Natural control of spider mites

Title: Amblyseius andersoni Chant (Acari: Phytoseiidae), a successful predatory mite on Rosa spp.

Author: van der Linden A

Authors affiliation: Applied Plant Research, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 118, NL-2770 AC Boskoop, The Netherlands

Published in: Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci, volumn 69. pages 157-163, (2004).

Abstract: "Roses on commercial nurseries commonly suffer from attacks by the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, which have a negative influence on growth and quality. The aim of this project is to find natural enemies that are well adapted to roses, and may improve biological control. At different sites such as a plant collection garden, public parks and field boundaries, leaves were sampled from roses to identify the indigenous species of predatory mites. Amblyseius andersoni was amongst other species frequently found, which suggests that this species thrives well on roses. The possibility for biological control of spider mites with A. andersoni was investigated both in container roses outdoors and in glasshouses. In plots of outdoor roses artificially infested with spider mites, the following treatments were carried out: spider mites alone (untreated plot), Amblyseius andersoni Amblyseius andersoni and ice plants, Neoseiulus californicus, Neoseiulus californicus and ice plants. There were four replications of the treatments. The ice plants, Delosperma cooperi, were added to some treatments to supply pollen as extra food for the predatory mites. Natural enemies such as Chrysoperla spp., Conwentzia sp., Orius sp., Stethorus punctillum, and Feltiella acarisuga occurred naturally and contributed to the control of spider mites. After one month the spider mites were eradicated in all treatments. At the end of the trial, predatory mites were collected from all plots for identification. The ratio of Amblyseius andersoni to Neoseiulus californicus was approximately 9:1. There was no obvious effect of the ice plants on the number of predatory mites. On a nursery, where new roses are bred and selected, Amblyseius andersoni was released in three glasshouses after one early treatment with bifenazate against two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae. In two of these glasshouses Neoseiulus californicus was also released.

Samples, which were taken in the summer months showed that the spider mites were kept at a very low level. Amblyseius andersoni was found, even if spider mites were absent. Rose plants infested with spider mites, that were brought in to the glasshouses later developed spider mite ‘hotspots’. Phytoseiulus persimilis was introduced in the hot spots and contributed to the control along with Neoseiulus californicus, Amblyseius andersoni and naturally occurring Feltiella acarisuga. These observations showed that Amblyseius andersoni is a good candidate for preventing spider mite outbreaks, as it easily survives without spider mites. This predatory mite is able to survive on other food, including thrips and fungal spores."