Derived from the Greek words "hydro" meaning water and "ponos" meaning labour, it is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. Terestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only, or in an inert medium such as perlite, gravel or mineral wool.
Growing plants using hydroponic systems is becoming more popular than traditional growing methods due to many advantages;

* You can extend your growing season and the development of the crop is greatly accelerated
* Higher crop yields and faster growth combined with relative freedom from soil diseases
* Consistency in crops and excellent quality of produce
* Considerable reduction in growing area which means more efficient use of space
* Hydroponics can be used in places where oridinary agriculture or gardening is impossible
* Less labour, less cost and no hard manuel work
* Some plants can be raised out of season
* Better control of crops
* No dirt reduces unpleasant smells 
* Weeds are practically non-existant

Plants grown hydroponically are not inferior to naturally reared ones in point of flavor, nor have analyses shown any deficiency in vitamin content.

Unfortunately the same elements of heat and nutrients that make hydroponic systems so attractive, also encourages the accelerated development of pest insects. In order to combat the pest problems in hydroponic operations, the monitoring must be increased so that any infestation is identified at the earliest possible moment.
When the infestation is identified it must then be treated very aggressively. The best treatment method is to introduce a larger number of beneficial insects than might be needed in a traditional outdoor growing setting. In some situations, if the initial introduction of beneficial insects does not cure the problem, a second application may be required. The Bug Factory has specially packaged beneficial insects in larger sizes for the hydroponic grower.

Spidermite Destroyer – Persimilis

“ For ultimate plant protection, Persimilis wins the election”

Spidermites are one of the most common pests in hydroponics’ crops. One of the sure signs of a heavy spidermite infestation is the webbing found between the leaves. Spidermites suck the moisture out of the plants and will stunt or wilt new growth. The key to solving your spidermite problems is to detect them early and to treat the plant with an insatiable predatory mite by the name of Persimilis. These red colored little eating machines chase down spidermites and devour both the adults as well as the eggs.

A container of 1000 persimilis will treat about 20-30 plants. This is one of the easiest beneficial insects to release. Evenly distribute the bean leaves from the package over the infected plants. Let the bean leaves dry out over the next couple of days. The persimilis will migrate from the bean leaves onto your plants and start hunting down spidermites. Once the original bean leaves covered in persimilis dry out you can remove them from your crop and discard. It is important that for indoor applications, that you maintain at least 60% humidity. This will encourage the persimilis to reproduce, and your spidermite problem will be controlled more quickly and cost effectively. An easy way to increase humidity is to purchase an inexpensive humidifier, or if possible, frequently mist your plants.

Nematodes for Fungus Gnats
Soil Pest Destroyer -- Nematodes (Indoor)

“Be loyal to your soil”

These Nematodes are a multi-cellular beneficial parasitic round worm that targets pest insect larvae of mainly Sciarid flies (fungus gnats) and Thrips. The soft bodied pest insect larvae serve as a host for the beneficial nematode. The nematodes hunt down the harmful larvae and destroy them by entering the host pest insect as an infective juvenile. Each infective juvenile Nematode carries a bacterium in the gut, which it releases into the body cavity of the target pest after penetration, killing the host in approximately 48 hours. Once these beneficial nematodes are introduced into the medium (sawdust or blocks), the population growth of these nematodes depends mainly on the type and condition of the medium, temperature, and humidity.

Release Instructions – Mix the contents of the pouch of Nematodes in approximately 2 gallons of clean tepid water. Dip the empty pouch into the water to make sure you do not waste any of the nematodes. As soon as the product is mixed it must be used immediately so these friendly creatures do not drown. It is also very important to keep this water/nematode solution constantly agitated before applying to prevent settling and to ensure even distribution.

* You can apply the Nematodes using a watering can or a sprayer. If you choose a sprayer remove the filter. Nematodes are best applied in cool, cloudy weather of in the evening. Never release in direct sunlight.

Fungus Gnat Destroyer – Hypoaspis miles

“Hungry Hungry Hypos”

Hypoaspis miles are a fairly large predatory mite that target fungus gnats in the soil. Hypoaspis miles can consume up to 8 small fungus gnats per day. These predatory mites establish themselves in the soil in various root environments and other growing media, including potting compost and rock wool. They are especially fond of dark, damp places and are not highly tolerant of dry conditions. Hypoaspis miles can move quite rapidly, and the depth at which they are found in the soil depends on humidity, type and how compact it is.

The body and legs of this mite are brown, whilst the jaws are darker brown. The females are larger than the males and can be as long as 1 mm, and have a visible white stripe on the terminal body segment. The eggs, larvae and first nymph stages are white, with nymphs becoming light brown as they age.

Hypoaspis miles have a long lifespan and can survive for some time without food. Adults can survive 3-4 weeks without food, and much longer if they have fed adequately beforehand. However in the absence of food, egg-laying ceases.

Release Instructions – Apply this product evenly on the soil or in 5 ml (1 tsp) piles at the base of each infected plant. 1000 grams will cover up to 60-80 plants. The growing medium should be moist but not too wet.

*It can possibly take several weeks (depending on the introduction rate) until the Hypoaspis is established in the medium. In a greenhouse setting it is more effective to introduce this product at the beginning of the crop.

Thrips Destroyer – Amblyseius cucumeris

“Mighty mites are the way to keep thrips at bay”

Amblyseius cucumeris is a tiny predatory mite that forages on the leaves of plants, searching out and feeding upon their prey by piercing them and sucking out their contents. A. cucumeris are the most important natural enemies of thrips and are widely used for the biological control of thrips in greenhouse crops. A. cucumeris will also feed on several other organisms when thrips are not available, such as spider mite, the larvae of spider mite, tarsonemids and also pollen.

Amblyseius cucumeris nymphs and adults are light brown in color, have a somewhat flat elongated body and are roughly 0.4 mm in length. They are extremely mobile and actively search for and ingest food. They have four pairs of legs, the first pair being used as feelers.

Success with the growth of the population of this useful predatory mite depends on environmental factors such as the crop, availability of prey, use of pesticides, climate and relative humidity.

Release Instructions – Lightly mist the leaves of the infected plant with water. Sprinkle granular bran mixture directly on the leaves or in a 5 ml (1 tsp) pile directly on the soil or rock wool blocks, preferably beside the stem of the plant. 1000 grams covers up to 60-80 plants.

* These beneficial predatory mites work best when applied early to prevent thrips numbers from increasing.

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