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DISCOVERY:


Matt K
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So here is my short story:

Due to the size of my roach/arachnid/reptile collection, it can be difficult to thoroughly maintain every enclosure as often as I want to (thoughy I do so more often than many people I have found). Regardless (or regarding this fact) I have had various levels of "miscellaneous" insect populations I did not intend to keep: dermestids, grain beetles, fungus gnats, phorid flies, 'dust' spiders, etc. The real annoyance and/or problem has been when fungus gnat and phorid fly populations surge for often undetermined reasons.

Lately, I have had a real explosion of fungus gnats and an even bigger surge of phorid flies despite alot of effort to combat them (cleaning cages, pulling any old or dead from old age roaches, uneaten food items, etc.) and the flies are starting to land in drinks or food items elsewhere in my house which is somewhat larger than many homes. Needless to say my wife and a couple friends make comments about this....

So here is what I found (hopefully I am not premature in posting this!):

Phorid flies, aka coffin flies, filth flies, humpback flies, scuttle flies, sh** flies, (I can't remember other names they have been called..) have a nemesis: a very tiny parasitic wasp. After trying EVERYTHING you can name to eradicate these flies from my home, I finally stumbled across a parasitic wasp that is very very tiny, and appears to be rapidly reducing the phorid fly population.

I bought some Hypoaspis miles (predatory mite) to combat my fungus gnats- which works very well- and found a product at the same place sold as "filth fly parasite" which was not on thier website the last time I was there, so I thought I would try it (at this point I wouldhave tried anything). When it arrived I was delivered a small paper sack full of aspen shavings and pupae unlabelled. Not knowing what species was sent to me I thought to just open the bag and leave it on a counter top in the room where I could observe it (concerned I was about to be over-run with yet another insect and that it may or may not be harmful to the roaches). After a few days very tiny wasps began to emerge- and I mean they could crawl inside the empty head of an ant. Within 24 hours or so they were beginning to show up in various roach enclosures and other containers around the room. A couple days later (today) I checked a couple bins that were recently notorious for being loaded with flies, and few to none were present. In fact, I have not really seen more than a few anywhere. Where have they gone ??? ;)

If there are any other results of this "discovery" I will post about it. If you want to try these out yourself, go to http://store.evergreengrowers.com/prostore...vlet/StoreFront and order them for yourself.

So far I am excited enough about the results to make this post, anyway.....

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BTW Matt, did you buy the 1k or the other "filth fly pre" from that site?

I don't remember off hand which it was other than I am pretty sure they were about $12, if you can figure from that.

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Hi Matt

Uhhh.... You mention Hypoaspis miles a predatory mite hunting several small soil-dwelling invertebrates like Sciaridae, Ephydridae, Thysanoptera sp., and even mites, springtails, or small nemathodes and then you talk about wasps!? :blink:

But good to know that it (whatever it is/was) worked! Last week I've found two dead Archimandrita and when I lifted them out, their abdomens fell apart and released a heaped tablespoon full of phorid fly larvae each. I nearly puked into the roach box... I thought about buying some predatory wasp but they cost about a hundred $ a package or aren't available at the moment! It's good to know that Hypoaspis miles (if it were that) works fine too cause they cost only about 20 $.

Grüessli

Andreas

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Uhhh.... You mention Hypoaspis miles a predatory mite hunting several small soil-dwelling invertebrates like Sciaridae, Ephydridae, Thysanoptera sp., and even mites, springtails, or small nemathodes and then you talk about wasps!? :blink:

I think he's saying he ordered the H. miles AND the parasitoids from the same place, he would know the difference.

I nearly puked into the roach box...

Well, ‘roaches are great recyclers! :D If you end up putting in H. miles in let us know if they knock down the phorids, I'd be interested to see if it would help.

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Interesting post, Matt!

I have two experiences to share.

I used to by a product from Arbico called Tiny Wasp Surprise. They would arrive as parasitized housefly pupae. Soon, many tiny wasps would emerge and I'd have great little feeders for my smallest mantids.

Recently, I had a small infestation of phorids in a Blaberus giganteus tank. I set the cage outside (with the screen lid on) to let some of the phorids disperse. That, along with removal of any dead roaches, pretty much reduces the phorid flies again until another roach dies. This was one of my more serious infestations (maybe 20 adults in there), but I think I got most of the phorids out with a few final swoops, sweeps and squishes before bringing the tank back in. A few weeks(?) later I found I had a mysterious outbreak of parasitic wasps. I couldn't imagine where they might have come from, discussed it with Orin, etc. It was still a mystery until your post. I suspect, now, that a parasitic wasp must have made it into the tank while it was outdoors (overnight). I collected and froze and them (and thought I photographed them, but guess I didn't yet).

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I like "Tiny Wasp Surprise”, it sounds like a dessert. That’s pretty neat though, using the “native” parasitoids to get rid of phorids. I wonder how specific these wasps are…There are parasitoids that live off of cockroach ootheca. I read somewhere, that may be the reason for ovoviviparity because by keeping your egg case inside you, parasitoids can’t reach your young.

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@BP

Ah, OK! Now I understand.

I'm in two minds about ordering this mites because they are quite nonselective and could (or would?) kill all my great saprophytes too (or even prior to the phorids :blink: )...

that may be the reason for ovoviviparity because by keeping your egg case inside you, parasitoids can’t reach your young.

Periplaneta sp. aren't ovoviviparous but being it wouldn't help them much -> I only say Ampulex compressa (WIKIPEDIA) ;)

Ovoviviparity has many other advantages too, besides the disadvantages of being 'pregnang' (e.g. controlled climate, avoiding any kind of predator incl. fungi, bacteria, and less 'collateral damage' by huge animals, drowning when it rains etc...)!

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Wow! I didn't know about Ampulex compressa; that's pretty cool. I love entomology...

Hi BP

I don't know if they are kept (or allowed to keep) in the USA but here in Europe they have a small but increasing fan community (and I heared that they can even be ordered online). If they would go for less problematic ('pest') roaches, I'd already have them I guess...

There are some awesome movies on the net: CLICK or CLICK.

Grüessli

Andreas

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