Potential of Pronematus ubiquitus to control tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici


Abstract: The tomato russet mite (TRM), Aculops lycopersici (Massee), is a severe pest ontomato crops. Currently no effective and economically viable biocontrol options for this pestare available. The predatory mite Pronematus ubiquitus (McGregor) has been reported inassociation with TRM on tomato and predates on TRM in laboratory trials. We carried out asemi-field experiment to investigate if P. ubiquitus can control TRM on greenhouse-growntomatoes. Furthermore, we evaluated the effect of liquid sulphur on P. ubiquitus and checkedif this mite species goes into diapause under short-day conditions. Releases of P. ubiquitussignificantly slowed down the population development of TRM on the tomato plants. However,the TRM damage was still too high for commercial growers in the P. ubiquitus-treated plants.The sulphur treatments had a highly detrimental effect on P. ubiquitus. Pronematus ubiquitusgoes into diapause under short-day conditions. The implications of these results on control ofTRM in greenhouse-grown tomatoes are discussed.

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