Gaeolaelaps aculeifer (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae), a new alternative for pest management in Colombia
Abstract: Little is known on predatory soil mites in Colombia, which limits their use inBiological control. This study aimed to identify an acarine predatory species of the major roseproducingregion of the country, and the evaluation of this potential predator for use in themanagement of thrips, the most important pest group on rose cultivation in Colombia.Samplings were carried out in the Bogotá plateau, especially in rose fields, an agroecosystemof great economic importance in the country and with problems of pests that have part of theirlife cycle in the soil. Gaeolaelaps aculeifer (Canestrini) was one of the most frequently foundpredator species in all sampling dates (August 2016 – December 2017). Considering the naturalpresence of G. aculeifer in the Bogota plateau and that this predator is presently used in othercountries for the control of different pests including thrips, studies about the biology of this newpopulation, its potential as a biological control agent against Frankliniella occidentalisPergande (Thripidae) and their production in that country were conducted. With the firstlaboratory results it was observed that the biological characteristics of the Colombianpopulation of G. aculeifer are comparable to those reported for other populations of the samepredator. The presence of an alternative or complementary prey Aleuroglyphus ovatus reducedthe rate of predation, but no differences in biological capacity of the mites with both preys(individually and together) were observed. Accordingly, this prey with coconut fiber or ricehusk as a substrate was used for its production in small scale and for its release in an experimentin pots. These releases led to a reduction of damage caused by F. occidentalis compared to thenegative control. To conclude, the Colombian population of G. aculeifer can be considered forpest management in Colombian soils and that A. ovatus can be used for its small scale massproduction (with substrates as coconut fiber or rice husk) and as a complementary diet inpredator field releases.