Biological control of the tomato russet mite Aculops lycopersici (Acari: Eriophyidae) in greenhouse grown tomatoes
Abstract: The efficiency of nine species of Phytoseiidae in controlling the tomato russet mite Aculops lycopersici Massee (Eriophyidae) was evaluated on tomato plants in an experimental greenhouse. Five hundred mites of the species Neoseiulus andersoni, Neoseiulus califonicus, Neoseiulus fallacis, Galendromus occidentalis, Amblyseius swirskii and Amblydromalus limonicus were released four times on lightly infested plants. Amblyseius andersoni, N. californicus and N. fallacis showed the strongest pest reduction. Even though these species did not display good survival and the curative strategy did not totally eliminate the pest, the plants remained healthy. Only two species (A. swirskii and A. limonicus) succeeded to develop and reproduce on the plants, but only once the plants were damaged to the extent that the trichomes had collapsed and no longer interfered with the development of the predators. Possibilities for an adequate biocontrol strategy are discussed. Amblyseius andersoni, N. californicus and N. fallacis could be used in waterproof breeding sachets or with dribble introductions in a preventative biological control strategy.