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Organic Pest Control
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Encarsia formosa

Encarsia formosa is a chalcid wasp; one of many beneficial parasitic wasps. E. formosa is a very small wasp, under a millimetre or 0.04 inch in length. It is a very effective predator of greenhouse whitefly, and somewhat less effective against various other whiteflies. Each adult wasp will parasitize and kill several hundred whitefly larvae.

Encarsia is typically shipped as squares or strips glued to parasitized whitefly pupae; these should be hung as the wasps begin to emerge. Time this, as much as possible, to coincide with the first sign of whiteflies, with three more releases every two weeks after.

Aim for one parasite per ten plants for low-grade infestations, two per plant for moderate infestations, and five per plant for severe problems. For moderate to high-grade infestations, pre-treat with insecticidal soap or insecticidal oil. This series of four treatments is usually repeated yearly.

All wasps require optimum conditions to thrive. Temperatures over 21C/70F are ideal, as are good light and low to moderate humidity. Moisture, food, and shelter are required, as described under parasitic wasps. As with many other beneficials, Encarsia formosa is sensitive to insecticides.

See Also

Chalcid wasps
Insecticidal oil
Insecticidal soap
Organic insecticides
Parasitic wasps

Related Topics

Parasitic wasps

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