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Thus far but no further: predatory mites do not migrate effectively into strawberry plantations

Sikorska, D., Garnis, J., Dąbrowski, Z. T., Sikorski, P., Gozdowski, D., Hopkins, R. J.
Experimental & applied acarology 2019 v.77 no.3 pp. 359-373
Amblyseius andersoni, Euseius, Tetranychus urticae, acarology, biological control, botanical composition, edge effects, migratory behavior, pests, plantations, predatory mites, strawberries, vegetation, woody plants, Poland
Enhancing the performance of predatory mites is often regarded as the best biological control approach towards the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, the main pest of strawberry plantations. Optimizing the colonization of plantations by predators from adjacent areas such as field margins is seen as an important component of conservation biocontrol. We have investigated the factors contributing to enhancing the numbers of predatory mites (Acari: Phytoseidae), such as management of the field margins, vegetation composition and the effect of the presence of woody species. We also tested the penetration of the phytoseiids from the field margins into the crop. In a study carried out in 14 open-field extensively managed strawberry plantations in Poland we found phytoseiids to be abundant in field margins; 14 taxa were discovered. However, only two species Amblyseius andersoni and Euseius finlandicus dispersed a modest distance into the crop. We found that the diversity and densities of the predatory mites were enhanced somewhat by the management type of the field margins; especially the spontaneous vegetation favoured the presence of phytoseiids. However, despite the predatory mites being rather retained in the field margins also significant reduction in numbers of their prey T. urticae was recorded over the course of the year. The low penetration of predatory mites into the main part of the field, indicates that conservation biological control measures in the field margin might not be sufficient on their own to enhance the impact of predatory mites within the main part of the fields.