted by Clarke), identical with Santonin, thus explaining the vermifugal action of Tanac. Besides this, Peyraud (quoted by Clarke) has used tansy as a substitute for vaccinations against rabies. In Russia it is used as a substitute for hops in beer. It has a camphorous odour. Worm expellant in cattle and sheep.

From herbals (Grieve, 1931, Hylton, 1974, and others) it has been found that as a plant it repels flies, Japanese beetles and ants.

In potency it is taken up by the plant and confers thus immunity against some pests. Especially useful to keep ants away from plants infested with aphids, as ladybug larvae can not feed as easily on aphids protected by ants.

Deraeocoris nebulosus

CLINICAL:

Cankerworm, plant-feeding insects and mites.

GENERAL:

Deraeocoris nebulosus (Uhler) is a generalist predator of plant-feeding insects and mites. It is associated with many common pests on more than 50 species of ornamental trees and shrubs (Wheeler et al. 1975). D. nebulosus is found in southern Canada and is widespread in the United States (Henry and Wheeler 1988); it is common in the eastern states (Knight 1941). Reported by Uhler (1876) to be predaceous on a cankerworm, it may have been the first mirid documented as a predator in North America (Wheeler et al. 1975).

Appearance

Adults have ovate, shiny, dark, olive bodies with pale markings, and are 3.5-4.0 mm long and 1.75-2.0 mm wide. The apical half of each forewing is clear with each having a small fuscous dot which helps distinguish D. nebulosus from other species in the genus. Eggs (0.91 mm long, 0.28 mm wide) are laid singly or in groups of two or more in leaf midveins and petioles, with only the operculum, including a respiratory horn, visible (McCaffrey and Horsburgh 1980, Jones and Snodgrass 1998). Nymphs are pale grey, with the early instars having a red tinge and the late instars having red streaks on the legs and a red line between two of the segments on the abdominal dorsum.

Habitat

Deraeocoris nebulosus, collected on more than 75 plant species (Wheeler et al. 1975, Snodgrass et al. 1984), is found in apple orchards (Parrella et al. 1981), peach orchards (Gorsuch et al. 1989), pecan orchards (Mizell and Schiffhauer 1987), cotton fields (Snodgrass 1991) and in landscape plantings (Wheeler et al. 1975).

Pests Attacked (Host Range)

This predator feeds on whiteflies, aphids, psyllids, scales, mites, and lace bugs (Wheeler et al. 1975, pers. obs.). In captivity it tends to cannibalize unless provided with hiding places.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in protected places such as under bark. With onset of warmer weather and appearance of new leaves, eggs are laid in the petioles and midveins. This bug has five nymphal stages. Under laboratory conditions, the nymphal period lasts 19.8 days at 21°C (Wheeler et al. 1975) and 13.3 days at 27°C (Jones and Snodgrass 1998). Females have a mean fecundity of about 240 eggs (Jones and Snodgrass 1998). Three generations per year are reported from Pennsylvania (Wheeler et al. 1975), with more suspected farther south. Adults track a succession of plant species, according to prey availability.

Relative Effectiveness

Wheeler et al. (1975) reported that D. nebulosus consumed an average of 107.6 lace bug nymphs during development and 6.9 nymphs per day as an adult. An adult can consume 4-7 cotton aphids per day and 16-19 tobacco budworm eggs per day (Snodgrass 1991). Little work has been done with D. nebulosus in the field.

Conservation

Use of target-specific pesticides only after a pest reaches an economic threshold will help conserve D. nebulosus.

For general information about conservation of natural enemies, see Conservation in the Tutorial section on this site, or the Volume II, No. 1 Feature Article on conservation in the Midwest Biological Control News Online.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Little work has been done on the susceptibility of D. nebulosus to pesticides. Synthetic pyrethroids show a low toxicity, only up to 10% and 30% susceptible at the low and high rates tested, respectively (Croft and Whalon 1982).

Deraeocoris brevis, a species common in the northwestern United States, is susceptible to many pesticides including azinphosmethly, fenvalerate, diflubenzuron, and organophosphates (Westigard 1973, van de Baan and Croft 1990, Booth and Riedl 1996). D. nebulosus probably is also susceptible to these pesticides.

Commercial Availability

Deraeocoris nebulosus has never been commercially available, though D. brevis was available until early 1998 when it was taken off the market due to labor-intensive rearing methods and decreased demand. Research that is underway to develop mass-rearing methods for D. nebulosus might result in its eventual availability.

Labiatae

Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy.  NO Compositae.  Tincture of whole flowering plant.

album_49CLINICAL

Flies, worms of any type, Japanese beetles, ants, moths, fleas.  Rabies. Nematodes. Peach is most affected by Tanac. Premature fruit drop.

GENERAL

250px-Sawfly_003[1]Grows on high ground and pastures.

Tanacetum oil is, according to Hale (quoted by Clarke), identical with Santonin, thus explaining the vermifugal action of Tanac. Besides this, Peyraud (quoted by Clarke) has used tansy as a substitute for vaccinations against rabies. In Russia it is used as a substitute for hops in beer. It has a camphorous odour. Worm expellant in cattle and sheep.

Calligrapha_leaf_beetle_1From herbals (Grieve, 1931, Hylton, 1974, and others) it has been found that as a plant it repels flies, Japanese beetles and ants.

In potency it is taken up by the plant and confers thus immunity against some pests. Especially useful to keep ants away from plants infested with aphids, as ladybug larvae cannot feed as easily on aphids protected by ants.

Teucrium marum

Cat thyme. Marum verum. Teucrium marum.. NO Labiatae. Tincture of whole fresh plant.

CLINICAL

Thread worm. Cabbage root fly. Moths. Nematodes. Mastitis in cows. Flowering and fruit setting problems.

GENERAL

There exists no other remedy that meets cases of nematodes better than Teucr. Nematodes inhibit plant growth and impede respiration, especially the root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.). In potato tubers the whole of the tuber becomes  lumpy.  Some other remedies like Calendula also can be used for nematode control (see also Sin. alb. and Sin. nig. ).

From the symptoms listed in the Materia Medica references can be drawn in regard to nutrient levels – both nematodes and Teucrium symptoms are identical.

In companion planting the species of Teucrium are not as effective as Ruta, but do confer immunity to pests on plants in potency. All species of thyme have this capacity, the Thymus varieties equally so.

From different herbals (Grieve, 1931, Hylton, 1974) and companion plant books (Hemphill, 1990, Philbrick and Gregg, 1966) it can be learned that dried thyme repels moths in the wardrobe.

Many tests are still to be conducted to establish the full range of Teucrium preparations.

RELATIONS

Compare: Mentha.

Leguminosae

Camphora

Camphor. Cinnamonium camphora. Laurus camphora. NO Lauraceae. Gum obtained from Laurus camphora. Solution in rectified spirit.

CLINICAL

Moths, wood worms, white ants and other pests. Lodging, waterlogging, negative effects of. Cockroaches, ants.

GENERAL

L. camphora grows in South-East Asia and Australia.

Camphor is a white crystalline substance, which is harvested from the tree L. camphora. There are some other odourous volatile products, found in different aromatic plants that have been given the same name. It is found either in longitudinal cavities in the heart of the tree or extracted from the leaves and twigs.

Grieve’s herbal mentions that:

“It is a well known preventive against moths and other insects, such as worms in wood; natural history cabinets are often made of it, the wood of the tree being occasionally imported to make cabinets for entomologists.”

(Grieve, 1931).

As Camphor is a powerful remedy, it should be used with caution, because of severe reactions it produces. It is often prescribed in the lower potencies,

“but those whose knowledge of Camphor is confined to its coarser action will never understand what a great remedy it is when used according to its fine symptomatic indications and given in the higher potencies.” (Clarke, 1991).

Because of its wide range of symptoms and the overlapping of primary and secondary reactions in humans, it is difficult to use there.  In plants it produces enough symptoms to warrant its use in lodging, especially if caused by waterlogging, as Camphor is indicated for diseases arising from cold and damp weather.

The roots feel slimy, the slime being viscid, as is not found on healthy roots.  The plant is excessively thirsty.

The capillary system does not work property, thus interfering with trans-port of sugars to the roots and the uptake of nutrients into the plant.  Respiration and photosynthesis are consequently defective and the plant slowly withers and collapses.

If in the flowering stage, pollination occurs at night, when pollen feeding insects are at rest, thus interfering with fruit-setting.

Termites

Termites belong in the same family as cockroaches and not in that of the ants, as their common name, the white ant, would suggest. They are related to the stonefly as well. They live in colonies, which have, contrary to all other colony dwellers such as ants and bees, not only a queen but also a king. The population is built up out of workers, soldiers and other castes. The soldiers have large heads and strong mandibles, but they are the ones that first scurry into safety when the nest is disturbed, especially so with the subterranean species.

Most species are 4-10mm long, white or cream coloured and soft bodied. The nest is constructed, depending on the species, either underground, in trees or in mounds. Most species either attack living or dead wood, reason why many wooden houses or the stumps on which they are built are a target for the termites.

Some species feed on fungi, which they grow in underground tunnels, while still others feed on turf, fieldcrops and other vegetation, chewing the roots. In spring they may swarm; males and females on the wing emerge in massive numbers from the nest, similar to ants. These mate, drop their wings and set up a new nest as a royal couple.  From the eggs the workers emerge, which build a new nest. In two to three years the egg-production speeds up with more egg laying females. Some queens become too large to move and only lay eggs; some species manage upto 4000 eggs in 24 hours.

In Australia they may attack a large range of trees, mainly of the Eucalypt order and some others. The reduction of native forests has brought them to human dwellings. Camph. is a good remedy against the termite. In the crude form it has been of service for hundreds of years. The camphor tree, Laurocerasus camphora, will remain free of termites, mainly because they do not like the smell. However, it is not only the smell that makes Camph. an excellent remedy against the termite. In the potencies it works just as well, while in such fine dilutions there is little or no question of any smell apparently. On the other hand, pheromones can be much subtler than our gross noses can smell. When we consider the dog to smell 100000 times better than us, it is quite conceivable that insects have finer senses still.

It is also possible that Camph produces a repellant quality discernible to the termite or that the insects are sensitive to the action of Camph. With its prostration and debility in humans, it is an unwanted phenomenon in a termite nest. There is constant work to do with the eggs, the larvae and the food reserves, as well as many other tasks. A sleepy and debilitated state can be the death of the nest. Camphor has been used on timber stock against termites with good results.

Solanaceae

Nasturtium

Tropeolum. NO Cruciferae. Tincture of the seeds/whole plant.

CLINICAL

White aphids, squash bugs, white fly in tomatoes. Nematodes. Mealy bug.

GENERAL

Nasturtium is a companion plant that has the proven ability to protect other species against different species of aphids, according to Hylton, Grieve and others. Thus a homoeopathic dilution ought to be able to confer to plants a type of immunity to aphid infestation.

From experiments with plants it was noted that aphid infestation was only slightly influenced by Nasturtium in the 3x potency. More provings need to be conducted to establish with certainty the effects of the remedy. Experiments carried out on fennel infested with black aphid have been conducted. It deserves tests and provings on a larger variety of plants in different potencies.

Phalangium opilio

Harvestman, Daddy longlegs, Harvest spider NO Arachnida: Opiliones, Phalangiidae

CLINICAL:

Harvestmen will feed on many soft bodied arthropods in crops, including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, mites, and small slugs.

GENERAL:

Of the many species of harvestmen known, P. opilio tends to be the most common in relatively disturbed habitats such as most crops in temperate regions. Like the spiders and most adult mites, harvestmen have two major body sections and eight legs and lack antennae. Unlike spiders, the two body sections of harvestmen are broadly joined and no web spinning organs are present. Harvestmen differ from most mites by their larger size and by having the posterior body section distinctly segmented.

Appearance

The most notable features of P. opilio and many other harvestmen are the long, slender legs and short, globular body. Adult body length is approximately 3.5-9 mm, with males generally smaller than females. The upper surface of the body is colored with an indistinct and variable light gray or brown pattern, and the lower surface is typically light cream. Immatures are similar to adults, only smaller and with legs shorter relative to the body size. Eggs are spherical, about 0.4 mm diameter, with a smooth surface and color changing from off-white to dark gray-brown as they mature. They are laid in clusters of around ten to several hundred.

Habitat (Crops)

Harvestmen are often common in crops such as corn, alfalfa, small grains, potatoes, cabbage, strawberries, and apple in most temperate regions of the world.

Lifecycle

Phalangium opilio has a single generation per year and overwinters as eggs. In parts of North America two or more generations may occur, and eggs, immatures, or adults may overwinter. Eggs are laid in moist areas under rocks, in cracks in the soil, or between the soil and the crowns or recumbent leaves of plants. The eggs hatch in three weeks to five months or more, depending on temperature, and the immatures undergo several molts and reach maturity in two to three months, again depending on temperature.

Relative Effectiveness

Although P. opilio by itself appears unable to keep populations of any pest under control, it serves as one member of a complex of generalist predators that exist in many crops and that together are able to help keep pest densities low. In addition to pest arthropods, P. opilio also may feed on dead insects and other decaying material, as well as earthworms, other harvestmen, spiders and other beneficial invertebrates. Although its generalist feeding habits and tendency for cannibalism may appear to reduce its value in some situations, they may also allow it to persist in the crop during periods of low pest density and help suppress outbreaks of pests in their early stages.

Pesticide Susceptibility

P. opilio is highly susceptible to at least some broad spectrum insecticides, while some more specific products, such as Bts, appear to be less harmful.

Conservation

Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides as much as possible.

Commercial Availability

Not currently available commercially.

Beetles & Weevils

Solanaceae

Cantharis

Spanish fly.  NO Coleoptera.  Trituration of live insect. Tincture of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Sunburn, blisters on leaves and petals. Fertiliser burns, water droplet burns, after bush fires, windburn, sunburn. Bronze orange bug, rust chrysanthemum, pelargonium. Blister beetles on potatoes.

GENERAL

Cantharis upsets the generative sphere of the plant, causing burning. Consequently when the flowers appear burnt in hot weather, Cantharis is the remedy. It causes and cures an abundance of pollination from too long a stamen, readily absorbed by female flowers. Leaves and flower petals blister in the sun, especially after misting. Plant may have a burnt appearance. Fertiliser burns. After bush fires, to speed recovery and regrowth.

APPEARANCE

Burnt as after bushfire. Blisters on leaves and flower petals from fertiliser, water droplets or sunburn.

WATER NEEDS

High. Plant very thirsty. To replace sap lost in fires (Carbo vegetabilis).

FLOWERS AND FRUIT

Flowers abundant. As a reaction to fire, plant triggers off reproduction before it dies. Abundant pollen, good pollination. Fruits fail to mature, and drop before they set.

RELATIONS

Compare: Bombyx, Carbo veg.

Lebia grandis

Lebia beetle. Lebia grandis.  NO Coleoptera: Carabidae.

CLINICAL:

Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata.

GENERAL:

Lebia grandis belongs to a large family of beetles containing approximately 40,000 species. The cosmopolitan genus Lebia contains approximately 450 species that are distributed primarily in the tropics. Forty-eight species occur in North America north of Mexico. The life history is known for less than 10 of the North American species. The adults are predators and first instar larvae are parasitoids of chrysomelid beetles.

Appearance

Lebia  beetles are usually colourful as adults and range in size from 2.5 to 14 mm in length, depending on the species. Lebia grandis is the largest species in the genus in North America. Its body length ranges from 8.5 to 10.5 mm. Its head is usually pale (with a reddish tinge) as are its mouthparts, antennae, and thorax. Its abdomen is mostly black with a metallic blue, purple, or sometimes greenish lustre to the elytra (wing covers). Its legs are entirely pale with a reddish tinge.

Lebia grandis first instar larvae are pale to tan in coloration, heavily sclerotized (hardened), with well developed appendages, mouthparts and antennae, as is typical for carabid larvae. The body length ranges from 3 to 4 mm and the width is approximately 0.5 mm. The second instar larvae undergo a gradual degeneration of appendages, develop a distended body with much reduced sclerotization (a simple form of hypermetamorphosis), eventually bearing little resemblance to the first instars.

Habitat

Lebia grandis is distributed in the eastern to mid-eastern United States and into adjacent Canada. It has been found inhabiting arable land and its vicinity. It has been found on cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) and on horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) on arable land and neighboring open fields. Adults have also been observed on goldenrod (Solidago spp.).

Pests Attacked

Lebia grandis is an indigenous natural enemy of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. In fields of cultivated potato, adults are specialist predators of all immature stages of L. decemlineata. However, note that in no-choice feeding trials in the laboratory, L. grandis adults devoured the larvae of the asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi). [Neither adults nor larvae of C. asparagi are known to feed on potato plants.] L. grandis larvae are specialist ectoparasitoids of L. decemlineata mature larvae and pupae in the soil.

Lebia grandis has not been found in association with L. decemlineata on its ancestral host plant (Solanum rostratum) in central Mexico. It is conceivable that L. grandis was historically a specialist enemy of the closely related Leptinotarsa juncta on horse nettle in the south-eastern United States.

Life Cycle

Adults are diurnal under ideal conditions of high humidity and high temperature in late spring and summer in Maryland, USA. They have been seen on the upper-most foliage of potato plants feeding on the larvae of the Colorado potato beetle in Maryland. Adults are also nocturnal and have been captured in pitfall traps placed within plant rows during the growing season.

Adults emerge in late May to early June in Maryland, several weeks after the spring emergence of Colorado potato beetles. This ensures that prey (eggs and first to second instar larvae of L. decemlineata) are available for L. grandis adults, especially females, to feed on. It also provides adequate time for females to mate, then oviposit into soil near the base of the potato plants. Eggs are deposited singly into sandy soil. An adhesive substance (a possible secretion from the female’s accessory glands) covers each egg as it is laid, causing each to adhere to sand granules and become difficult to detect. A single female L. grandis can lay as many as 1300 eggs in its lifetime.

As first instar L. grandis emerge from the egg stage (within 2 weeks), they are very sensitive to dryness, but fairly well resistant to drowning. They readily search in the soil for L. decemlineata larvae about to pupate. First instars might follow an odour trail left behind by the L. decemlineata mature larvae, which burrow into the soil just prior to constructing their pupation chambers. In order to insure successful parasitism, L. grandis first instars must locate the L. decemlineata larvae before they seal their pupation cells. Apparently, L. grandis have a difficult time penetrating the sealed cells.

Once locating the host, the first instar larva attaches to the integument (skin) of the host with its mandibles and begins feeding. After moulting, the second instar L. grandis larva does not resume feeding. Metamorphosis to the pupal stage occurs soon thereafter, without any period of diapause. At 25°C, the adult emerges from the soil within 3 weeks from when it began feeding on its host. Two generations of L. grandis are probably produced each year in many populations in the south-eastern United States. Adults overwinter beneath the soil surface in or near potato fields.

Effectiveness

L. grandis have been considered by some to be the most promising indigenous enemy of L. decemlineata in North America. No large-scale field studies have been conducted to date. Under field conditions, L. grandis could be an effective predator/parasitoid of L. decemlineata on normal potato, when used in combination with other control strategies.

Foliar applications of Bt are probably compatible with the action of L. grandis. However, natural densities of L. grandis will not be great enough to effect control of this pest. Thus, augmenting the populations by releasing mass reared adults is one potential method for maximizing the effectiveness of this enemy of L. decemlineata. However, previous rearing experiments have resulted in only limited success in mass-producing L. grandis.

Conservation

In fields of normal (non-genetically engineered or transgenic) potato, the judicious use of pesticides will help conserve carabid populations. Timing of pesticide applications prior to spring emergence of adults would also help reduce unintentional killing of these natural enemies.

The growing of transgenic potatoes (containing the delta endotoxin derived from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. tenebrionis) that confer resistance to attacks from adults and larvae of the Colorado potato beetle presents a unique challenge to the conservation of L. grandis. In pure stands of transgenic potato, L. grandis adults will not persist due to the low availability of prey to feed on. This problem is magnified due to the fact that L. grandis larvae will not have its hosts, L. decemlineata mature larvae and pupae.

Pesticide Susceptibility

As far as known, Lebia grandis adults and larvae can be killed by organophosphate, carbamate, or pyrethroid insecticides when contacting residues on the ground or foliage of potato plants. However, spray formulations of Bt are probably much less harmful.

Commercial Availability

Not available commercially at this time.

Vitaceae

Ricinus communis

Castor oil plant. Palma christi. NO Euphorbiaceae. Tincture or trituration of fresh seeds or fresh plant.

CLINICAL

Pests in viticulture: vine mite, rust mite, grapevine moth, hawk moth, scale. Pests in Cucurbitae. Worms.

GENERAL

This plant is a native of India.

From Clarke’s Materia Medica we can learn, that the leaves of this plant have an especially powerful effect on the breast and the generative sphere. From this fact one can deduce the action on the flowers and fruits on plants. As it is a good companion to grapevines its action on grape flowers and fruits is borne out by the provings.  As with all plant pest and disease remedies, analogy is the most often used means of determining its effects on plants. Subsequent provings usually – but by no means always – confirm the analogy. Sometimes however it proves to have additional features not arrived at through analogy, but either through clinical experience or provings.

From the Materia Medica it has become clear that it acts as a vermifuge, however it needs to be used with caution, as too high a dose can severely purge the animal and debilitate it to a great extent.  Analogous is its action on nematodes.

Mites

Brassicae

Amblyseins spp. cucumeris/californicus/ mackenzie

Predatory mite. Amblyseins mackenzie. NO Acaridae, Class Arachnida. Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Mites. Redlegged earth mite, spidermite, russet mite, rust mite, blister mite, two-spotted mite.

GENERAL

Evidently, we have sought to expand the range of remedies to combat pests. Naturally, we were curious to see if there were other possibilities in using predators, as already known from the first edition, where Coccinella was the first remedy made form a predator. By carefully studying the literature on the use of Integrated Pest Management, we figured there would be many possible remedies against pests.

Many of the remedies presented here have been inspired by this literature. Moreover, we obtained the necessary insects from companies that rear them to produce these remedies and test them in the field. They performed beyond expectations and are presented here as remedies of the first order in the protection of plants against pests.

Mites pose a problem for the grower in that they infest plants, where they weave a fine webbing around the branches and leaves, shutting them off from oxygen and carbon monoxide, effectively strangling and suffocating the plant.

They migrate by attaching themselves to other insects and lifting along to a new location. Many scientists hold them to be parasites of the insect on which they are found, but this is an incorrect notion. Trombidium is one such example. Predatory mites also migrate as adults, which makes it difficult to determine how many predator mites are needed at what stage. They also swarm and migrate in the same manner, making it equally difficult to determine the amounts of predator mites for an infestation of redlegged earth mites or any of the other varieties of mite. The amounts may fluctuate due to arrival of more mites or departure of the same, in search of newer hunting grounds.

As a remedy, no such considerations need to bother the grower, since it is always available and a single dose is enough to protect the plant or crop for the duration of its annual or biennual existence. Homoeopathy has so many advantages over any other method, there is actually no comparison.

The diverse species of Amblyseins are equally effective. Each of the subspecies can be used for the control of mites in the crop, regardless whether these crops are grown outside or in the greenhouse

Bovista

Warted puffball. Lycoperdon bovista. NO Fungi. Trituration. Trituration of the fresh fungus.

CLINICAL

Spider-mite and other mites. Ovarian problems, such as deformation, capillary relaxation. Moist and dry rots. Moulds.

GENERAL

“This globular fungus, which according to report, is eaten in Italy before it is ripe, becomes filled while ripening with the blackish dust that breaks the husk which contains it with a slight noise.”

(Clarke, 1991)

The signature points to bloatedness, puffiness and enlargement.  Ovarian problems in flowers. Moist and dry rots in many plants. Root rots with putrid smell. Plants are thirsty, more so in the afternoon and evening.

The spider mite can just be seen by the unaided eye, mainly because of its contrasting colour. The females are present in greater numbers. They are harder to spot because they are pale green. In winter the females turn orange red, but hide under the bark, in the junction of branches or at the base of the plants. In spring they feed on the young shoots or seedlings, turn green again and move back up the plant.

Bean debris harbours those that overwinter. In hot, dry weather they do the most damage. Heavy rain reduces their numbers. The damage is visible as chlorosis, drying out and becoming brittle. Leaves turn grey.

Bovista was tried for fairy-ring spot on turf which proved to be a failure. In the process its action on the spider mite was a welcome and happy result. Naturally, it was quite a surprise and it has puzzled me no end to discover what in the puffball stops the mites. Careful investigation of the latest developments in pest control gave me a clue.

In IPM the use of fungi to combat pests has provided us with a range of remedies that will be effective against several pests. Bovista beloings in the Natural Order of fungi and its action on the spider-mite and other mites is probably due to a similar mechanism as the fungi used in IPM. It remains to be confirmed or denied by microscopic evidence.

Ricinus communis

Castor oil plant. Palma christi. NO Euphorbiaceae. Tincture or trituration of fresh seeds or fresh plant.

CLINICAL

Pests in viticulture: vine mite, rust mite, grapevine moth, hawk moth, scale. Pests in Cucurbitae. Worms.

GENERAL

This plant is a native of India.

From Clarke’s Materia Medica we can learn that the leaves of this plant have an especially powerful effect on the breast and the generative sphere. From this fact one can deduce the action on the flowers and fruits on plants. As it is a good companion to grapevines its action on grape flowers and fruits is borne out by the provings.  As with all plant pest and disease remedies, analogy is the most often used means of determining its effects on plants. Subsequent provings usually – but by no means always – confirm the analogy. Sometimes however it proves to have additional features not arrived at through analogy, but either through clinical experience or provings.

From the Materia Medica it has become clear that it acts as a vermifuge, however it needs to be used with caution, as too high a dose can severely purge the animal and debilitate it to a great extent.  Analogous is its action on nematodes.

Trombidium

Red spidermite. Trombidium muscae domesticae. NO Acaridae (Clarke). NO Arachnidae. Family Acaridae. (Kaviraja) Tincture of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Carriers: housefly, stable fly, blow fly. Worse manuring, watering, cold rainy weather. Red spidermite.

GENERAL

There is some disagreement regarding the Natural Order in which this insect must be classified. J.H.Clarke mentions this remedy in his Dictionary of Materia Medica, where he gives the following description of the tiny insect.

Trombidium is a parasite found on the common housefly, of a bright red colour, nearly circular in shape. The alcoholic tincture, a brilliant orange in colour, was prepared from specimens, about 115, collected in Frankfort, Philadelphia in September, 1864.’

(Clarke J.H. Dictionary of Materia Medica)

Hence the name ‘muscae domesticae’, housefly.

Although Clarke presents this as a “parasite of the housefly”, modern research suggests it is a species of Tarsonemus mite, which, considering its orange red colour, is the red spider mite.

”The Tarsonemus mite, which swarms by attaching itself to the fly.’

(Hussey, 1981),

It has been misidentified by Clarke as a parasite. In fact, it will swarm also with blowflies or the stable fly or any other insect that goes somewhere else. Thus according to some, it falls in the Order of Arachnidae and not the Acaridae. However, what seems to be forgotten is the fact that mites are all classed under the Family of Acaridae in the Order of Arachnidae

There are other researchers who mistake hitch-hiking mites for parasites of the insect with which they took their hike. In the literature this mis-identification is a regular phenomenon among those that have entomological knowledge. They have heard something about parasites, without being encumbered with knowing about the migratory habits of the spidermite.

The mite breeds in compost and manure, feeds on mycelium of different species of fungi found in manures mixed with straw. It also attacks the mycelium of developing spores of edible mushrooms and is a serious pest among mushroom growers worldwide.

The grand keynote of Tromb. is worse from nutrients and watering.  Any plant suffering from a pest or disease that gets worse from the application of fertiliser or water, will improve under Tromb. Blotches and patches, more prevalent on hairy leaves.

Roots may have mould and poor assimilation of nutrients. The capillaries seem congested. Leaves, especially in hairy species may show spots. The respiration, photosynthesis, and evaporation are all disturbed. From extensive tests by the USDA it has been observed that plants with excess potassium and phosphorus are more prone to aphid and mite attack, while pest numbers increase more rapidly on overfed plants.

RELATIONS

Compare: Bovista.

Campylomma

Campylomma is a generalist predator of apple and pear orchard pests including mites, aphids, and pear psylla. Unfortunately it is also recognized as a pest of apple fruit and in rare instances may cause damage to pear. Adults and nymphs are predacious, but may feed on fruit (causing cosmetic damage to skin of fruit) if available prey are reduced to very low numbers. Campylomma occurs in most deciduous fruit growing regions of the northern U.S. and southern Canada.

Appearance

The adult is green-brown, elongated oval in shape, and about 1/10 inch (2.5mm) long. It has a dark spot on the first antennal segment and black spines on the legs. The nymphs are ovate and translucent when first hatched, but gradually turn pale green. The egg is about 1/28 inch (0.87mm) long and sac-shaped. It is inserted into the bark, stems, and/or leaves of host plants with only the operculum (cap or cover) exposed.

Habitat

Campylomma is found in both pome fruit trees and herbaceous plants, particularly mullein.

Pests Attached

Common prey include aphids, mites, thrips, and pear psylla.

Life Cycle

Campylomma overwinters as an egg in apple and pear bark and perhaps other woody deciduous hosts. Eggs hatch in the spring before bloom of apple and pear. Nymphs develop through five instars in about 21 days at 72 degrees F (21 C). The period of nymphal development of the first generation is the time fruit is most likely to be damage by Campylomma feeding. Adults first appear in mid to late May in the Pacific Northwest and a portion of the population moves into surrounding herbaceous hosts, particularly mullein (hence the common name), where they feed on thrips and other available prey. They migrate back into the orchards in late summer, where they mate and lay overwintering eggs. There are from two to four generations per year in the Pacific Northwest.

Relative Effectiveness

Campylomma can have a major impact on pear psylla populations in pear and aphid populations in apple. This mirid predator appears to be tolerant to many insecticides and is one of the few predators routinely found in heavily sprayed orchards.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Certain pesticides are known to be highly toxic to Campylomma, chlorpyrifos and formetanate hydrochloride are used when control is necessary, while others may have suppressive or little effect.

Conservation

Campylomma must be monitored closely early in the season in order to distinguish between beneficial and potentially damaging populations. Although apparently tolerant of many pesticides, use of pesticides that have a narrow spectrum of activity will help conserve this predator.

Commercial Availability

C. verbasci is not known to be commercially available.

Euseius tularensis

Acarina: Phytoseiidae

CLINICAL:

Primarily citrus red mite and citrus thrips, however, two-spotted spider mite, immature stages of scale insects and whitefly nymphs are also fed upon. This predatory mite also feeds on pollen and leaf sap.

GENERAL:

This predatory mite is an important control agent of citrus red mite and citrus thrips in San Joaquin Valley, California citrus orchards. A closely related species, E. hibisci, is common in the southern citrus growing region of California. E. tularensis prefers to inhabit citrus and E. hibisci prefers to inhabit avocados.

Appearance

Adults are pear-shaped and very shiny. They are white when feeding on pollen, yellow when feeding on citrus thrips, and red when they feed on citrus red mite. They avoid direct sunlight and when held on a leaf in the sun they will run rapidly down the main vein or across the leaf.

The eggs are oblong, almost transparent, and slightly larger than the citrus red mite eggs. The six-legged larvae are also transparent. E. tularensis is difficult to distinguish from other Euseius species without a compound microscope.

Habitat

Citrus. Avocado

Pests Attacked

Primarily citrus red mite and citrus thrips, however, two-spotted spider mite, immature stages of scale insects and whitefly nymphs are also fed upon. This predatory mite also feeds on pollen and leaf sap.

Life Cycle

E. tularensis overwinters as adults on the sucker shoots in the center of citrus trees. This predatory mite responds to the leaf texture and nutrition and is most abundant when new flush appears in the tree in the spring and fall. New citrus flush is rapidly followed by flowers, petal fall, and fruit development. Thus, the predatory mites are present when citrus thrips are damaging the fruit. Adults hunt along the leaf midveins in the shade in the day, under the calyx of the developing fruit, and over the entire fruit leaf surface toward nightfall. Total development time, from egg to adult, is 6-10 days, at 78-80°F. Females live about 30 days and lay 17 to 27 eggs, depending on the type of food they have available.

Relative Effectiveness

Because this predatory mite is a generalist in its feeding habits, it does not target any particular pest and so it may not regulate their numbers below an economic threshold. Populations of 0.5 to 1.0 per leaf help to reduce citrus red mite and citrus thrips populations.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Various San Joaquin Valley populations of E. tularensis have developed resistance to many organophosphate insecticides especially chlorpyrifos. They are still very sensitive to many carbamates (methomyl, formetanate hydrochloride) and pyrethroids used for citrus thrips, caterpillars, and scale control in citrus. Compatible, soft pesticides are sabadilla for citrus thrips control, abamectin and oil for citrus red mite control, and narrow range petroleum oil for California red scale.

Commercial Availability

This predator is not available commercially. Because of its need for small amounts of leaf sap, it must be reared on a leaf surface. Its numbers naturally increase in citrus when broad spectrum pesticides are not used.

Phytoseiulus persimilis

Predatory mite. Phytoseiulus persimilis NO Acarina: Phytoseiidae. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL:

Mites.

GENERAL:

Phytoseiulus persimilis, a predaceous mite, is one of the mainstays of greenhouse integrated pest management programs for control of spider mites on vegetables and ornamentals in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. This mite was accidentally introduced into Germany from Chili in 1958 and subsequently shipped to other parts of the world, including California and Florida, from Germany.

Although extremely small (approximately 0.5 mm or 0.02 inches), P. persimilis can be distinguished with a hand lens. It is fast moving, orange to bright reddish orange, has a teardrop-shaped body and long legs, and is slightly larger than its prey. Immatures are a pale salmon color. Eggs are oval, approximately twice as large as the pest mite eggs.

(Note: in the winter, the twospotted spider mite also develops a reddish color, although two dark spots on its abdomen usually distinguish this pest from other mites.)

Habitat

Greenhouses, interior plantscapes, and crops where twospotted spider mites are a problem.

Pests Attacked (Host Range)

This species is a specialized predator of web-spinning spider mites such as the twospotted spider mite. In fact, P. persimilis feeds, reproduces, and completes development only on mites in the subfamily Tetranychinae, although it also feeds on young thrips and can be cannibalistic when spider mite prey is unavailable.

Life Cycle

P. persimilis eggs hatch in 2-3 days, and although the larval stage does not feed, the subsequent nymphs and adults feed on all stages of prey. Total time from egg to adult ranges from 25.2 days at 15°C (59°F) to 5.0 days at 30°C (86°F).

The adult female may lay up to 60 eggs during her 50 day-long lifetime at 17-27°C. Generation times of from seven to 17 days are possible, depending on temperature and humidity. Due to its tropical origin, P. persimilis does not have a diapause stage and is active year-round in enclosed habitats such as interior plantscapes and greenhouses.

Relative Effectiveness

Adult P. persimilis eat from 5-20 prey (eggs or mites) per day, they reproduce more quickly than the spider mites at temperatures above 28°C (82°F), and they feed on all stages of the twospotted spider mite. P. persimilis are very voracious. They have the highest consumption rate of all phytoseiids. However, they absolutely must have spider mite prey or they will disperse and/or starve.

Almost 75% of European greenhouse vegetable production relies on P. persimilis for spider mite control, and the California strawberry industry uses this mite, along with another beneficial mite, Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) californicus, to control spider mite infestations in field-grown strawberries. It is also used in interior plantscapes and conservatories. Greenhouse ornamentals growers have long relied on its ability to control spider mites.

Humidity strongly impacts P. persimilis’ efficacy. Development was observed to almost stop at humidities of 25-30%, and relative humidities below 70% resulted in a reduction in the ability of immatures to molt from one stage to another. In one study, at a relative humidity of 40% (temperature 27°C), only 7.5% of eggs hatched compared to 99.7% at 80% relative humidity (same temperature). Eggs held at a relative humidity of 50% appeared to shrivel at all temperatures from 13-37°C.

Phytoseiid mites use odours (kairomones) associated with mite-infested plants to locate their prey. When P. persimilis contacts spider mite webbing, it intensifies its search for prey.

P. persimilis has high dispersal ability and its distribution is highly correlated to that of its prey. However, its ability to disperse is dependent on the environment. If infested plants’ leaves touch, dispersal is possible. When the plants have little contact with each other, dispersal is reduced by about 70%. P. persimilis moves upward on the plant in search of prey and disperses when prey is scarce. Nymphs do not disperse easily, and are left behind when prey becomes scarce.

Because these mites are such efficient hunters and dispersers, they can cause extinction of their spider mite prey. This is desirable where little or no spider mite damage can be tolerated, such as in ornamental plants. However, in crops where some plant damage is acceptable (e.g., tomatoes and cucumbers), it is desirable to have a stable interaction between predator and prey over an extended period of P persimilis will eventually exhaust its food supply and starve, and so it must be reintroduced.

Conservation

Relative humidity greater than 60% is required for survival of the predator, particularly through the egg stage.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Strains that are tolerant of some insecticides have been selected.

Commercial Availability

Widely available

Gall wasps

Ornamentals

Pseudoscymnus tsugae

Japanese ladybug. NO Coleoptera: Family Coccinellidae Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL:

P. tsugae is only known to attack A. tsugae in nature. However, laboratory experiments revealed that P. tsugae can also feed and develop on other adelgid species including balsam woolly adelgid, A. piceae, Cooley spruce gall adelgid, A. cooleyi, and pine bark adelgid, Pineus strobi.

GENERAL:

Among the most widespread and effective predators of hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae (Annand), in its native homeland of Japan is a previously non-described coccinellid of the genus, Pseudoscymnus. In 1992 Dr. Mark McClure collected this ladybird beetle from adelgid-infested hemlocks in 13 of 37 forests and at 11 of 37 ornamental sites in 12 prefectures throughout Honshu, Japan. Drs. McClure and Dr. Hiroyuki Sasaji have described and named this new beetle, P. tsugae. Beginning in 1995 more than 100,000 adult beetles have now been released in infested hemlock forests in Connecticut, New Jersey and Virginia to evaluate P. tsugae as a biological control agent.

The egg of P. tsugae is about 0.48 mm long by 0.25 mm wide and is oval and reddish-orange in color within an opalescent sheath. Eggs are often laid singly or in small groups in cracks and crevices in the bark and in bud scales. Larvae change from reddish-brown to gray and grow from about 1.1 mm to 2.7 mm during their four instars of development. The pupa is reddish-brown and is about 1.9 mm long and 1.1 mm wide. The newly emerged adult is light golden brown before darkening to jet-black within a day. Adults are oblong to oval-shaped and are about 1.7 mm long by 1.1 mm wide. The body is entirely black and is pubescent on its dorsal surface.

Habitat

Adults and larvae were found on branches of Tsuga diversifolia and T. sieboldii infested with A. tsugae throughout Honshu, Japan; adults were collected from sweep net samples of a grassy meadow in Fukui Prefecture, Japan; and all life stages were gathered from T. canadensis at release sites in Connecticut and Virginia.

Pests Attacked (Host Range)

P. tsugae is only known to attack A. tsugae in nature. However, laboratory experiments revealed that P. tsugae can also feed and develop on other adelgid species including balsam woolly adelgid, A. piceae, Cooley spruce gall adelgid, A. cooleyi, and pine bark adelgid, Pineus strobi.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of P. tsugae is well synchronized with that of its prey. Both insects have two generations each year in the field. Spring egg laying by adult beetles normally coincides with peak egg laying and hatching of adelgids. Furthermore a second generation of beetles occurs in June around the time that the second generation of adelgids does. Also, when adelgids are inactive for about 14 weeks during the summer, adult ladybugs are able to survive by feeding on dormant young adelgids. Three or more generations of P. tsugae can be reared each year in the laboratory under controlled temperature conditions.

Relative Effectiveness

Adults and larvae of P. tsugae are highly mobile and voraciously feed on all life stages of A. tsugae. Each beetle larva consumes about 500 adelgid eggs or from 50 to100 adelgid nymphs, depending upon the size, during its development. Adults can live for more than one year and may consume about 50 adelgid nymphs each week during times of peak feeding activity. Each female beetle lays nearly 300 eggs in her lifetime.

P. tsugae is an important predator of A. tsugae in Japan; it killed from 86 to 99% of the adelgids at the 24 sites were it occurred. Experiments conducted at four sites in Connecticut and one site in Virginia from 1995 through 1997 revealed that releasing relatively few adult beetles (2,400-3,600) into an infested hemlock forest reduced adelgid densities by 47-88% on release trees in only 5 months. In the field P. tsugae mated, reproduced and dispersed from release trees into the surrounding hemlock forest, and established. It overwintered successfully for three years under a wide variety of climatic conditions. These studies indicate that P. tsugae has excellent potential for biological control of A. tsugae.

Commercial Availability

P. tsugae is not available commercially. Research is underway to streamline the mass rearing of P. tsugae which for now remains extremely labor intensive. If P. tsugae proves to be a successful biological control agent for hemlock woolly adelgid, the rearing and release efforts will be intensified so that beetles can reproduce and spread on their own from relatively few release sites throughout the entire adelgid-infested area which now includes 11 eastern states.

Ants & Termites

Artemisia vulgaris

Southernwood.

Camphora

Camphor. Cinnamonium camphora. Laurocerasus camphora. NO Lauraceae. Gum

obtained from Laurus camphora.. Solution in rectified spirit.

CLINICAL

Moths, wood worms, white ants, and other pests. Lodging, waterlogging, negative effects of. Cockroaches, ants.

GENERAL

Camphor is white crystalline substance, which is harvested from the tree Laurocerasus camphora, which grows in South-East Asia and Australia. There are some other odorous volatile products, found in different aromatic plants that have been given the same name. It is found either in longitudinal cavities in the heart of the tree or extracted from the leaves and twigs.

Grieve’s herbal mentions that: “It is a well known preventive against moths and other insects, such as worms in wood; natural history cabinets are often made of it, the wood of the tree being occasionally imported to make cabinets for entomologists.

(Grieve, 1931).

As Camphor is a powerful remedy, it should be used with caution, because of severe reactions it produces. It is often prescribed in the lower potencies, “but those whose knowledge of Camphor is confined to its coarser action will never understand what a great remedy it is when used according to its fine symptomatic indications and given in the higher potencies. ” (Clarke, 1991).

Because of its wide range of symptoms and the overlapping of primary and secondary reactions in humans, it is difficult to use there. In plants it produces enough symptoms to warrant its use in lodging, especially if caused by waterlogging, as Camphor is indicated for diseases arising from cold and damp weather.

The roots feel slimy, the slime being viscid, as is not found on healthy roots. The plant is excessively thirsty.

The capillary system does not work property, thus interfering with transport of sugars to the roots and the uptake of nutrients into the plant. Respiration and photosynthesis are consequently defective and the plant slowly withers and collapses.

If in the flowering stage, pollination occurs at night, when pollen feeding insects are at rest, thus interfering with fruit-setting.

Termites

Termites belong to the same family as cockroaches and not to the ants, as their common name, the white ant, would suggest. They are related to the stonefly as well.

They live in colonies, which have, contrary to all other colony dwellers such as ants and bees, not only a queen but also a king. The population is built up out of workers, soldiers and other castes. The soldiers have large heads and strong mandibles, but they are the ones that first scurry into safety when the nest is disturbed, especially so with the subterranean species.

Most species are 4-10mm long, white or cream coloured and soft bodied. The nest is constructed, depending on the species, either underground, in trees or in mounds.

Most species either attack living or dead wood, reason why many wooden houses or the stumps on which they are built, are a target for the termites.

Some species feed on fungi, which they grow in underground tunnels, while still others feed on turf, field crops, and other vegetation, chewing the roots. In spring they may swarm; males and females on the wing emerge in massive numbers from the nest, similar to ants. These mate, drop their wings and setup a new nest as a royal couple. From the eggs the workers emerge, which build a new nest. In two to three years the egg-production speeds up with more egg laying females Some queens become too large to move and only lay eggs, some species manage up to 4000 eggs in twenty four hours.

In Australia they may attack a range of trees, mainly of the Eucalypt order, and some others. The reduction of native forests has brought them to human dwellings.

Camphora is a good remedy against the termite. In the crude form it has been of service for hundreds of years. The camphor tree will remain free of termites, mainly because they do not like the smell. However it is not only the smell that makes Camphora an excellent remedy against the termite. In the potencies it works just as well, while in such fine dilutions there is no question of any smell. It is possible that Camph produces a repellent quality, which is discernible to the termite, or that the insects are sensitive to the action of Camphora, with its prostration and debility, an unwanted phenomenon in a termite nest, where there is constant work to do with the eggs, the larvae, and the food reserves, as well as many other tasks, where a sleepy and debilitated state can be the death of the nest. Camphora has been used on timber stock against termites with good results.

However, some predators prefer certain prey from particular plants – there are several species of gauzefly predators to several species of whitefly. The remedy of the one will work on the other, but the appropriate remedy will be the one specific to that prey. Hence the cabbage whitefly requires a different gauzefly remedy from the carrot whitefly, which has its own gauzefly predator.

Bombyx processiona

Procession caterpillar. Bombyx processiona. NO Lepidoptera. Tincture of the live caterpillars.

CLINICAL

Caterpillars, vegetable loopers, sawfly larvae, army worms, cabbage moths and other caterpillars.

GENERAL

The true bombyx is not a very large caterpillar and is today known as the white cedar moth, Leptocheria reducta. It is about 45 mm long, dark brown, with yellow head and masses of long grey and black hairs, which on contact cause skin irritation.

Clarke mentions that: “it one case a boy shook a large number of caterpillars from a tree on his naked chest. It caused an itching so severe, that he had to run for assistance. Then fever, somnolency, delirium and finally death ensued.”

(Clarke, 1991)

The caterpillars live in colonies at the base of the tree during the day and feed on the foliage at night. After denuding the tree, they walk in a single file to the next, which behaviour accounts for their name. They produce two generations per year.

Rodale’s periodical relates the case of a commercial peanut and soybean farmer (1976). He prepared a crude product from vegetable loopers. Control was very successful. Another report from 1978 mentioned sawfly larvae being used in a similar fashion.

Bombyx in potency has been used to treat most caterpillars on most crops as a generic remedy. Both as a spray and in the trickle system it is effective. In both cases the plants become immune to caterpillar infestations.

RELATIONS

Compare: Cantharis Sambucus, Val., Vib

Chrysopa carnea

Gauzefly. Chrysoperla =Chrysopa carnea, C. rufilabris Neuroptera: Chrysopidae. NO Hymenopterae. Family Chrysopidae. Genus Aphidius. Species Chrysopa carnea. Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm. Aphid infestations of all types on nearly all types of plants. Chrysopa prefers Brassicae, but will take aphids from almost any plant.

GENERAL

Common Green Lacewing C. carnea.

These green lacewings are common in much of North America. Adults feed only on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew, but their larvae are active predators. C. carnea occurs in a wide range of habitats in northeastern, midwestern and western U.S., and C. rufilabris may be more useful in areas where humidity tends to be high (greenhouses, irrigated crops, southeastern and midwestern U.S.).

Appearance

Adult green lacewings are pale green, about 12-20 mm long, with long antennae and bright, golden eyes. They have large, transparent, pale green wings and a delicate body. Adults are active fliers, particularly during the evening and night and have a characteristic, fluttering flight. Oval shaped eggs are laid singly at the end of long silken stalks and are pale green, turning gray in several days. The larvae, which are very active, are gray or brownish and alligator-like with well-developed legs and large pincers with which they suck the body fluids from prey. Larvae grow from <1 mm to 6-8 mm.

Habitat (Crops)

Cotton, sweet corn, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, asparagus, leafy greens, apples, strawberries, and other crops infested by aphids.

Pests Attacked

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey. They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Life Cycle

These two species of green lacewings overwinter as adults, usually in leaf litter at the edge of fields. During the spring and summer, females lay several hundred small (<1 mm) eggs on leaves or twigs in the vicinity of prey. Larvae emerge in 3-6 days.

The larval stage has three instars and lasts two to three weeks. Mature third instars spin round, parchment-like, silken cocoons usually in hidden places on plants. Emergence of the adults occurs in 10 to 14 days. The life cycle (under 4 weeks in summer conditions) is heavily influenced by temperature. There may be two to several generations per year.

Relative Effectiveness

These lacewing larvae are considered generalist beneficials but are best known as aphid predators. The larvae are sometimes called aphid lions, and have been reported to eat between 100 and 600 aphids each, although they may have difficulty finding prey in crops with hairy or sticky leaves.

Natural populations of Chrysoperla have been recorded as important aphid predators in potatoes, but mass releases of lacewings have yet to be evaluated against aphids in commercial potato production. In small scale experiments outside the United States, lacewings achieved various levels of control of aphids on pepper, potato, tomato, and eggplant, and have been used against Colorado potato beetle on potato and eggplant. On corn, peas, cabbage, and apples, some degree of aphid control was obtained but only with large numbers of lacewings. Mass releases of C. carnea in a Texas cotton field trial reduced bollworm infestation by 96%, although more recent studies show that C. carnea predation on other predators can disrupt cotton aphid control.

C. carnea is considered an important aphid predator in Russian and Egyptian cotton crops, German sugar beets, and European vineyards. The North Carolina State University Center for IPM considers it an important natural enemy of long-tailed mealybug, one of the 5 most important pests of NC interiorscapes.

Several strains of C. carnea occur in North America. Matching of the proper strain to specific pest management situations is desirable.

Pesticide Susceptibility

C. carnea appears to have some natural tolerance to several chemical insecticides although there may be considerable variation. Populations tolerant of pyrethroids, organophosphates, and carbaryl have been selected in the laboratory.

Conservation

Because young larvae are susceptible to dessication, they may need a source of moisture. Adult lacewings need nectar or honeydew as food before egg laying and they also feed on pollen. Therefore, plantings should include flowering plants, and a low level of aphids should be tolerated. Artificial foods and honeydew substitutes are available commercially and have been used to enhance the number and activity of adult lacewings. These products may provide sufficient nutrients to promote egg laying, but they cannot counter the dispersal behavior of newly emerged adult lacewings.

Commercial Availability

C. carnea and C. rufilabris are available commercially and are shipped as eggs, young larvae, pupae, and adults. C. carnea is recommended for dry areas, C. rufilabris for humid areas. Larvae are likely to remain near the release site if aphids or other prey are available. Newly emerging adults, however, will disperse in search of food, often over great distances, before laying eggs. Naturally, in potency such restrictions as to environment do not have any significance, because the remedy is not subject to environmental circumstances to enable its effectiveness.

‘All aphid parasites are Hymenoptera or wasps in the broad sense and belong to two Families; the Aphidiidae, which are the most important and are all aphid parasites and the Aphelinidae, which also parasitise other insects such as scale and whiteflies.

The Aphidiidae include many important genera; Aphidius, Praon, Ephedrus, Lysiphlebus, Monoctus and Trioxys. The adults are small, slender wasps with black, brown, orange or yellow colouration.’

(Hussey N.W. Biological Pest Control)

While in nature the wasp oviposits the aphid and still takes a few days to hatch, the remedy will immediately act and thus time is gained against the aphid devastation. For the different instars of the parasitic wasp do not interfere with the development of the aphid. Only at the 4th instar does the predator become active enough to stop the aphid’s development and life.

The remedy made from the parasitic wasps does not have this delay in action, nor are they dependent on a particular instar of the aphid to do its work. Several parasitic wasps prefer or even need a particular instar of their prey to oviposit their eggs.

Another drawback to using parasitic wasps lies in the fact that although the adult female may make several hundred ovipositions during its life, only a small proportion will reach adulthood. Even under laboratory conditions only 100 will be produced, of which 60 might be female. Because development takes about two weeks, the maximum population increase rate can be calculated as approximately 4.5 x a week. In the greenhouse practise of every day, the rates are considerably lower.

These drawbacks do not exist with the homoeopathic potencies, which do not require breeding time, have no influence from the lifecycle of the pest or the weather conditions and are thus applicable at the time the infestation is acute. The immediate response is another feature with which the remedy shows superiority over even IPM.

Syrphina larva

Hover fly. NO Diptera: Syrphidae Syrphus spp., Allograpta spp. Tincture of the live insect. Trituration of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Aphid infestations; also as prophylactic

APPEARANCE

Aphid infestations. Plants covered in aphids. When Syrphina is sprayed or given directly to the plant, the aphids have either died by the next day or have fled. Notwithstanding their protection by ants, these cannot fight off a non-existing enemy and therefore the aphids will disappear.

GENERAL

Syrphina is a green, yellow or brown coloured glider, the larvae of which like aphids almost as much as Coccinella larvae do. When the soil is cultivated, the larvae which survive underground, are promptly killed. During the insect season the use of the remedy is therefore indispensible, if the farmer is not to succumb to pests.

Adults are 10 to 12 mm long marked with yellow, black, or white bands resembling bees or small yellowjackets. They fly swiftly and tend to hover over plants (also call hover or flower flies). Adults feed only on pollen, nectar, or honeydew produced by aphids. Larvae are about 12 mm long, wrinkled or slug-like, and tapered to a point anteriorly. They are usually brown or green with whitish areas. Eggs are chalky-white with faint longitudinal ridges and are laid singly among aphid colonies.

Lifecycle

Syrphid flies overwinter as pupae in the soil. Adults begin emerging in April and May about the same time as aphid populations begin to increase. They lay eggs on leaves and stems of plants infested with aphids or other suitable prey. Eggs hatch in 3 to 4 days into soft-bodied maggot-like larvae. Larvae feed for 7 to 10 days, then drop to the soil to pupate.

A life cycle from egg to adult is completed in 16 to 28 days and there are three to seven overlapping generations each year.

Importance

Larvae feed on soft-bodied insects, particularly aphids. As many as 400 aphids may be consumed by one larva during its development period. Larvae seize aphids with their mouth hooks and suck out the body contents. These predators are common in most field and vegetable crops and may be important in suppressing aphid populations if unnecessary applications of non-selective insecticides are avoided.

Two common species of syrphid flies occur in the northwest: the western syrphid, Syrphus opinator and Scaeva pyrastri, and both species are commonly found in mint fields.

Cucurbitae

Coccinella

Lady bird. Sunchafer. Coccinella septempunctata. Chrysopa septempunctata. NO Coleoptera. Genus Chrysopids. Tincture of the freshly crushed beetles.

CLINICAL

Aphids. Scale. Whitefly

GENERAL

Sevenspotted Lady Beetle

The sevenspotted lady beetle, repeatedly introduced to North America from Europe for the biological control of aphids, was established in the early 1970s in New Jersey, apparently from an accidental introduction. It has since spread naturally or been introduced to many northeastern and north central states. C. septempunctata may be a more effective predator than some native lady beetle species, displacing them in some areas.

Appearance

Comparatively large (7-8 mm) with a white or pale spot on either side of the head. The body is oval, and has a domed shape. The spot pattern is usually 1-4-2, black on the orange or red forewings. Lady beetle larvae are dark and alligator-like with three pairs of prominent legs, growing to 7-8 mm in length. Eggs are spindle shaped and small, about 1 mm long.

Habitat (Crops)

Aphid infested crops, including potatoes, legumes, sweet corn, alfalfa, wheat, sorghum, and pecans.

Pests Attacked

Reported prey include pea, cowpea, green peach, potato, corn leaf, melon aphids, and greenbug.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in protected sites near the fields where they feed and reproduce. In spring, emerging beetles feed on aphids before laying eggs. Females may lay from 200 to more than 1,000 eggs over a one to three month period commencing in spring or early summer. Eggs are usually deposited near prey such as aphids, often in small clusters in protected sites on leaves and stems. The eggs are small (about 1 mm) and spindle-shaped.

C. septempunctata larvae grow from about 1 mm to 4-7 mm in length over a 10 to 30 day period depending on the supply of aphids. Large larvae may travel up to 12 m in search of prey. A second generation may appear about a month later. The pupal stage may last from three to 12 days depending on the temperature.

In the northeastern United States, there are one to two generations per year before the adults enter winter hibernation. Development from egg to adult may take only two to three weeks, and adults, most abundant in mid- to late summer, live for weeks or months, depending on the location, availability of prey, and time of year.

Conservation

C. septempunctata is spreading to new areas each season. Conservation can best be accomplished by following integrated pest management guidelines as outlined in the tutorial of this guide.

Pesticide Susceptibility

Aphids attack grains, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

They are 1-2mm long in general, although larger species also exist (4-5mm). Different species have different colours, green, blue, pink, deep yellow, lemon-coloured, grey, white or black. Some species have wings. Others have a winged and a wingless stage. When over-crowding occurs, they grow wings, flying to other plants or other parts of the same plant. Near the end of the body two tubes protrude, called cornicles, a feature particular to aphids. Aphids are viviparous, ie. bearing live young, resulting in possible population explosions.

Coccinella either sprayed directly on the aphid or when given to the plant, rapidly diminishes the populations. Aphids pierce and suck, drawing sap from plants, preferably young shoots and buds, the latter producing deformed flowers. Some aphids form galls, attacking root system as well. Others carry yellow dwarf virus. Aphids are protected by ants and produce honey dew for them.

Population size depends on temperature and nutrient levels. At 15oC the females produce three young per day, which increases to six at 25oC and with high potassium and/or phosphorus levels can increase to ten. Hence population explosions occur mostly during warm to very warm weather, when humidity is around 40 to 50%.

Coccinella has been used extensivelly with good results, usually requiring only a single dose. Overdosing will attract aphids to a plant, resulting in repeated aphid infestations.

Coccus

Cochineal. Coccus cacti. NO Hemiptera. Trituration of the dried bodies of the female insect.

CLINICAL

All soft bodied scale.

GENERAL

Coccus, being a soft scale, is specific for treatment of soft scales, because it possesses similar properties. Shellac is an example of a remedy for hard scales, as it is a product of a hard scale species. Coccus has been used on different species of scale living on different trees. Eucalypt scale (wattle tick, soft brown scale), scale on citrus trees, scale on bottle brush disappeared after a single dose. As with Coccinella, care must be taken not to repeat the remedy

There are some twenty types of soft scale, all of which can be treated with this remedy. It is the remaining hard scale that must be treated with Shellac, approximately ten species. Thus each of these remedies is generic to the scale to a certain extent.

Dicyphus

CLINICAL: Whiteflies, aphids, thrip, spider mites. Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), Tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). Dicyphus will feed on two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), Thrips and Moth eggs but will not control these pests.

GENERAL:

Plants

Note: Since Dicyphus is also a plant feeder it should not be used on crops such as Gerbera which can be damaged. This is only relevant if it is used as an Integrated Pest Management tool. In the potency such drwbacks do not exist. Most of the work with Dicyphus has been on vegetable crops such as tomato, pepper and eggplant where it will not cause plant damage by plant feeding.

Description

The predatory bug, Dicyphus hesperus is similar to Macrolophus caliginosus, which is being used in Europe to control whitefly, spider mites, moth eggs and aphids. The use of Dicyphus is being studied by D. Gillespie (Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada Research Station, Agassiz, BC). Dicyphus should not be used on its own to replace other biological control agents. It is best used along with other biological control agents in greenhouse tomato crops that have, or (because of past history) are expected to have whitefly, spider mite, or thrips problems.

• Eggs are laid inside plant tissue and are not easily seen.

• Adults are slender (6mm), black and green with red eyes and can fly

• Nymphs are green with red eyes

Use in Biological Control

• Release Dicyphus as soon as whiteflies are found, early in the season at a rate of 0.25-0.5 bugs/m2 (10 ft2) of infested area; repeat in 2-3 weeks.

• Release batches of 100 adults together in one area where whitefly is present or add supplementary food (frozen moth eggs: i.e. Sitotroga sp., Ephestia sp.) to these areas weekly.

• Dicyphus needs large numbers of prey (+100) to reproduce, so releases should only be made in areas where pests have been detected or where supplementary food is being added.

• This predator obtains water from plant feeding and can survive for long periods without food but must have insect food to reproduce. Feeding damage to the plant or tomato fruit is superficial and not usually noticeable unless population levels exceed 100 Dicyphus/plant.

• The use of banker plants such as mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and eggplant is useful for increasing Dicyphus numbers as well as monitoring for pests.

Monitoring Tips

• Adults and nymphs move quickly and hide in plant material when approached.

• On mature tomato plants adults and nymphs are often found on the middle leaves.

Tiphia vernalis

Spring Tiphia, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer. NO Trituration of the live insect. Tincture of the live insect in purified alcohol.

CLINICAL

Grubs of the Japanese beetle.

GENERAL

The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, is a highly destructive insect pest. Damage caused by the feeding larva (grubs) and adults result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the agricultural and ornamental plant industry in the eastern United States annually. Introduced accidentally into the United States in about 1916 near Trenton, New Jersey, the beetle has spread throughout most of the eastern United States, with several outbreak areas well ahead of the main front. Though western states have been successful in eradicating introduced populations of the beetle in the past, and it is not yet widely established in the Midwest, it still presents a major quarantine threat to many of these areas, as well as to many countries outside the United States.

The Japanese beetle is not considered a significant pest in its native Japan, where natural enemies of the beetle, including insect parasitoids (parasites whose offspring eat the host or prey), pathogens, and predators significantly increase the mortality of the beetle. The use of natural enemies by humans to suppress populations of pest insects (and weeds) is called biological control.

Spring Tiphia, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer.

The spring Tiphia wasp, Tiphia vernalis Rohwer, is an effective biological control agent that can be used as part of an overall Integrated Pest Management program to suppress populations of the Japanese beetle. USDA researchers consider it to be the most effective parasitoid of the beetle in the U.S. When used in conjunction with other control strategies that do minimal harm to natural enemies of the Japanese beetle (such as parasitic wasps and nematodes), this wasp can regulate beetle populations at an acceptably low level.

The purpose of this book is to help people and agencies interested in sustainably suppressing populations of the Japanese beetle to establish the spring Tiphia and optimize the wasps’ reproductive potential for maximum control through the use of habitat modification by planting known food plants that the wasps favor.

The spring Tiphia was originally identified as a significant biological control agent of the Japanese beetle in Japan and Korea in the early 1920s. Between 1925-1927 the wasp was released in the northeastern US, and became quickly established as a natural enemy of Japanese beetle populations there. Although it will not eradicate the beetle from an area, the spring Tiphia can help keep populations of the beetle low enough to lessen damage to plants and to minimize the potential of accidentally transporting and thus spreading the beetle. The spring Tiphia is especially effective in suppressing outbreak populations of Japanese beetles. In areas with appropriate food plants, the wasp parasitizes an increasing percentage of grub population, thus causing these populations to be diminished over a period of several years.

The suppression of Japanese beetle populations by the spring Tiphia in outbreak areas ahead of, and along the advancing beetle front can minimize the amount of feeding damage caused and also slow the spread of the beetle. Also, by suppressing beetle populations in sensitive areas, such as around airports, parks, and plant nurseries, we can lessen the probability of accidentally transporting and introducing the Japanese beetle to un-infested areas. These natural enemies can be safely used to sustainably suppress populations of the Japanese beetle, especially in environmentally sensitive areas such as those near waterways or in state and federal parks. Once established, the natural enemies remain in the area for as long as the Japanese beetle is present, keeping beetle populations sustainably lower than they would be in their absence.

Description of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp looks very similar to a winged black carpenter ant. The female wasp is heavily set and built for digging in the ground in search of Japanese beetle grubs. Its size can range from ½ to ¾ of an inch long. The male wasp, which spends its adult life flying in search of female wasps, is more slender and is normally only 3/8 of an inch long. It has a tiny hook at the end of its abdomen that is used when mating with the female. The female wasp possesses a stinger and, if handled roughly, can give a mild sting, similar to a sweat bee. However, it is not aggressive towards humans and will not normally sting people.

Distribution of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp was originally released in New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1927. It established readily, and redistribution efforts by the USDA from 1927 through 1953 led to the release of the wasp in Maryland, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, District of Columbia and Vermont.

Recent survey work by USDA APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) has shown the spring Tiphia is widely distributed over many parts of the eastern United States. Researchers have found the wasp as far west as Indiana and Tennessee.

Life History of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia normally emerges when bridal wreath spirea are in bloom. After a brief period of feeding and mating, the female wasp begins to hunt for Japanese beetle grubs to parasitize. The female wasp is able to detect the presence of grubs in an area probably by scent, and burrows into the ground in search of a grub. Once she finds a grub in its earthen cell, a brief struggle ensues. The female wasp stings the grub, causing a temporary paralysis that lasts about 30 minutes. She then prepares an area on the underside of the now paralyzed grub between the thorax and abdomen to receive a single egg. She rasps the area with the tip of her abdomen and kneads it with her mandibles, then attaches an egg to this softened spot. By wearing away the membrane of the grub and making it thinner, the wasp larva, which hatches about 7 days later, has little problem piercing the skin of the grub in order to feed. The female wasp can normally parasitize 1 to 2 grubs daily in this manner, and can lay a total of between 40 and 70 eggs over her lifespan of 30 to 40 days.

Parasite egg placement. Spring Tiphia stinging. Tiphia larva feeding.

Once the spring Tiphia wasp egg hatches, the larva begins to feed on the grub, and the grub rapidly becomes weakened and ceases to feed. The wasp larva grows rapidly and consumes the entire body of the grub except for the head capsule in a matter of days. The beetle grub now completely consumed, the wasp larva spins a waterproof brown cocoon in the earthen cell of its former occupant, and enters the pupal stage. Transformation from pupa to adults occurs inside the cocoon in late summer or early fall, and the adult wasps overwinters safe inside its waterproof cocoon until spring. In spring, the adult chews its way out of the cocoon, digs its way to the surface, and emerges from the soil to start the life cycle over again.

Selecting Areas for Release of Tiphia vernalis

The spring Tiphia wasp needs three factors for a successful release. They are: 1) An area that contains an abundant supply of its host, (which is the 3rd instar Japanese beetle or Oriental beetle [Anomala orientalis Waterhouse]); 2) Adequate food plants to enable the wasp to realize its reproductive potential; and 3) High and low ground to ensure continuance of the grub population in both wet and dry years. Studies by USDA researchers found that percentage of parasitization was greater for more dense grub populations: 57% for 6 grubs per square foot; 31% for 2 grubs per square foot; and less than 20% for one grub per square foot. However, the authors have found that these percentages could be increased by planting or having additional food plants in the areas where beetle grubs consistently occur, such as golf courses, parks and the areas surrounding airports.

The potential release area can be surveyed to determine how many Japanese beetle grubs per square foot are present. By doing some preliminary survey work, you will be able to select an area that has the most grubs, which will give you the best chance for establishment of the spring Tiphia. Grid off the potential area being considered for release. If you have a large area, such as a golf course or a park, you will want to make several sample sites to determine which has the most grubs. Each potential survey area can be gridded into a 30 foot by 30 foot square grid. Each section in the grid is a 10 foot by 10 foot piece, for a total of 9 ten foot square areas. The overall grid pattern looks like a tic-tac-toe drawing. Take one soil sample from each of the nine squares. Each soil sample should be 1 foot square and 6 to 8 inches deep. Count all the grubs in each soil sample. By looking at the raster pattern on the rear of each grub, you can determine if the grub is a Japanese beetle grub. Do this sampling pattern for each area under consideration for release of the Tiphia wasp.

In a heavy infestation, Japanese beetle larvae can be very numerous under the turf.

Once you have completed the soil sampling for each area, you will know how many grubs per square foot are present. By selecting an area with the highest number of grubs, you will ensure that the spring Tiphia has every advantage in order to become established in the desired area.

Food Plants for Adult Tiphia vernalis

USDA researchers found that, in the northeastern U.S., adult spring Tiphia wasps feed primarily on the honeydew exuded from aphids, scale insects, and leafhoppers. The adult wasps were found feeding on the shaded foliage of maple, elm, cherry, tulip and pine trees, and some broad-leafed shrubs. The wasp will also feed on the nectar of blossoms, such as forsythia, and on the extra-floral nectaries of peonies. However, as the wasps were later redistributed into other parts of the eastern and southern US, the potential exists for them to utilize other plants for food. Research by the author (RCM) while with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) found that Tiphia adults used blooming tulip poplar trees, Liriodendron tulipifera as a food and mating site. Researchers in China have used the knowledge of food plants to increase the rates of Tiphia parasitization of white grubs to an average of 85%. Thus, the potential for using food plants to increase the rates of parasitization of the Japanese beetle by the spring Tiphia is great and should be utilized whenever possible.

Food Plants Known to be Utilized by Adult Tiphia vernalis:

Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera
Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana
Norway Maple Acer platanoides
American Elm Ulmus americana
Forsythia Forsythia x intermedia
Firethorn Pyracantha coccinea
Pine trees Pinus spp.

Determining Tiphia vernalis Parasitization Rates

In order to determine the parasitization rate of the spring Tiphia on the Japanese beetle, soil sampling must be done in a manner similar to that described above. Between 25 and 40 soil samples are normally taken. The timing of the survey work for parasitization rates is of utmost importance. The survey must occur between the time that the spring Tiphia has ceased its egg laying activities, and before the Japanese beetles begin to emerge as adults. Normally, this is a 7 to 10 day period, and usually occurs in early June in North Carolina. Due to the brevity of this period, only a certain amount of sampling can occur each year.

By digging up Japanese beetle grubs and pupae, you can examine each one to determine if the spring Tiphia has been active. You may find grubs, grubs with Tiphia larvae attached, Tiphia cocoons, or Japanese beetle pupae. The number of grubs and pupae that have no sign of spring Tiphia attack are compared to the number of parasitized grubs and Tiphia cocoons found in a particular area. This number will give an indication of the relative amount of parasitization of a particular population of the Japanese beetle.

Another indication of the relative effectiveness of the spring Tiphia is the large numbers of adult wasps seen flying on sunny days. Each wasp seen has developed at the expense of a Japanese beetle grub. Large numbers of these wasps flying about suggests that the parasites may be of much greater benefit than is usually thought. Wasps can be sampled non-destructively by spraying foliage with sugar water and counting the wasps attracted to the bush in a fixed interval.

Solanaceae

Nasturtium

Tropeolum. NO Cruciferae. Tincture of the seeds/whole plant.

CLINICAL

White aphids, squash bugs, white fly in tomatoes. Nematodes. Mealy bug.

GENERAL

Nasturtium is a companion plant that has the proven ability to protect other species against different species of aphids, according to Hylton, Grieve and others. Thus a homoeopathic dilution ought to be able to confer to plants a type of immunity to aphid infestation.

From experiments with plants it was noted that aphid infestation was only slightly influenced by Nasturtium in the 3x potency. More provings need to be conducted to establish with certainty the effects of the remedy. Experiments carried out on fennel infested with black aphid have been conducted. It deserves tests and provings on a larger variety of plants in different potencies.

Phalangium opilio

Harvestman, Daddy longlegs, Harvest spider NO Arachnida: Opiliones, Phalangiidae

CLINICAL:

Harvestmen will feed on many soft bodied arthropods in crops, including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, mites, and small slugs.

GENERAL:

Of the many species of harvestmen known, P. opilio tends to be the most common in relatively disturbed habitats such as most crops in temperate regions. Like the spiders and most adult mites, harvestmen have two major body sections and eight legs and lack antennae. Unlike spiders, the two body sections of harvestmen are broadly joined and no web spinning organs are present. Harvestmen differ from most mites by their larger size and by having the posterior body section distinctly segmented.

Appearance

The most notable features of P. opilio and many other harvestmen are the long, slender legs and short, globular body. Adult body length is approximately 3.5-9 mm, with males generally smaller than females. The upper surface of the body is colored with an indistinct and variable light gray or brown pattern, and the lower surface is typically light cream. Immatures are similar to adults, only smaller and with legs shorter relative to the body size. Eggs are spherical, about 0.4 mm diameter, with a smooth surface and color changing from off-white to dark gray-brown as they mature. They are laid in clusters of around ten to several hundred.

Habitat (Crops)

Harvestmen are often common in crops such as corn, alfalfa, small grains, potatoes, cabbage, strawberries, and apple in most temperate regions of the world.

Lifecycle

Phalangium opilio has a single generation per year and overwinters as eggs. In parts of North America two or more generations may occur, and eggs, immatures, or adults may overwinter. Eggs are laid in moist areas under rocks, in cracks in the soil, or between the soil and the crowns or recumbent leaves of plants. The eggs hatch in three weeks to five months or more, depending on temperature, and the immatures undergo several molts and reach maturity in two to three months, again depending on temperature.

Relative Effectiveness

Although P. opilio by itself appears unable to keep populations of any pest under control, it serves as one member of a complex of generalist predators that exist in many crops and that together are able to help keep pest densities low. In addition to pest arthropods, P. opilio also may feed on dead insects and other decaying material, as well as earthworms, other harvestmen, spiders and other beneficial invertebrates. Although its generalist feeding habits and tendency for cannibalism may appear to reduce its value in some situations, they may also allow it to persist in the crop during periods of low pest density and help suppress outbreaks of pests in their early stages.

Pesticide Susceptibility

P. opilio is highly susceptible to at least some broad spectrum insecticides, while some more specific products, such as Bts, appear to be less harmful.

Conservation

Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides as much as possible.

Commercial Availability

Not currently available commercially.

Beetles & Weevils

Solanaceae

Cantharis

Spanish fly. NO Coleoptera. Trituration of live insect. Tincture of the live insect.

CLINICAL

Sunburn, blisters on leaves and petals. Fertiliser burns, water droplet burns, after bush fires, windburn, sunburn. Bronze orange bug, rust chrysanthemum, pelargonium. Blister beetles on potatoes.

GENERAL

Cantharis upsets the generative sphere of the plant, causing burning. Consequently when the flowers appear burnt in hot weather, Cantharis is the remedy. It causes and cures an abundance of pollination from too long a stamen, readily absorbed by female flowers. Leaves and flower petals blister in the sun, especially after misting. Plant may have a burnt appearance. Fertiliser burns. After bush fires, to speed recovery and regrowth.

APPEARANCE

Burnt as after bushfire. Blisters on leaves and flower petals from fertiliser, water droplets or sunburn.

WATER NEEDS

High. Plant very thirsty. To replace sap lost in fires (Carbo vegetabilis).

FLOWERS AND FRUIT

Flowers abundant. As a reaction to fire, plant triggers off reproduction before it dies. Abundant pollen, good pollination. Fruits fail to mature, and drop before they set.

RELATIONS

Compare: Bombyx, Carbo veg.

Lebia grandis

Lebia beetle. Lebia grandis. NO Coleoptera: Carabidae.

CLINICAL:

Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata.

GENERAL:

Lebia grandis belongs to a large family of beetles containing approximately 40,000 species. The cosmopolitan genus Lebia contains approximately 450 species that are distributed primarily in the tropics. Forty-eight species occur in North America north of Mexico. The life history is known for less than 10 of the North American species. The adults are predators and first instar larvae are parasitoids of chrysomelid beetles.

Appearance

Lebia beetles are usually colourful as adults and range in size from 2.5 to 14 mm in length, depending on the species. Lebia grandis is the largest species in the genus in North America. Its body length ranges from 8.5 to 10.5 mm. Its head is usually pale (with a reddish tinge) as are its mouthparts, antennae, and thorax. Its abdomen is mostly black with a metallic blue, purple, or sometimes greenish lustre to the elytra (wing covers). Its legs are entirely pale with a reddish tinge.

Lebia grandis first instar larvae are pale to tan in coloration, heavily sclerotized (hardened), with well developed appendages, mouthparts and antennae, as is typical for carabid larvae. The body length ranges from 3 to 4 mm and the width is approximately 0.5 mm. The second instar larvae undergo a gradual degeneration of appendages, develop a distended body with much reduced sclerotization (a simple form of hypermetamorphosis), eventually bearing little resemblance to the first instars.

Habitat

Lebia grandis is distributed in the eastern to mid-eastern United States and into adjacent Canada. It has been found inhabiting arable land and its vicinity. It has been found on cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) and on horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) on arable land and neighboring open fields. Adults have also been observed on goldenrod (Solidago spp.).

Pests Attacked

Lebia grandis is an indigenous natural enemy of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. In fields of cultivated potato, adults are specialist predators of all immature stages of L. decemlineata. However, note that in no-choice feeding trials in the laboratory, L. grandis adults devoured the larvae of the asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi). [Neither adults nor larvae of C. asparagi are known to feed on potato plants.] L. grandis larvae are specialist ectoparasitoids of L. decemlineata mature larvae and pupae in the soil.

Lebia grandis has not been found in association with L. decemlineata on its ancestral host plant (Solanum rostratum) in central Mexico. It is conceivable that L. grandis was historically a specialist enemy of the closely related Leptinotarsa juncta on horse nettle in the south-eastern United States.

Life Cycle

Adults are diurnal under ideal conditions of high humidity and high temperature in late spring and summer in Maryland, USA. They have been seen on the upper-most foliage of potato plants feeding on the larvae of the Colorado potato beetle in Maryland. Adults are also nocturnal and have been captured in pitfall traps placed within plant rows during the growing season.

Adults emerge in late May to early June in Maryland, several weeks after the spring emergence of Colorado potato beetles. This ensures that prey (eggs and first to second instar larvae of L. decemlineata) are available for L. grandis adults, especially females, to feed on. It also provides adequate time for females to mate, then oviposit into soil near the base of the potato plants. Eggs are deposited singly into sandy soil. An adhesive substance (a possible secretion from the female’s accessory glands) covers each egg as it is laid, causing each to adhere to sand granules and become difficult to detect. A single female L. grandis can lay as many as 1300 eggs in its lifetime.

As first instar L. grandis emerge from the egg stage (within 2 weeks), they are very sensitive to dryness, but fairly well resistant to drowning. They readily search in the soil for L. decemlineata larvae about to pupate. First instars might follow an odour trail left behind by the L. decemlineata mature larvae, which burrow into the soil just prior to constructing their pupation chambers. In order to insure successful parasitism, L. grandis first instars must locate the L. decemlineata larvae before they seal their pupation cells. Apparently, L. grandis have a difficult time penetrating the sealed cells.

Once locating the host, the first instar larva attaches to the integument (skin) of the host with its mandibles and begins feeding. After moulting, the second instar L. grandis larva does not resume feeding. Metamorphosis to the pupal stage occurs soon thereafter, without any period of diapause. At 25°C, the adult emerges from the soil within 3 weeks from when it began feeding on its host. Two generations of L. grandis are probably produced each year in many populations in the south-eastern United States. Adults overwinter beneath the soil surface in or near potato fields.

Effectiveness

L. grandis have been considered by some to be the most promising indigenous enemy of L. decemlineata in North America. No large-scale field studies have been conducted to date. Under field conditions, L. grandis could be an effective predator/parasitoid of L. decemlineata on normal potato, when used in combination with other control strategies.

Foliar applications of Bt are probably compatible with the action of L. grandis. However, natural densities of L. grandis will not be great enough to effect control of this pest. Thus, augmenting the populations by releasing mass reared adults is one potential method for maximizing the effectiveness of this enemy of L. decemlineata. However, previous rearing experiments have resulted in only limited success in mass-producing L. grandis.

Conservation

In fields of normal (non-genetically engineered or transgenic) potato, the judicious use of pesticides will help conserve carabid populations. Timing of pesticide applications prior to spring emergence of adults would also help reduce unintentional killing of these natural enemies.

The growing of transgenic potatoes (containing the delta endotoxin derived from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. tenebrionis) that confer resistance to attacks from adults and larvae of the Colorado potato beetle presents a unique challenge to the conservation of L. grandis. In pure stands of transgenic potato, L. grandis adults will not persist due to the low availability of prey to feed on. This problem is magnified due to the fact that L. grandis larvae will not have its hosts, L. decemlineata mature larvae and pupae.

Pesticide Susceptibility

As far as known, Lebia grandis adults and larvae can be killed by organophosphate, carbamate, or pyrethroid insecticides when contacting residues on the ground or foliage of potato plants. However, spray formulations of Bt are probably much less harmful.

Commercial Availability

Not available commercially at this time.

About the author

V.D. Kaviraj

V.D. Kaviraj

V.D. Kaviraj is a Dutch homeopath, author, researcher and pioneer in Agrohomeopathy. He is also Vice President, World Homoeopathic Association UK Chapter. He has written textbooks on various aspects of homeopathy including "Homeopathy for Farm and Garden", which is now available in seven languages. The revised and enlarged edition with 376 pages has just been published : http://www.narayana-publishers.com/Homeopathy-for-Farm-and-Garden/Vaikunthanath-Das-Kaviraj/b8241