My battles with aphids, mealy bugs and caterpillars have been well-documented on this blog. It often feels as though I'm growing more bugs on my balcony than plants. And pest management without pesticides and chemicals can seem like an impossible task.
But there is help at hand.
I found a company in Queensland 'Bugs For Bugs' that breeds natural predators that only attack bad bugs not your plants. After a short phone consultation with a specialist I decided on purchasing 40 native Australian lady bugs (crytolaemus) which eat mealy bugs and 100 lacewing eggs (lacewings eat aphids, mealy bugs, caterpillar larvae) - all for about $40.00.
They arrived in little plastic cups filled with enough pollen and honey to keep them well-fed during their trip
The lacewing larvae needs to be put in or near the area of infestation so when they hatch they have an immediate food source.
I put them on the chili plant and in the eggplants.
The native lady bugs were parachuted into the watercress and tatsoi which have been battling hoards of aphids.
You sic 'em Rex!
It's a good idea to cover the bugs with some light muslin cloth on the first day. This encourages them to stay and find the food source.
You don't want your pest controllers flying off before they get to work!