Provision of astigmatid mites as supplementary food increases the density of the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii in greenhouse crops, but does not support the omnivorous pest, western flower thrips

Fatemeh Pirayeshfar*, Seyed Ali Safavi, Hamid Reza Sarraf Moayeri, Gerben J. Messelink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Astigmatid mites can be used as prey for mass rearing of phytoseiid predators, but also as a supplemental food source to support predator populations in crops. Here we evaluated the potential of six species of astigmatid mites (living or frozen) as alternative food for the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot in greenhouse crops. All prey mites tested were suitable for predator oviposition. In general, oviposition was greater when prey mites were reared on dog food with yeast than when they were reared on wheat bran with yeast. Amongst prey items provided as frozen diet, larvae of Thyreophagus entomophagus (Laboulbene), Acarus siro L. and Lepidoglyphus destructor (Schrank) that had been reared on dog food with yeast, resulted in the highest oviposition rates of A. swirskii. T. entomophagus larvae as frozen diet resulted in the shortest preimaginal developmental time of A. swirskii. On chrysanthemum plants, we found that the greatest increase in predator density occurred when living mites of T. entomophagous were used as a food source. This increase was greater than when predators were fed cattail pollen, a commonly used supplemental food. Effects on predators of providing living A. siro and L. destructor, or frozen larvae of T. entomophagous as food, were comparable with provision of pollen. Use of supplemental food in crops can be a risk if it is also consumed by omnivorous pests such as western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande. However, we showed that both frozen and living mites of T. entomophagous were unsuitable for thrips oviposition. Hence, we believe that provision of prey mite species increases A. swirskii density, supporting biological control of thrips and other pests in greenhouse crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-522
JournalBioControl
Volume66
Issue number4
Early online date20 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Factitious diets
  • Frankliniella occidentalis
  • Pollen
  • Storage mites
  • Thyreophagus entomophagus

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