The predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris (also called Amblyseius cucumeris) is widely used for the biological control of thrips in greenhouse crops. These predatory mites feed mostly on first instar thrips larvae. Neoseiulus cucumeris is a valuable solution in integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, where it acts as a natural enemy to help control thrips populations.
Neoseiulus cucumeris for pest control
Neoseiulus cucumeris is used for the control of the following pests:
Neoseiulus cucumeris mites actively seek out and prey on the first instar larvae of various thrips species.
Feeding behaviour of Neoseiulus cucumeris
Predatory mites pierce their prey and suck out the contents. In addition to thrips, Neoseiulus cucumeris preys on several other small organisms such as spider mites and tarsonemid mites. They also feed on pollen, which is useful for instance in sweet pepper crops as the predatory mite can establish itself in the crop before the pest appears. The success of predatory mites in controlling thrips is mainly dependent on the size of the prey larvae. Thrips larvae try to defend themselves against an attack by a predatory mite by violently jerking their abdomens. First instar thrips larvae can be overpowered much more easily than second instar larvae, and smaller thrips species more easily than larger ones. Thus, Neoseiulus cucumeris preys almost exclusively on first instar larvae of Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis). Nymphs of the predatory mite have more trouble in capturing prey than adults, and thrips larvae killed by an adult mite are sometimes partly consumed by the nymphs. At 25°C under optimal conditions, an adult female Neoseiulus cucumeris consumes about six first instar Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) larvae per day and lays about two eggs per day.
Life cycle of Neoseiulus cucumeris
The life cycle of Neoseiulus cucumeris consists of the following stages: egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph and adult. Eggs are laid on the underside of leaves on leaf hairs or in the axils of main and side veins. They are oval, white and have a diameter of approximately 0.14 mm. The larvae have six legs, are the same colour as the eggs, and are only slightly larger. They do not need to feed to develop into a protonymph. The nymphs are larger than the larvae, have eight legs and are pale brown. Adult mites have eight legs, are light beige and have a flat, elongated body. They are roughly 0.4 mm in length. Males are smaller than females. Protonymphs, deutonymphs and adults are very mobile and actively search for food on the underside of leaves. Due to their size and colour they are difficult to spot in the crop.
Best conditions for use of Neoseiulus cucumeris
Neoseiulus cucumeris is most effective at temperatures between 15 and 25°C (59 and 77°F). It is not effective at temperatures above 30°C/86°F. Neoseiulus cucumeris is sensitive to relative humidity below 70%.
Neoseiulus cucumeris in bottles or buckets
- Turn and shake the bottle or bucket gently before use
- o Bottle: Push the centre of the cap to open the dosage hole
- o Bucket: Use a spoon to distribute Thripex
- Sprinkle material on leaves or put small heaps on rockwool slabs
- Make sure the material remains on the introduction site for at least a few hours after introduction
- Choose at least 4,000 introduction points per hectare, evenly distributed over the total surface
- Can also be applied with (Mini)-Air(o)bug
The dosage of Thripex, Thripex-V depends on climate, crop and pest density and should always be adjusted to the particular situation. Start introduction as soon as the first pest mites are detected in the crop. Introduction rates typically range from 50-100 per m2/release. Releases should be repeated if necessary. Consult a Koppert advisor or a recognized distributor of Koppert products for advice on the best strategy for your situation.
Neoseiulus cucumeris in sachets
The predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris is also available in breeding sachets (Thripex-Plus). In this case the predatory mites multiply in the sachet and disperse into the crop over a period of several weeks.
- Hang sachets in sheltered locations in the crop, avoid hanging into direct sunlight
- Sachets already have an exit hole
- Hold sachets by the cardboard strip at the top, to avoid damaging the predatory mites
The dosage of Thripex-Plus depends on climate, crop and pest density and should always be adjusted to the particular situation. Start introduction preventively or as soon as the first pest mites are detected in the crop. Use at least 4,000 sachets per ha and hang them evenly spaced in the crop. Release should be repeated after 4 weeks if the pest is not controlled. Consult a Koppert advisor or a recognized distributor of Koppert products for advice on the best strategy for your situation.