Phytoseiulus (Pronounced: FY-TOE-SOO-LUS) persimilis is a predatory mite capable of eating large numbers of red spider mites, it moves amongst the plants to find its prey.
It is slightly larger than the red spider mite. With a pear shaped shiny red body, it has long legs and is a quick mover. Young stages are oval and very pale pink.
Phytoseiulus Life Cycle
Each Phytoseiulus can produce 50-60 eggs in 3 weeks. Egg to adult takes about 12 days at 20ºC (68ºF), and half that at 30ºC.
Many hundreds of spider mites will be eaten by a single Phytoseiulus during its life cycle, and it will eat all stages of red spider mite.
Phytoseiulus reproduces at twice the rate of red spider mite at 18ºC (64ºF) and above.
If all the red spider mites are eaten, Phytoseiulus will disperse and die.
- Phytoseiulus must be introduced at the first sign of red spider mite infestation. If there is a history of this pest in a greenhouse or conservatory it is advisable to check carefully for signs of red spider mite activity early in the spring.
- The air temperature must be around 20ºC (68ºF) for at least part of the day and humidity should be kept fairly high by damping down or misting. NB. The temperature must not fall below 10ºC (50ºF).
- Phytoseiulus can be used indoors or outside provided the temperature is sufficient.
- Phytoseiulus cannot be stored, it needs to be used immediately upon receipt.
- As a basic rule you should achieve control of red spider mite in about three weeks if the starting ratio of red spider mite to Phytoseiulus is no greater than 20 spider mite to 1 Phytoseiulus.
- You will know when Phytoseiulus is working as new foliage will not show signs of damage.
- Like all Defenders biological controls, Phytoseiulus is harmless to children, pets and wildlife.