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Predatory Mite

Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) cucumeris

"Thrips Predator"

 

Description-The thrips predatory mite is a very small, tan-colored mite, less then 0.5 mm long. Viewed from above it is somewhat oval to somewhat pear-shaped.

 Host Pest- N. cucumeris moves quickly, and feeds on the immature stages of both western flower thrips and onion thrips.  They also feed on spider mites, broad mites, cyclamen, and Eriophyid mites. Pollen is another food source.

 Biology-This mite predator likes to hide among the leaf edges and veins, where the females lay their eggs.  She will lay 1-5 eggs per day in her adult life.  The eggs hatch in 2-3 days, nymphs subsequently start to feed on pollen, spider mite eggs, and the smallest thrips.  They will continue to feed consuming larger prey until reaching maturity.   Depending on temperature, individuals grow from hatchlings to adults in 1 to 2 weeks, preferring temperatures above 21 C, with high humidity.

 The N. cucumeris is available in bottles but also in the CRS system.  Each CRS sachet is made of special non-porous paper, and contains a breeding colony of the predatory mite together with another mite, which serves as a food source.  The predators emerge over an extended period at a regular rate, ensuring the continuous presence of predators on the crop throughout the life of the sachet.  Because the mites are emerging continuously, there is no need for them to establish on the target crop for them to offer thrips control.  This is the first time that this has been the case for a biological control agent.   

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