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Evaluation of dry-adapted strains of the predatory mite Neoseiulus californicus for spider mite control on cucumber, strawberry and pepper

Palevsky, E., Walzer, A., Gal, S., Schausberger, P.
Experimental & applied acarology 2008 v.45 no.1-2 pp. 15-27
Neoseiulus californicus, Phytoseiulus persimilis, Tetranychus urticae, cucumbers, host plants, mite control, mite infestations, pepper, population density, predatory mites, strawberries
The goal of this study was to evaluate spider mite control efficacy of two dry-adapted strains of Neoseiulus californicus. Performance of these strains were compared to a commercial strain of Phytoseiulus persimilis on whole cucumber, pepper and strawberry plants infested with Tetranychus urticae at 50 ± 5% RH. Under these dry conditions predators' performance was very different on each host plant. On cucumber, spider mite suppression was not attained by any of the three predators, plants 'burnt out' within 4 weeks of spider mite infestation. On strawberry, all predators satisfactorily suppressed spider mites yet they differed in short term efficacy and persistence. Phytoseiulus persimilis suppressed the spider mites more rapidly than did the BOKU and SI N. californicus strains. Both N. californicus strains persisted longer than did P. persimilis. The BOKU strain was superior to SI in population density reached, efficacy in spider mite suppression and persistence. On pepper, in the first 2 weeks of the experiment the BOKU strain was similar to P. persimilis and more efficacious in spider mite suppression than strain SI. Four weeks into the experiment the efficacy of P. persimilis dropped dramatically and was inferior to the SI and BOKU strains. Overall, mean predator density was highest on plants harbouring the BOKU strain, lowest on plants with P. persimilis and intermediate on plants with the SI strain. Implications for biocontrol of spider mites using phytoseiid species under dry conditions are discussed.