Biological control of spider mites by the predatory mite Neoseiulus fallacis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) in ornamental nursery systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/794080468

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  • We identified and evaluated a phytoseiid predator as a biological control agent of multiple spider mites pests that occur in ornamental nurseries. When comparing species, Neoseiulus fallacis (Garman) had a wider prey range than Galendromus occidentalis (Nesbitt), a higher probability of overwintering than Neoseiulus califomicus McGregor and was equally or more effective at suppressing spider mites than either of the other 2 phytoseiids in 4 field tests. To further evaluate N. fallacis we 1) measured prey range when held with 29 ornamental pests or alternative foods under laboratory conditions, 2) tested biological control of spider mites on representative plant species at both small and large spatial scales, 3) developed release and conservation strategies of the predator, and 4) examined the efficacy of the predator in controlling recently introduced pests. Neoseiulus fallacis had greatest survival and reproduction when feeding on spider mites but eriophyid mites, other mites and pollen enhanced survivorship and, in some cases, reproduction. When inoculated into ornamental plants, spider mite suppression was "acceptable" in 81% of small scale tests and-in all large scale tests. Limitations in control occurred in tall, vertical growing plants with little foliar canopy. Inoculation of N. fallacis at low prey densities into apple rootstocks was successful at suppressing Tetranychus urticae Koch and similar to control achieved at moderate prey densities. In small scale banker plant studies, high densities of adult and immature mites of N. fallacis were produced and moved downwind to receiver plants. In field tests with receiver plants placed at greater distances, only N. fallacis adult females readily dispersed to 30 m or more. When comparing overwintering survival of adult females among plant types, N. fallacis survived most on conifers, intermediate on evergreen shrubs and least on herbaceous perennials, deciduous shrubs and shade trees. Covering plants with protective plastic reduced overwintering survival of the predator. Neoseiulus fallacis successfully suppressed the newly introduced pests Panonychus citri (McGregor) and Schizotetranychus celarius (Banks) on Skimmia japonica Thunberg and Sasaella hidaensis (Makino and Uchida), respectively. Initial studies suggest that N. fallacis can be an effective biological control agent of multiple spider mites in low-growing and selected higher-growing ornamental plants.
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