Is it time to get outside and work on your garden? Or are you looking for the perfect gift for mom this weekend? There are garden centers with curbside pickup and online ordering available throughout the state.
And, don’t be alarmed if you see a small envelope in your plant. These small paper “envelopes” are slow release “mini-sachets” that are a breeding system or “nursery” for beneficial predatory mites that emerge from the sachets over a 4 to 6-week period.
The beneficial predatory mites attack a very small insect, thrips, may distort and damage flowers. Thrips are primarily a greenhouse pest and are not a pest in your home garden. To provide you with attractive flowers, growers place these mini sachets in your baskets to prevent any damage to the flowers.
These nursery sachets consist of bran and food storage mites (that feed upon the bran) that are a food source for the small predatory mite Neoseilus (Amblyseius) cucumeris commonly referred to as “cucumeris”.Cucumeris is a small, tan predatory mite (less than 1 mm. long) that attacks thrips larvae found on the leaves and in the flowers. They pierce the thrips and suck them dry, killing them. These predatory mites do not travel far and cannot fly, so growers place a mini-sachet in each hanging basket.
The moral of the story – leave the envelope in your hanging basket, and enjoy the flowers!