Delite

Fight Red Scale pests

Grab some beneficial insects and start the program.

Insectary Guide

Into the insectary

Inside you will find the production space ground for millions of beneficial insects, Aphytis melinus, one weapon used to protect our¬†citrus trees from the California Red Scale pest and also reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides used in our orchards. We’re here to provide you with a way to control your own pest problems and assist as you design a program that best fits your needs.

Maturation

Oleandar scale is used to raise our beneficial insects. Grown on banana or butternut squash, scale mature within 45-55 days. Scale rooms are kept dark to ensure uniform distribution across the surface of the squash.

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Scale Lifecycle

Sweeping the crawlers
Scale crawlers congregate along the shadow line created by the design of the room. This allows for careful collection of the crawlers, which takes place on a daily basis due to the crawler’s immediate requirements of a food source.

Infesting the squash
All squash used in the insectary must be free of pesticides and potentially harmful residues. A clean surface is critical to effective scale infestation. A shelf life of 80 days at 70-80 F requires a squash that is fully mature and free from infections. Crawlers are sprinkled evenly over the entire surface area of the squash.

Maturation
After infestation the squash are put on racks to allow for scale maturity. Within 24-36 hours the scale have attached themselves to the squash where they will remain through the maturation process. This will take approximately 45-55 days.

Aphytis melinus is the primary parasite of the California Red Scale.

Collection

Adult Aphytis and scale infested squash are placed in sealed cabinets for 24 hours where Aphytis deposit their eggs into the scale bodies. The squash are removed from the cabinets and held 13-15 days while the Aphytis larvae mature. They are then returned to the cabinets and upon emergence from the scale, mature Aphytis are collected. They are measured and five milliliters (100,000) is divided into two cups for distribution in the field.

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Aphytis Lifecycle

Inoculation
The scale infested squash are placed in sealed cabinets. Mature Aphytis are released within the cabinet and remain for approximately 24 hours. During this time eggs are deposited within the scale body. A small amount of honey is supplied wihtin the cabinet as a food source for the Aphytis.

Maturation
The squash covered with the inoculated scale is removed from the cabinet and placed on racks for approximately 12-14 days. During this time the Aphytis matures into a pupae prior to emergence.

Collection
The squash are then moved back into cabinets in anticipation of emergence. After emergence, carbon dioxide is introduced into the cabinet thus depriving the Aphytis of oxygen and rendering them immobile. This allows for transfer into canisters prior to measurement.

Field Release
The industry standard developed by the university is 100,000 Aphytis per 5 milliliters. These Aphytis are either poured into cups for distribution in the field or placed into the inoculation cabinets for sustained future production.

Early season releases are critical to allow Aphytis to build populations in the orchard.

Let them fight for you.