Unnecessary pesticide applications: The need for correct identification of a beneficial mite species in Northern Irish apple orchards


Abstract: Within apple orchards integrated pest management (IPM) programmes play a very important role in the control of invertebrate pests. Many current IPM strategies concentrate only on the role of a given specialist predatory species. However, generalist beneficial insects, such as several mite species, must also be fully evaluated for their potential in controlling pests. Recent research has shown that the generalist predatory mite Anystis baccarum (Linnaeus) can offer much potential in controlling invertebrate pests within apple orchards in Northern Ireland. This mite species has been confirmed as the most commonly occurring predatory mite in local orchards. However, apple growers have been mis-identifying this beneficial species as the economic pest European fruit tree red spider mite, Panonychus ulmi (Koch). As a result, unnecessary pesticide applications have been applied against what has now been confirmed to be a beneficial species. To aid apple growers in the identification of A. baccarum, identification cards have been produced and circulated around the apple growers. Positive uptake of the cards by many apple growers has resulted in the correct identification of A. baccarum from P. ulmi, and therefore, a reduction in chemical pesticide applications within the apple orchards. The benefits of encouraging A. baccarum populations within orchard ecosystems are discussed.

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