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Plant spatial distribution and predator–prey ratio affect biological control of the twospotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae) by the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae)

Amoah, Barbara, Anderson, Jaden, Erram, Dinesh, Gomez, Jesus, Harris, Alice, Kivett, Jessica, Ruang-Rit, Krissana, Wang, Yang, Murray, Leigh, Nechols, James
Biocontrol science and technology 2016 v.26 no.4 pp. 548-561
Araneae, Phytoseiulus persimilis, Tetranychus urticae, biological control, foraging, greenhouse experimentation, greenhouses, lima beans, plant damage, predatory mites
A greenhouse experiment was conducted to determine the effect of plant spacing and predator–prey ratio on dispersal and foraging efficiency of the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis , on the twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae . When predators were released at the end of spider mite-infested arrays of lima bean plants that had either no spacing or two different patterns of spacing among plant rows, plant damage was uniformly low throughout the experiment at both predator–prey ratios (1:10 and 3:10) in the treatment with no spacing. In contrast, damage was higher in both treatments where plant rows were interrupted by spacing. At the 1:10 ratio, more plants closer to the predator release point experienced moderate damage than at the 3:10 ratio where only the plant rows farthest from the release point had unacceptable damage. Our findings suggest that point releases of P. persimilis at the standard 1:10 predator–prey ratio should be effective within a diameter of at least 65 cm on mite-infested patches of plants where pots are touching. However, if gaps in plant rows exist, even large numbers of predators may not be sufficient to protect parts of the crop unless predators are released at shorter fixed points in the greenhouse crop.