Preventive inoculation of Pronematus ubiquitus averts crop damage and population development of the tomato russet mite Aculops lycopersici
Abstract: The tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici, is a major tomato pest worldwide and
only few methods for its control are available – currently no biocontrol agent is effective. We
assessed the efficacy of the iolinid mite, Pronematus ubiquitus, in controlling the tomato russet mite (TRM) in a preventive strategy in comparison with a curative treatment. Pronematus ubiquitus established quickly and was able to successfully control the pest populations. The curative treatment with sulphur stopped the progress of the pest, and stabilized its population at high levels. In conclusion, P. ubiquitus has great potential to prevent the establishment of the tomato russet mite. A curative treatment with sulphur yielded higher TRM numbers, but was equivalent in damage reduction. The use of a preventive method based on a beneficial arthropod can be part of an integrated pest management programme.