The use of Typha angustifolia (cattail) pollen to establish the predatory mites Amblyseius swirskii, Iphiseius degenerans, Euseius ovalis and Euseius gallicus in glasshouse crops
Abstract: Several studies have shown that the use of pollen enhances population build-up of generalist phytoseiid predators, thereby improving the efficacy of biological pest control. In 2013, a first commercial pollen-based food supplement for Amblyseius swirskii, Iphiseius degenerans and Euseius gallicus was launched. Nutrimite, containing pollen of narrow leaf cattail Typha angustifolia is now widely used by growers. The food supplement is applied every two weeks using a pollen applicator. A concentration of 500 g/ha is recommended per application to enhance early predators populations before pests are appearing in the crop. We conducted cage experiments with different predatory mite species, as well as field experiments on roses, sweet pepper, gerbera, calathea and strawberries. Results show that the pollen supplement strategy, can successfully replace the current use of repeated inundative predator introductions. The importance of pollen as a food supplement for the subsistence of phytoseiid predators and methodologies for pollen application are discussed.