Control of broad mites, spider mites, and whiteflies using predaceous mites in open-field pepper and eggplant

Phillip A. Stansly, Jose A. Castillo


The broad mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), the spider mites Tetranychus urticae (Koch) and T. evansi (Baker and Prichard), and the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), are serious pests of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) in Florida and elsewhere. In greenhouse vegetable production, Amblyseius cucumeris (Oudemans) is commonly used for broad mite and thrips control, Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) for broad mites and spider mites, and A. swirskii Athias-Henriot for broad mite, whitefly, and thrips. However, there is little information on the use of these predaceous mites in open-field pepper and eggplant production in Florida. Activity of the predators A. cucumeris and A. swirskii was evaluated in eggplant and ‘Serrano’ pepper in experimental plots in southwestern Florida. Both mites provided significant levels of control of broad mite on both crops, although A. swirskii provided better control, required fewer releases, and also suppressed B. tabaci. Eggplant receiving A. swirskii yielded significantly more fruit than untreated plants or even eggplants receiving two acaricide sprays. A mixture of N. californicus with A. swirskii released in eggplant at planting persisted well into the crop cycle and suppressed all three pests.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283