Biological control of mites affecting Carica papaya in Florida


Abstract: Mites are probably the most persistent arthropod pests of papaya. The pest mite complex in Florida includes tetranychid (Eutetranychus banksi, Tetranychus urticae, Eutetranychus sp.) and tarsonemid (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) mites. Several natural enemies are found naturally associated with these mites, including two phytoseiid mites (Neoseiulus longispinosus and an unidentified Neoseiulus sp.), a coccinellid beetle (Stethorus utilis), and lace wings (Ceraeochrysa claveri). In addition, two commercially available phytoseiids (Amblyseius swirskii and Phytoseiulus persimilis), have been released for pest mite suppression. Here we summarize efforts to quantify the effect of native natural enemies and releases of commercially available predators on pest mite populations affecting papaya crops in Florida.Populations of pestiferous mites and their predators were monitored in two papaya plantings. Colonies of native and commercially available phytoseiids were established for biological studies. Neoseiulus longispinosus was the most abundant native predator found associated with tetranychid mites. This predator showed a preference to prey on nymphs, followed by eggs and adults of tetranychid mites. The effects of predator releases and the predation potential of native and commercial phytoseiid species are discussed.Extended abstract

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