Evaluation of pest kill rate of Neoseiulus californicus reared on alternative food:is this parameter working for the assessment of its predation efficiency?


Abstract: To reduce production costs mass rearing of phytoseiid mites relies more and moreon the use of alternative prey/food sources. A crucial question raised for these mass rearedpredators is the evaluation of their efficiency against target pest species. In this study, weevaluated the pest kill rate (km), in function of its previous mass-rearing history. We assessedthe pest kill rate (km) values of the phytoseiid Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor), withcharacteristics of both type II and type III of a specialist and a generalist phytoseiid predatorrespectively, on the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch. The km values wereestimated after years of mass rearing of N. californicus on substitutive food sources such as theastigmatid mites, Glycyphagus domesticus (De Geer), Lepidoglyphus destructor (Schrank), andQuercus sp. pollen. Both for the Quercus sp. pollen and the astigmatid G. domesticus, theestimated km values were slightly higher than for the L. destructor reared predators. Hence massrearing on these prey/foods seems to be a suitable and effective option to guarantee high levelof phytoseiid populations and high predation efficiency against the target pest T. urticae. Here,we discuss the possible increasing consideration of the pest kill rate as an index to rankphytoseiids as BCAs, based on the actual killing/predation effect this value can express.

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