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Sound Horticulture Bug Blog

The Birds, the Bees and the Beetles

The Birds, the Bees and the Beetles

Need help with predatory beetles on your plants? Besides beneficial insects, don't forget about our feathered friends, the birds! One study found that insectivorous birds worldwide consume 400 - 500 million pounds of insects, millipedes and spiders every year. Someone is hungry for these pests, so why not welcome them into your garden?

Birds have an insatiable appetite and consume a wide range of insects. These include aphids, grasshoppers, beetles, grubs, earwigs, gnats and even mosquitoes. Among the insectivorous birds are swallows, nighthawks, flycatchers, warblers, bluebirds, robins, cardinals, thrushes, thrashers, jays and martins. What could be better than partnering with nature's pest control air force? There are many ways to create a refuge to which wild birds will flock.

Provide Habitat

Plant a diverse landscape with various layers. Include annuals, perennials, herbs, veggies and grasses. Trees and shrubs provide structure and shelter throughout the year and also offer nesting sites. Conifers can offer winter cover. Providing birdhouses and keeping them repaired and clean can attract specific types of birds.  Find nesting box plans for insect-eating birds here

Provide Water

Birds need fresh clean water for drinking and bathing. Keep wetlands intact with a vegetation border and provide water for birds in the form of birdbaths, misters and fountains. 

Provide Food Resources

Native plants are important as they provide seeds, berries, nuts and nectar. When adding plants, always consider if they could provide nutrients to the bird populations. Adding supplemental feeders can help. More food sources equals more birds!

Drop the Harmful Chemicals

Since Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, we have known how insecticides can move through the food chain, killing not only bugs, but also birds.  From agriculture to lawn care, the chemicals are out there. Choose less toxic options like mycoinsecticides, soaps and oils when dealing with pest problems. 

Keep Cats Inside

There's always a bigger fish. Birds eat bugs, and unfortunately cats eat birds. Domestic cats are estimated to kill 1 to 4 billion birds annually in the United States. It's now recommended to keep your cat indoors. Our feline friends could be adding to our pest problems.

Take a holistic approach when planning a garden, crop or flower farm. From the birds to the bees to the beetles, everything is connected. 

Find us at Sound Horticulture with specific regional recommendations.


How Birds Help Your Garden, Perky-Pet

Insectivorous Birds Consume Annually as much Energy as the City of New York, Phys.org

Help Swallows, Nighthawks and Flycatchers by Creating an Insect Buffet, Cornell Lab

Attracting Songbirds to Your Yard, BHG

A Year of Helping Birds, Avoid Harmful Pesticides, Chicago Bird Alliance

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The Mighty Predatory Mites

The Mighty Predatory Mites

These mighty mites are a great entry into using biocontrols. They ship well, are easy to use, and effective. But what is a mite? Mites are tiny arachnids with two body parts, four pairs of legs and sucking mouthparts. These extremely small creatures are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. They feed on other mites, tiny insects like young thrips and scale, as well as the eggs of insects and mites. Not all predatory mites are the same. This makes them perfect for a greenhouse environment or outdoor crops where change can be constant due to weather, culture, and pest pressure. They land into three categories.

Specialized Mites

These mites feed on a specific pest and will not accept alternative food sources. Phytoseiulus persimilis is a good example of a specialized mite. It feeds actively on the two-spotted spider mite and will disperse when the prey is gone. They tend to aggregate near their prey and will remain longer than other mites while prey is available.

  • Phytoseiulus persimilis—Bright red/orange, preys on two spotted spider mite. Can eat up to 20 pest eggs/nymphs per day. Optimum conditions are 68°-81°F with relative humidity (RH) over 60%. Active year round in the greenhouse. This mite can spread across plants when the leaves are touching, but movement is inhibited on plants with smooth leaves (Dianthus) and those with hairy leaves (tomato). 

Selective Mites

These mites prefer one type of prey but will also feed on other food sources such as other mites, insects and pollen. Because of this they can survive at low prey densities. There is crossover between selective mites and generalist mites.

  • Amblyseius cucumeris--pear shaped and light tan in color. Feeds on the immature stages of western flower thrips, pollen and pest mites including broad mite, cyclamen mite and tomato russet mite. Optimum conditions are 68°-77°F with RH 66-70%. Development from egg to adults slows significantly with low humidity. 
  • Amblyseius degenerans--feeds on thrips and pollen. Similar to cucumerisdegenerans is effective in “harassing” the larval stages of thrips, which may reduce the level of damage caused by thrips feeding. The predatory mite tolerates a lower relative humidity and has a higher population growth than N. cucumeris.
  • Neoseiulus californicus--feeds on spider mites, broad mites, cyclamen mites, russet mites and pollen. Well adapted to high temperatures and does best in warm humid conditions. Is an aggressive predator and will eat other beneficial mites. Has a slower population growth than persimilis and is less efficient at finding prey.
  • Neoseiulus fallacis-- shiny, tan to light orange with long legs. Feeds on spider mites, rust mites, small insects, and pollen. Can reproduce at lower temperatures than other predatory mites (48°-85°F RH over 50%) 14-60 day lifespan.
  • Galendromus occidentalis--pear shaped and white, red or brown depending on coloration of prey. Feeds on spider mites, other pest mites and pollen. Good for fruit trees and outdoor crops. Optimum conditions are 50°-115°F and RH 30-60%. Tolerates higher temperatures and a lower relative humidity better than P. persimilus.   

Generalist Mites

Feed me! These mites will feed on other mites, pollen and plant exudates. Cannibalism is prevalent and one release is often sufficient. This type of mite is more effective when pests are spread out as generalist mites disperse more rapidly.

  • Amblyseius swirskii--feeds on thrips and young stages of whitefly, pollen and fungi. It can consume up to 10 thrips, 10 whitefly nymphs or 20 whitefly eggs per day. Optimum temperatures are 77°-82°F with RH of 70%. Studies have shown that A. swirskii is more effective when thrips and whiteflies are present simultaneously.  
  • Amblyseius andersoni—feeds on numerous species of mites and thrips. Active under a wide range of temperatures, 43°-104°F making them suitable for early season as well as very hot conditions.
  • Stratiolaelaps scimitus lives in the top 1" of soil and feeds on fungus gnat larvae, young stages of thrips, springtails and root mealybug. Optimum soil temperatures 60°-75° Can survive mild winters but are inactive below 57°F. Compatible with beneficial nematode use.


The statistics about harassment from predatory mites are incredible! What a difference mites make! Just having beneficial mites on your crops will reduce pest pressure, even if they aren’t eating the pests. Use of predatory mites reduces:

  • Thrips feeding by 25%
  • Thrips larval survival by 50%
  • Thrips life span by 40%
  • Thrips egg laying by 70%
  • Thrips plant damage by 30%

As you think about your crops and growing conditions, pick the right mite and watch those pests disappear!

A Breakdown of Aphid Parasitoids and Predatory Mites by Dr. Raymond Cloyd, Grower Talks, 2017. 

Predatory Mites, Colorado State University

When Harassment is a good thing in your Greenhouse, Ontario Floriculture






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Lygus, The Tarnished Plant Bug

Lygus, The Tarnished Plant Bug

We're not lyin' when we say that Lygus is trouble! The tarnished plant bug is a threat to over half of cultivated crops in North America, including soft fruits, berries, orchard fruit, veggies, flowers, seed production and even conifer seedlings. 

After a winter of hiding out under dead leaves and rocks, Lygus emerges in the spring to begin feeding. It's attracted to many weeds, alfalfa and legumes. As they suck out plant juices, they secrete a toxic substance that kills plant cells, causing brown spots or misshapen fruit. Terminal shoots and flowers may also be destroyed. 

The tarnished plant bug is around 5mm long with brown, tan and green colors. The nymphs are bright green and also feed on plants throughout their development which lasts over 3-4 weeks. The females lay eggs in protected spaces of leaf petioles and leaf blades making them hard to target with an insecticide. There can be 2-3 generations a year so it's important to slow down that first generation! 

One of the most effective ways to do this is to remove weeds and any plant debris around your crops. This will reduce the overwintering populations and stop the spread. Always monitor plants in early spring and identify the pest.

Correct identification goes for all crops and all pests. Knowing what you are up against is critical for control options. Use University websites and extension agents to help with insect ID. Look-alikes for the tarnished plant bug are other plant bugs, seed bugs, false chinch bugs and the big-eyed bug (which is beneficial!) 

For instance,  knowing the difference between a beetle with a damaging soil-dwelling larval stage and the tarnished plant bug will help you decide whether to use beneficial nematodes or not. Yes for beetle grubs, no for Lygus

Scouting for pests in the spring will help you keep track of their populations in your fields. Keep a record of this over the seasons as this will also help with planning and pest management. Yellow sticky traps can help scouting for pests. Look for wounds, discoloration and malformed fruit on susceptible crops. 

Consider floating row covers over low-growing crops to provide a physical barrier to incoming plant bugs. Avoid planting crops that are favorable to Lygus, such as strawberries, close to clover or alfalfa, as the plant bugs can swoop in for the kill, being nearby. 

After removing weeds and debris and scouting in the spring, you may still have too many pests and have reached an economic threshold. Several natural pesticides can be quite effective. 

Azadiractin or neem oils act as insect growth regulators, antifeedants and ovipositional deterrents. These include Azaguard and Molt-X.

Mycoinsecticides containing entomopathogenic fungal spores. These include Botanigard, Mycotrol, NoFly, Bioceres and PFR 97.  

Oils and soaps can be effective. Circadian Sunrise is a corn/peppermint oil that suffocates insects. M-Pede insecticidal soap and Suffoil-X are more options.

Grandevo is a broad spectrum bioinsecticide containing Chromobacterium labeled to target Lygus.

For a quick knockdown, use Pyganic with Pyrethrins which are derived from Chrysanthemums. Surround WP is another option. This contains kaolin clay which acts as a mechanical barrier, irritant and disrupts the beetle’s ability to find host plants.

A natural enemy of Lygus, the parasitic wasp Peristenus digoneutis, was imported from France in the 1980's and released for control of Lygus in alfalfa crops in New Jersey. It has since spread throughout the Northeast. Common predators, such as ladybeetles, spined soldier bugs, spiders and insidious flower bugs also prey on nymphs so watch those pesticides applications and keep the good bugs alive!

Augmentative releases of Orius, the minute pirate bug, and green lacewing larvae, if timed correctly, can also have an impact on the nymph populations. Release weekly or as needed during the nymphal stages. Orius at .1/square foot and lacewing larvae 1-5 larvae/square foot.  

Orius insidiosus |  sound-horticulture.myshopify.com
Here is a good video about tarnished plant bug on strawberry crops from Alberta Agriculture.


Contact us at Sound Horticulture anytime for specific recommendations for your region. The future is not tarnished, but bright!

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Manage Flies Naturally This Season

Manage Flies Naturally This Season

Biocontrol doesn’t have to stop at the greenhouse. There are many natural enemies raised in insectaries that are used in landscapes, orchards and even for fly control of livestock and farm animals. Nuisance flies on horses and cattle can be a big problem, and fly parasites are raised and sold specifically to help with this.

Fly parasites are tiny parasitoid wasps that attack and lay eggs inside of filth fly pupae. The three wasps that make up the fly parasites are Spalangia cameroni, Muscidifurax zaraptor, and  Muscidifurax raptorellus. They can lay up to five eggs inside of one pupa, which is killed as new wasps develop. Since flies reproduce at a faster pace than fly parasites, repeated applications are necessary throughout the summer.

Fly Parasites |  sound-horticulture.myshopify.com   

Fly parasites are only part of a complete fly management program. Setting fly traps and good manure management are also important. Fly parasites can travel up to 150 feet from their release points, which should be in the same locations that flies reproduce (manure piles, food waste, compost, etc..). It’s best to release fly parasites before the fly season, giving the fly parasites a chance to attack the developing flies and prevent an outbreak. Keep applying fly parasites every 2-4 weeks, depending on your needs.

We’ll help you evaluate your individual situation and keep you ahead of the flies!  For every large animal, you will need approximately 1,000 fly parasites. Once we create a schedule, you can count on us to keep you organized throughout the season. Email or call us today!


Release Rates 

Horses--7,500 per every 5 horses, applied every 2 to 4 weeks

Cattle, Bison--7,500 per every 5 animals, applied every 1 to 3 weeks

Goats, Sheep, Dogs--7,500 per every 15 animals, applied every 2 to 4 weeks

Miniatures, Burros--7,500 per every 10 animals, applied every 2 to 4 weeks

Swine--7,500 per every 10 animals, applied every 1 to 2 weeks

Chickens, Turkeys (on wire)--7,500 per every 2,000 birds, applied every 1 to 2 weeks

Ostriches, Emus--7,500 per every 15 birds, applied every 2 to 4 weeks

Llamas, Alpacas--7,500 per every 10 animals, applied every 2 to 4 weeks

Sound Horticulture

(360) 656-6680


Using parasitoids for fly control

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Harness the Power of Kelp

Harness the Power of Kelp

Ascophyllum nodosum, Norwegian kelp or Rockweed has long been studied and utilized as a powerful plant biostimulant for horticultural crops. It’s an integral part of many organic fertilizer blends and especially important at formative times in the life of a plant (rooting, vegetative, flowering, fruiting). Using kelp products goes hand in hand with a good biological program.

Ascophyllum nodosum lives in the intertidal zone, a place of extreme variations in temperature, salinity and light. Seaweeds, as compared to terrestrial plants, produce different chemical compounds which assist in survival in these habitats.

The applications of different extracts of A. nodosum are repeatedly demonstrated to improve the growth and productivity of crops through various modes of action. Kelp can also increase a plants tolerance to abiotic stress (drought, salinity, temperature), improve plant defenses against pathogens, and enhance soil health.

Following are several kelp products that are available from Sound Horticulture. 

Stimplex is a liquid Ascophyllum nodosum PGR that triggers a plant response equivalent to 100ppm cytokinin. It improves growth and development of plants by working at the cellular level to modulate the production of naturally occurring plant hormones and activating pathways that increase stress tolerance, stimulate root growth, and improves nutrient uptake. This all leads to greater yields and better-quality crops.

Maxicrop® Soluble Seaweed Powder is a fully soluble kelp formulation (0-0-17) made from Ascophyllum nodosum. This seaweed from Norway is used as a supplement to a fertilizer program. A little goes a long way. This biostimulant is a foliar and a soil nutrient.  Great for hardening off plants, thickening cell walls, and assisting with plant and root branching, flower set and more.

Acadian Marine Plant Extract Powder is derived exclusively from Ascophyllum nodosum, and backed by decades of research with proven results on multiple crops. Applications throughout the season are scientifically proven to improve early plant development, aid in abiotic stress tolerance, and ultimately lead to increased crop quality and yield. Acadian soluble powder (0.5-0-17) is a great supplement for a balanced plant nutritional program. Known to improve plant health, increase growth potential, provide micronutrients and PGRs. Enhances stress resistance and recovery due to drought, salinity, and temperature swings. Naturally assists with root growth, nutrient uptake, yield, and hormone production. Suitable for foliar and root drench applications

Numerous researchers have proven the effectiveness of Ascophyllum nodosum, as seen in the graphic below. Have you seen the effectiveness of kelp applications? Tell us below. Harness the power of the sea and try a kelp product on your crops today!

Ascophyllum nodosum extract (ANE) improves the growth of several crops by different modes of action.



Ascophyllum nodosum-Based Biostimulants: Sustainable Applications in Agriculture for the Stimulation of Plant Growth, Stress Tolerance, and Disease Management REVIEW article, Front. Plant Sci., 28 May 2019, Sec. Plant Nutrition, Volume 10 - 2019 |

Acadian Plant Health, Sea Beyond, https://acadianplanthealth-na.com/the-science/

UMass Extension, What are Biostimulants? https://ag.umass.edu/greenhouse-floriculture/fact-sheets/what-are-biostimulants


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5 Reasons why we don’t sell ladybugs

Ladybugs are well known and loved by many people all over the world. They are a sign of good fortune and health. They are welcome in gardens as a natural predator of aphids and other pests. Then why is it not a good idea to purchase them for biocontrol? Following are the five top reasons why we don’t sell ladybugs for biocontrol.

1. Almost all ladybugs are harvested from the wild, and it is against the law to harvest wildlife without a permit. The two main species are the convergent ladybug, Hippodamia convergens, and the Asian ladybug, Harmonia axyridis. In the future, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife hope to have regulations on ladybug harvest, but at this point, no laws exist.

2. Ladybugs can vector disease and introduce parasites. Transporting an insect caught in the wild to a garden or greenhouse can expose the native insects to harmful parasites or pathogens, shortening their lifespan and reducing their productivity.

3. Ladybugs don’t stick around. Ladybugs are harvested during the winter months in California while they hibernate or diapause. When they are released into a new environment, they inherently migrate out of the area within 1-2 days. This is built into their system: hibernate, migrate, feed and then lay eggs, in this order. Inherently disperse.

4. Disruption of native habitat. No one knows the effects of removing millions of ladybugs from the wild each year. What happens to the native wildlife populations that depend on ladybugs for food? What happens to the ecosystem? One study suggests that the removal of ladybugs from the California foothills each year could lead to pest problems for farmers in the central valley, thus increasing the use of pesticides (Hagen, Kenneth S. 1954).

5. Competition with local beetles and other insects for food. It seems like there are always too many aphids, but introducing a wild species could disrupt the native populations, robbing them of valuable resources.

There are many other beneficial insects that are available from Sound Horticulture for biocontrol. These insects are raised in insectaries and have proven effective for many growers over the years. The most likely replacement for the ladybug is the lacewing larvae, Chrysoperla rufilabris, another generalist predator. Lacewing larvae can consume up to 200 soft-bodied insects per day and will not fly away. They are sold as eggs, larvae or adults. Delphastus pusillus is a ladybird beetle that preys on whitefly, Stethorus punctillum is a tiny ladybird beetle that preys on spider mites and Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is a predator beetle for mealybugs.

Cultivating a wide variety of pollen-rich blooms will attract ladybugs, as well as using a pheromone lure, Predalure, to bring in the beneficial insects. Please consider the risks when purchasing ladybugs online. Insects are essential for our survival. As E.O. Wilson once said “It’s the little things that run the world” 

Potential Risks of Releasing Convergent Ladybeetles, Xerces Society

Predalure package

Lacewing larvae feeding





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Black Vine Weevil

Black Vine Weevil

Are you growing wine grapes, hops, Camellia or rhododendron and notice now, or last season, notching on leaf margins? Feeding damage of buds and flowers? It could be the insect pest, Black Vine Weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) which is spread across the United States and feeds on over 200 plant species. Other susceptible plants include yew, hemlock, begonia, cyclamen, fuchsia, impatiens, primrose, epimedium, bergenia and sedum.

The white c-shaped larvae live underground, feeding on roots, while the dark colored adults sneak onto the plant at night to feed, returning to the soil and leaf litter to hide during the day. This nocturnal behavior makes them difficult to control once established. They also lack natural predators, and the females reproduce parthenogenically, so populations can grow very quickly if not checked. Prevention should be the goal for management.

BVW overwinter in pupal cases in the soil until the adults emerge in late May to early July. They feed on plant material for around a month before they begin laying eggs. The females then deposit several eggs each day into the soil or leaf litter near acceptable host plants. They can lay up to 200 eggs during their 3-month lifetime. After 2-3 weeks the larvae hatch and feed on plant rootlets all summer until they build a pupal case to start the process again. In the warmth of a greenhouse the adults may emerge in March or April. While many crops are attacked by both adults and larvae, some crops may be attacked by adults or larvae alone. There is usually one generation each year.

Black Vine Weevil larvae

Monitoring is a key to successful management. Due to their nocturnal behavior and subterranean habitat, growers may not notice this destructive pest until the they have suffered from significant crop losses. Scout for adults under leaf debris or in soil under benches in the evening. For container plants, remove susceptible varieties from pots and examine the root systems for larvae. When located, remove adults by hand.

Site selection and physical barriers are helpful in controlling adult weevils which are flightless and travel short distances. Wrapping sticky traps or tanglefoot around base of stems will restrict adult movement.

One strategy for vine weevil management is to reduce excess soil moisture, which increases egg and larval survival. Remove heavy mulches and do not water plants unless necessary to create an unsuitable habitat.

Two species of entomopathogenic nematodes are effective for weevil control, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora andSteinernema kraussei. These work across a wide range of crops and potting media. Sufficient water must be used during application for the nematodes penetrate the soil and reach the root zone. S. kraussei are effective between 40ºF to 86ºF while H. bacteriophora works best in soil temperatures above 70ºF. Multiple applications may be required, depending on the extent of the larval infestation and their age. S. kraussei availability is sporadic, often with a three week lead time, so plan now!

LalGuard M52 is also effective for weevil control. It contains the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum. Once this product is drenched into the soil it comes in contact with the insect. The spores will then attach, germinate and grow, causing the larva and the adults to die within 3-7 days.  LalGuard M52 requires temperature above 59ºF to infect vine weevil larvae.

AzaGuard and Azatin O can also be used for Black Vine Weevil management. The active ingredient, azadirachtin, has been shown to reduce oviposition and increase laying of nonviable eggs. It can also increase larval mortality by up to 46%.

Protect your crops from Black Vine Weevil today by creating a plan. Scout for this pest in late Spring. Place sticky traps around the base of valuable plants. Drench with nematodes March through May and late summer through Fall. Rotate using LalGuard M52 with Azadirachtin products to decrease this damaging pest. Contact Sound Horticulture for more information on how to deal with Black Vine Weevil in your crop. Prevention is the best cure. 

Black Vine Weevil

Vine Weevil, Otiorhynchus sulcatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Management: Current State and Future Perspectives, Annual Review of Entomology January 2022, by Tom W. Pope and Joe M. Roberts

Black Vine Weevil (and Other Root Weevils), Ohio State University Extension, by David J. Shetlar and Jennifer E. Andon, Dept. of Entomology. April 20, 2015.  

Weeding out the Weevil, Greenhouse Management, by Raymond Cloyd, January 2015.

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Anystis, No Ordinary Mite

Anystis, No Ordinary Mite

One Mite to rule them all, One Mite to find them, One Mite to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. Just like the One Ring of Lord of the Rings fame, Anystis baccarum, has the potential to become a powerful tool for growers everywhere. 

The strength of Anystis lies in its feeding preferences...everything! This mite will feed on aphids large and small, thrips, whitefly, scale, leafhoppers, spider mites, echinothrips, mealybug, and root aphids. It not only attacks the vulnerable young stages of these pest, but will also successfully capture the mobile adult stages. If prey is scarce it can also sustain itself on pollen and supplemental food such as Ephestia eggs and Artemia cysts. 

Anystis baccarum has just been released this year to the United States market. As a new biocontrol agent, research is still ongoing. We encourage growers to trial Anystis in their crops and share their results with us. Researchers at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario partnered with Applied Bio-nomics in Victoria, British Columbia to develop a breeding system, grower trials and packaging. Anystis was launched to the Canadian market in January 2022. 

“Anystis is an exciting new predator. It appears to be a true generalist and is not intimidated by some of the toughest pest’s natural defenses, such as wax and webbing. It is easy to see and scout, helping growers see their activity. And, it is always hungry, a very good trait,” said Brian Spencer, President of Applied Bio-nomics Ltd.

Also named the Crazee mite, or Whirligig mite, Anystis runs rapidly and erratically across leaf surfaces as well as exposed concrete. Adults are relatively large in size compared to other predatory mites, roughly twice the size of an adult Phytoseiulus persimils. They are bright orange or red in color and the adults have noticeable hairs on their legs and abdomen. 

Anystis can establish and persist in crops. Optimum conditions are 70ºF and over 70% RH. Eggs and larval stages prefer moist, warm conditions, but will still develop in temperatures as low as 50ºF. The complete life cycle takes approximately 4 weeks from egg to adult. Anystis mites have one larval and three nymphal stages before reaching maturity. All stages are predatory and all mites are female. Adults live up to 3 weeks during which they continually feed. Eggs are laid in the substrate several times throughout the adult phase in small clusters of 15-30 eggs.

Anystis has been used successfully on many different crops, including Cannabis, ornamentals and fruit orchards, but, according to Rose Buitenhuis and Taro Saito in the January 18, 2022 article Anystis, Building a New Predatory Mite from Potential to Product, "Although Anystis is found in many types of plants in the wild, including herbaceous, grass, shrubs, and trees, our preliminary observations indicate that Anystis may not establish in tomatoes, due to the granular trichomes on the stems, or in plants with smooth and slippery stems like roses and poinsettias." 

Anystis baccarum is well suited for both outdoor applications in gardens, nurseries and field crops as well as indoors, in greenhouses and on house plants. 

Intraguild predation is not has worrisome as one would think. According to Brian Spencer, president of Applied Bio-nomics, "When we first started working with Anystis, we were afraid that it would break our rule of only selling compatible products. But, to our amazement, when presented with our available products, we found that it was remarkably well behaved.

It stepped over Aphidoletes larvae and didn’t seem to notice Encarsia or fallacis. It actually does eat cucumeris, but when we consider that the cucumeris is an effective food supplement for Anystis, the combination is extremely cost effective and safer, when compared to providing supplemental pollen, or other food mites.

What we have noticed is that Anystis likes the “sport” of tackling adults. With thrips, they lunge at and catch adult thrips, leaving the larvae for the smaller predatory mites. With whitefly, we only see them walking around with adults in their mouths. They don’t appear to recognize the scale as food. 

Even if they eat persimilis as easily as spider mite, the typical ratio is about 50 spider mite to 1 persimilis, so, the odds are they will eat more spider mites and not affect the dynamic, as californicus does by dramatically preferring persimilis eggs, over spider mite."

Anystis baccarum

For best results, use with other beneficial insects and mites. Aphid control is best achieved with preventative applications of Crazee Mites as needed, and regular preventative releases of Aphidoletes every three weeks during peak season. 

Spider mite control is best with Amblyseius fallacis introduced preventatively at a rate of 2 mites/sq. ft., followed by a Crazee Mite application of .25 mites/sq. ft. 

Thrips control is best achieved with an introductory rate of Crazee Mites, .25/sq. ft. and reapplied as needed, with regular releases of Amblyseius cucumeris every 4-5 weeks or as needed. 

Most growers have found a good preventative rate to be .25 mites/sq. ft, however this number may change based on crop, pest and/or the environment. Greater rates will result in quicker knock-down.

Crazee Mites come in packages of 50, 250 or 1,000 adults with wood shavings as the carrier. Visit Sound Horticulture for more information of call us today to order the One Mite to Rule them All!   (360) 656-6680 



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Benefits of Mycorrhizae

Benefits of Mycorrhizae

What is the role of mycorrhizal fungi in crop production?

This symbiotic relationship between fungi and the plant’s roots allow plants to take in more nutrients and water from the soil. Both the plant and fungus benefit from this relationship and neither face any ill effects from this exchange. The mycorrhizal fungi are reimbursed with carbon from the plant, this is a byproduct of photosynthesis, which the fungus is unable to fix on its own. These carbohydrates in the form of lipids in sugar help the fungi grow and reproduce. The mycorrhizal hyphae in turn, extend the root system, greatly enhancing the root’s access to nutrients and water. Storing these essentials for needed moments helps keep crops on a smooth trajectory toward the finish line!

When should I apply mycorrhizae?

Most crop systems benefit greatly from these natural relationships, which to a great degree also help protect plants from drought and other stressors. The critical time to apply mycorrhizal inoculants is as early in the crop cycle as possible. Field growers may water in transplants with soluble powders, other growers will prefer to add to the planting hole at time of transplant. If you have never used mycorrhizae before - this could be a great season to see for yourself, the difference they can make!

Apply during transplant with Big Foot Gold and Big Foot Granular. If you are looking to apply mycorrhizae to existing potted plants or gardens, Big Foot Concentrate and Big Foot Gold can both be mixed with water and applied as a solution. 

Mykos Gold Granular can be used in seed beds, under cuttings, blended into potting media or sprinkle onto roots at the time of transplant. This allows for flexibility after a crop is planted. It can be sprayed onto bare roots, used as a root dip, drenched into porous soils, hydromulched, or blended into potting media. 

Mykos Wettable Powder can be applied as a solution to established gardens. 

What is the shelf life of mycorrhizae?

The shelf life of Big Foot Mycorrhizae has been shown to still be viable after 5 years of correct storage. Here at Sound Horticulture, we keep fresh stock of mycorrhizae and store it responsibly in cool dark storage to ensure viability.

How does mycorrhizae affect the soil?

  • Resistance to compaction
  • Resistance to erosion (water/wind)
  • Better root development
  • Higher microbial activity and nutrient cycling

What are the different mycorrhizae products that are offered by Sound Horticulture? 

Big Foot Mycorrhizae

Big Foot Brand

Big Foot Gold Mycorrhizae + Beneficial bacteria 

Endomycorrhizae 400 propagules/gram:
- G. aggegatum/etunicatum/intraradices/mosseae: 100 propagules/gram of each

Beneficial Bacteria - 950 million CFU/gram
- Bacillus subtilis 350 million cfu/gram, B. megaterium 200 million cfu/gram, B. licheniformis 200 million cfu/gram, B. simplex 200 cfu/gram

Big Foot Granular (for transplant, must make direct contact with roots)

Endomycorrhizae 66 propagules/gram
- G. intraradices
- Soil amendments
- Worm castings
- Softwood biochar
- Kelp
- Humic Acid

Big Foot Concentrate (for water in)

Endomycorrhizae 80 propagules/gram

- G. aggregatum 20 propagules/gram
- G. etunicatum 20 propagules/gram
- G. intraradices 20 propagules/gram
- G. mosseae 20 propagules/gram

Big Foot Root Boost (Azospirillum - nitrogen fixing bacteria)

We are happy to share samples of each of these products if you would like to try them out.


Mykos Gold mycorrhizae

Mykos Gold

RTI mycorrhizae

- Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF): Rhizophagus intraradices 300 propagules/gram

- Call to discuss shipping method and deals on bulk orders

Mykos Gold Granular is most often used as a biostimulant, incorporated into the soil medium or planting hole, at the earliest stage of growth. The mycorrhizae are then able to grow with the plants’ roots, greatly expanding the root network. Use in seed beds, under cuttings, blended into potting media or sprinkle onto roots at the time of transplant. The goal is to create physical contact between the inoculant and growing roots. The granular product is specially formulated to provide maximum benefits to agricultural and horticultural crops.

Mykos Wettable Powder has a higher spore concentration and is convenient to mix with water and inoculate young plants. This allows for flexibility after a crop is planted. It can be sprayed onto bare roots, used a root dip, drenched into porous soils, hydromulched, or blended into potting media. Use higher rates for propagation or high-stress circumstances. The goal is to create physical contact between the inoculant and growing roots. Mykos Gold WP provides significant biological benefits, helps conserve natural resources, and creates an environmental balance between soil, plants, and beneficial microbes.



Figure 1. P uptake of the plant via the plant pathway or mycorrhizal pathway. Abbreviations: Extraradical mycelium of the fungus (ERM), vesicles (V) and spores (S) of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus.

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Blacksmith BioScience Showcase


Exciting biological, OMRI listed, safe for pollinators, and leaves minimal residue. 

While biologically based pesticides, fungicides, and biostimulants are not brand new, here we want to feature some of our favorite products. Keep in mind that sometimes products may be labeled as biological “inoculums” without the EPA registration as a bio fungicide or pesticide. The microbes in these products are very well researched and highly effective aides in plant production. Take a stroll through this special selection of highlighted items that our growers are especially keen on! Please feel free to reach out to us for more information and research behind these fascinating organisms!

Now is the perfect time to begin planning which beneficial fungi or microbes will be a part of your IPM/nutrient regime. Applying these Blacksmith products preventively in early spring can deliver the best results! Some soil microbes and fungi included in these products can begin activity in soil temperatures as low as 45ºF.

Blacksmith Bioscience Mission:

“Blacksmith BioScience is a microbial development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies in order to increase our understanding of the biology that controls and assists plant fertility. We use that knowledge to develop agricultural products that maximize existing soil nutrients, reduce fertilizer usage, increase yield and improve plant nutrition. Our long term goal is to significantly reduce harmful fertilizer and chemical runoff in ecological systems around the world through use of our patented, unique biofertilizers.”

PHOTO - Western Flower Thrip infected with NoFly

Product Overview: Information, ingredients, additional benefits, and application rates


Armory SP is a high concentration of several select beneficial plant bacteria. These powerful species of Bacillus and Streptomyces are all scientifically proven plant growth, yield and vigor promoting bacteria, each with is own unique function that compliments the entire group and provides maximum aid to the plant. In addition, Armory’s proprietary formulation provides a ready food source to the Bacillus and Streptomyces strains, allowing them to thrive in the environment and provide the maximum potential benefits to the plant.

Beneficial bacteria species including:

Bacillus subtilus (4 distinct strains)

Bacillus amyloliquefaceans

Bacillus lichiniformis

Streptomyces griseus

Features and benefits:

-Solubilizes phosphorus

-Makes iron and manganese more readily available

-Increases nutrient cycling

-Not phytotoxic and no residue

-100% water soluble – no clogging

-OMRI listed and CDFA organic certified

-Available in 2 oz bag, 1 lb bag, or 12.5 lb pail

Directions for use:

Armory can be used as a drench, liquid feed, irrigation, spray, or seed treatment. It is compatible with fungicides, insecticides, fertilizers and biological stimulants. Armory is 100% soluble and does not require constant agitation to keep it suspended in solution once it has been mixed. It will not clog machinery.

Application rate:

Soil drench – Use 2-8 oz of Armory per acre. Apply in the greenhouse during transplant or through precision irrigation.

Foliar Spray – Use 1-8 oz of Armory in 50-100 gallons of water pre acre. Apply to all areas of foliage and plant to wet just prior to run off. Reapply every 7-14 days depending need.

Hydroponics systems – Use 1-4 tsp per gallon. Reapply each time nutrient solution is changed.




NoFly BioInsecticide:

NoFly WP is a highly effective biological insecticide. it is a concentration of the active ingredients Isaria fumosoroseus strain FE 9901, a naturally occurring insecticidal microorganism. This aggressive fungus is a natural predator to select insect pests while non-pathogenic to beneficials. NoFly WP is effective against whtieflies, aphids, thrips, mealybugs, and other insects.

Active ingredient:

Isaria fumosoroseus strain FE 9901

Features and benefits:

-Biological pesticide

-Attacks pests at all life stages from egg to adult

-Minimal residue issues

-Ideal for integrated pest management

-Effective against whiteflies, aphids, thrips, mealybugs, and other insects

-Safe for beneficial insects

-OMRI listed for organic use

-Available in 8 oz bag, 2 lb bag, or 20 lb pail

-6 month shelf life at room temperature, can extend to 18 months when refrigerated

-Isaria fumosoroseus FE 9901 is not a plant pathogenic organism and does not produce signficant detrimental effects on beneficial insects, including bees and bumblebees.

Directions for use:

NoFly WP consists of spores of an entomopathogenic fungus that are susceptible to high temperatures, dryness, and ultraviolet radiation. Avoid these potential adverse effects by applying the product in late afternoon, in the early morning and at mid to high relative humidity. Use sufficient water to ensure thorough coverage of the foliage including underside of leaves.

Application rate:

1 lb per 100 gallons of solution

MegaPhos Biostimulant:

Active ingredient:

-Bacillus megaterium HM87, a gram postive, rod shaped, endospore forming bacteria

Features and benefits:

-Solubilizes phosphorus and makes it available to plants even in high calcium soils

-Produces metabolites beneficial to plant growth, yield, and root production

-Lactic acid, gluconic acid, citric acid, succinic acid and enzymes that help solubilize the fixed phosphorus into an exchangeable form that is usable by plants

-These organic acids, through their hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, chelate the cations (mainly calcium) bound to phosphate converting them into the soluble forms

-Increases crop yield

-Creates a more developed root system and top growth

-Enhances plant vigor

-OMRI listed and CDFA organic certified

-Available in 2 oz bag, 1 lb bag, 12.5 lb pail

Directions for use:

-Soil incorporation, seed treatment, soil application, or foliar spray

-Drench, liquid feed, irrigation

-Compatible with fungicides, insecticides, fertilizers, and biological stimulants

-100% soluble and does not need constant agitation to keep it suspended in a solution. It will not clog machinery

Application rate:

-Soil drench – use 1-8 oz of Megaphos per acre. Apply in the greenhouse, during transplant or through precision irrigation

-Hydroponic systems – Use 1/16-1/4 tsp per gallon – Reapply each time nutrient solution is changed


Nitryx Biostimulant:

Nitryx is a high concentration of proprietary beneficial bacteria, Paenibacillus polymyxa strain P2B-2R, on a 100% water soluble powder. This powerful new technology effectively fixates nitrogen from the atmosphere and transfer the plant, thereby making fertilizer use much more efficient.

Active ingredient:

Paenibacillus polymyxa strain P2B-2R

Features and benefits:

-Fixates nitrogen

-Increases yield

-Enhances fertilizers

-Encourages root growth

-No pre-harvest or re-entry intervals

-Safe and natural

-100% water soluble

-Available in 4 oz bag or 1 lb bag

Directions for use:

Foliar spray or soil drench

-Use 1-2 teaspoons of product per gallon of water as general dilution

-Reapply every 1-8 weeks

Application rate:

2-12 oz per acre


Tenet BioFungicide:

Tenet is a biofungicide containing two species of the naturally occurring Trichoderma fungi. Tenet is used to prevent and manage soil-borne diseases like Fusarium spp., Phytophthora spp., Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp., Sclerotinia spp., Thielaviopsis spp., Vetricillium spp., and more by colonizing the crop's roots and surrounding soil, acting as a barrier against infective disease.

Active ingredients:

Trichoderma gamsii and Trichoderma asperellum

Features and benefits:

-Effective aginst root rot diseases such as Fusarium, Pythium, Phytopthora, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia and other soil borne disease

-Colonizes plants roots and lives symbiotically with the plant

-Compatible with mycorrhizal fungi, beneficial inoculants and other biologicals

-The two unique beneficial fungi work in complimentary temperature ranges:

T. gamsii germinates at 44ºF and T. asperellum germinates at 53ºF

Both are most active between 75º and 86ºF

-OMRI listed for organic use

-Available in 1 lb bag

Directions for use:

-For use as a soil drench, soil spray, irrigation or in hydroponic systems

-For best results apply as a preventative

-Applying early in the season is optimum but Tenet may be applied at any stage of the crop cycle

Application rates:

2.5 – 7.5 oz per 100 gallons of water




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