Utilizing predatory mites for conservation biological control, a holistic approach, from top to bottom


Abstract: Species of predatory mites feed on a diverse diet making them excellent candidates for conservation biocontrol programs. Provisioning pollen as supplemental food to boost predator abundances and maintain predator populations during low prey abundance periods has been reported in numerous studies for the control of above ground pests in outdoor and indoor cropping systems. For the conservation of below ground acarine predators, Astigmatina mites have been used with and without the amendment of organic matter. However, free living nematodes (FLNs) are more commonly found in soils and serve as prey for many soil predatory mites. Here we review highlights of above ground studies utilizing pollen provisioning cover crops and below ground systems using FLN for the conservation of predatory mites. Additionally, we will present preliminary results of an on ongoing study applying soil amendments for FLN and soil predatory mite conservation. We hypothesize that soil amendments can enhance plant and soil health, and that these effects are dependent on the biodiversity of soil biota as well as abiotic soil properties, and that caring for soils is a prerequisite for successful conservation biological control.

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