Biocontrol of pest mites with overwintering Amblyseius andersoni

Biocontrol of pest mites can be easily achieved by transferring of overwintering predatory mites, Amblyseius andersoni achieved between the apple orchards (Szabo and Penzes, 2013). The predatory mites, Amblyseius andersoni are naturally found in apple, grapevine, hazelnut and peach orchards (Nicòtina and Cioffi, 2002; Szabo and Penzes, 2013 ). These predatory mites are also commercially available and currently employed as the effective beneficial predators to control several different species of pest mites that are responsible for causing a serious damage to different crops that are grown in the greenhouses, nurseries and fields. The most favorite host mites of predatory Amblyseius andersoni are included broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), cyclamen mite (Phytonemus pallidus), European red mite (Panonychus ulmi), the bulb scale mite (Steneotarsonemus laticeps), tomato russet/rust mite (Aculops lycopersici) and two- spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).

Both naturally occurring and inoculative released predatory mites, Amblyseius andersoni overwinter as adults in the fallen old leaves/previous crop debris/litter (Szabo and Penzes, 2013; Grassi and Maines, 2008) in the fields. These overwintering predatory mites generally become active at the end of winter or in some places they can be active as early as in January. These active predatory mites then move into tree/plant canopy to find their host mites. Once they find host mites, predatory mites continuously feed on the hosts and can multiply in a large numbers within a short period of time. From these multiplying populations of predatory mites can be physically transferred from their current location to other plants or trees that are infested with pest mites in the same field or in other neighboring fields/orchards. This physical transfer is generally done by breaking off the branches or plucking of leaves from the plants with a large numbers of predatory mites and placing them in the canopy of plants/trees that are heavily infested with pest mites.  However, this destructive method of transferring predatory mites is not beneficial to growers because the plants that are already stressed due to damage caused by pest mites will be again physically damaged by breaking off the branches or plucking of leaves. To overcome this physical damage to plants during transferring of predatory mites, two Hungarian scientists took the advantage of overwintering behavior of predatory mites and came up with a simple technique in which the predatory mites can be easily collected from their overwintering sites and introduced them into newly planted orchards or fields as a preventive measure for the suppression of future outbreaks of pest mites (Szabo and Penzes, 2013 ). Briefly, these researchers collected ground litter containing previously released overwintering predatory mites from old apple orchard and dispersed it in a newly planted apple orchard. This was done by filling small mesh-size net bags and tying these bags to tree trunks. These researchers found that the predatory mites were escaped from the bags and migrated up into tree foliage to seek host mites. This study shows that the predatory mites can be easily released in any cropping system by transferring old litter that we know for sure contained a large number overwintering predatory mites to control pets mites.   

Research Papers

  1. Duso, C. 1992. Biological-control of tetranychid mites in peach orchards of northern italy – role of Amblyseius-andersoni (chant) and Amblyseius-finlandicus (oud) (Acari, Phytoseiidae). Acta Phytopathologica et Entomologica Hungarica 27: 211-217.
  2. Easterbrook, M.A.  1992. The possibilities for control of 2-spotted spider-mite Tetranychus-urticae on field-grown strawberries in the uk by predatory mites. Biocontrol Science and Technology 2: 235-245.
  3. Grassi, A.and Maines, R.  2008. Behaviour and biological control of two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) in floricane red raspberry plantations. Cross, J., Brown, M., Fitzgerald, J., Fountain, M., Yohalem, D. (Editors), IOBC, Working Groups, Integrated fruit protection in fruit crops, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Integrated Fruit Production, held at Avignon (France) from October 27-30, 2008, pp 240-243.
  4. Marshall, D.B. and Lester, P.J. 2001. The transfer of Typhlodromus pyri on grape leaves for biological control of Panonychus ulmi (Acari : Phytoseiidae, Tetranychidae) in vineyards in Ontario, Canada. Biological Control 20: 228-235.
  5. Nicòtina, M. and Cioffi, E. 2002. Dispersion of Amblyseius andersoni (Chant) (Parasitiformes, Phytoseiidae) on grapevines and hazelnut near apples and peaches in the province of Caserta (Southern Italy). Acarid Phylogeny and Evolution: Adaptation in Mites and Ticks, pp 325-329.
  6. Szabo, A. and Penzes, B. 2013. A new method for the release of Amblyseius andersoni (Acari: Phytoseiidae) in young apple orchards. European Journal of Entomology 110: 477-482.