Predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris for Thrip control

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Predatory, Neoseiulus cucumeris mites are very small about 0.5 mm in size, tear (pear) shaped and tan colored mites that are currently used as beneficial biological control agents for the management of thrips, one of the most economically important insect pests of many greenhouse and field crops, fruit trees and ornamental plants. Both adult and nymph mites morphologically look alike but the nymphs are comparatively smaller than adults. Mite females lay eggs about 25-30 eggs amongst the very high concentration of thrip populations. Eggs hatch into very tiny nymphs that immediately start feeding on immature stages of thrips and also plant pest species of mites. This predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris develop within 7-12 days as an adult and it can survive for 30 days at 20-25oC. Predatory, Neoseiulus cucumeris also performs best against thrips when relative humidity is above 40% but their activity is comparatively very high when relative humidity is between 65-70%. Predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris generally feed on only thy immature stages of thrips.

Facts (show all)

- Predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris effective against following species of thrips
  • The eastern flower thrips, Frankliniella tritici
  • The greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis
  • The melon thrips, Thrips palmi
  • The western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis
+ What are thrips?
  • Thrips are tiny about 1/20 inches (1-2 mm) long slender, yellowish, blackish, whitish or dark brownish bodied insects.
  • Their adults have hair-fringed wings but larvae or nymphs are wingless.
  • Both adults and nymphs of thrips have rasping and sucking types of mouth parts that they use for puncturing and the sucking cell sap from the plant tissues.
  • Thrips can reproduce sexually or asexually and their females can lay eggs into leaf or bud tissues.
  • After hatching from eggs, nymphs begin feeding on plant tissue and reach to maturity.
  • The matured larvae then pupate in the soil, plant crevices or on the leaves.
+ Economically important species of thrips
  • The eastern flower thrips, Frankliniella tritici
  • The greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis
  • The melon thrips, Thrips palmi
  • The western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis
+ How thrips cause damage to host plants?
  • Both adults and nymphs use their rasping and sucking types of mouth-parts to mainly feed on young and rapidly growing plant tissues including leaf, flower and fruit.
  • While feeding thrips generally use their left mandible to cut plant tissue and this type of feeding causes scars on the buds, leaves, flowers, fruits and twigs.
  • The main symptoms of severely damaged plants include stunted growth, and curling/folding, distortion and discoloration of leaves, flower buds and flowers.
  • The Severely damaged leaves and flower petals can drop prematurely.
  • Also, scattered feces of thrips on the leaves, flowers and fruits can reduce aesthetic value of ornamental plants and the fruits.
+ Biological Control of Thrips?
  • As a biological control agents, predatory, Neoseiulus cucumeris mites have a great potential to control thrips that are responsible to cause a tremendous damage to many crops grown either in the greenhouses or field.
  • Following are the main facts about predatory, Neoseiulus cucumeris mites.
+ The species of pest mites killed by Predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris
  • The broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus
  • The cyclamen mite, Phytonemus pallidus
  • The tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici
+ How predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris kill and feed on host thrips?
  • Immediately hatching from eggs, the nymphs of predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris starts feeding on the immature stages of thrips.
  • These mites are voracious feeders and keep feeding on the thrips until they die.
+ Which stages of thirps are killed by predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris?
  • Immature stages of thrips
+ How many Neoseiulus cucumeris should be released?
  • For low incidence of thrips or as preventive control strategy, release 50-60 mites per square meter area.
  • For medium incidence of thrips, release about 100 mites per square meter area.
  • For high incidence of thrips or as curative control strategy, release more than 100 mites per square meter area.
+ When is a right time to release Neoseiulus cucumeris?
  • This predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris can be used both as preventive and curative control measure for the thrips.
  • As a preventive treatment, mites can be released even before the incidence of thrips in your garden, as these mites can survive by feeding on pollen until they can find their real food, the thrips.
  • As a curative control measure, these predatory mites should be released when there is a high population of thrips present on the plants in your garden.
+ How to release predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris?
  • If you buy mites in bulk quantity in a substrate like bran flake carrier then it should be evenly spread over the foliage of crop or over the seedlings before transplanting.
  • If these predatory mites are supplied in small packages, open these packages and evenly distribute in the garden.
+ Why you need predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris
  • they can reduce the crop damage by feeding on immature stages of thrips
  • they can also kill and feed on pest mites that cause a serious damage to crops
  • they are able to actively search for their host immature nymphs (larvae) of thrips and feed on them
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle in the garden after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to release in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why predatory Neoseiulus cucumeris are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not damage plants
  • do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with predatory mites
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Arthurs, S., McKenzie, C.L, Chen, J., Dogramaci, M., Brennan, M., Houben, K. and Osborne, L. 2009. Evaluation of Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii (Acari: Phytoseiidae) as biological control agents of chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on pepper. Biological Control 49: 91-96.
  2. Cabanas, D., Watanabe, S., Higashi, C.H. and Bressan, A. 2013. Dissecting the mode of maize chlorotic mottle virus transmission (Tombusviridae: Machlomovirus) by Frankliniella williamsi (Thysanoptera:Thripidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 106:16-24.
  3. Jones, D.R. 2005. Plant viruses transmitted by thrips. European Journal of Plant Pathology 113: 119-157.
  4. Van Drieschea, R.G., Lyon, S., Stanek III, E.j., Xu, B. and C. Nunn, C. 2006. Evaluation of efficacy of Neoseiulus cucumeris for control of western flower thrips in spring bedding crops. Biological Control 36: 203-215.
  5. Williams, M.E.D.C. 2001. Biological control of thrips on ornamental crops: interactions between the predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), on Cyclamen. Biocontrol Science and Technology 11: 41-55.

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