Biological control of Tetranychus urticae by Phytoseiulus macropilis and Macrolophus pygmaeus in tomato greenhouses.
Gigon V., Camps C., Camps C., Le Corff J.
Biological control against phytophagous arthropods has been widely used under greenhouse conditions. Its success is dependent on a number of factors related to the abiotic conditions and to the interactions between pests and biological control agents. In particular, when multiple predator species are introduced to suppress one pest, competitive interactions might occur, including intraguild predation (IGP). In tomato crops, the spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch is a very problematic phytophagous mite and its control is not yet satisfactory. In 2012 and 2013, the ability of a potential new predatory mite Phytoseiulus macropilis (Banks) was assessed, alone and in the presence of Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambur. Macrolophus pygmaeus is a polyphagous mirid supposed to predate on P. macropilis. Both years, under greenhouse conditions, the effectiveness of the two predators was compared between the following treatments: T. urticae, T. urticae + P. macropilis, T. urticae + M. pygmaeus, and T. urticae + P. macropilis + M. pygmaeus. The number of arthropods per tomato plant over time indicated that P. macropilis well-controlled the population of T. urticae, whereas M. pygmaeus had a very limited impact. Furthermore, there was no evidence of IGP between the two predators but in the presence of M. pygmaeus, P. macropilis tended to have a more clumped spatial distribution. Further studies should clarify the number and location of inoculation points to optimize the control of T. urticae by P. macropilis.