Integration of the Generalist Predator Nabis americoferus (Hemiptera: Nabidae) in a Greenhouse Strawberry Biocontrol Program with Phytoseiid Predatory Mites and the Entomopathogenic Fungus Beauveria bassiana

Insects 2024, 15(1), 52.
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Abstract: Taro Saito and Rosemarije Buitenhuis. In strawberry production, western flower thrips (WFT) and two-spotted spider mites (TSSM) inflict feeding damage and reduce the yield. Biological control for these pests often includes phytoseiid predatory mites and entomopathogenic fungi. The hemipteran family Nabidae have been reported as prominent predators in open-field strawberry. Nabis americoferus Carayon is a new biocontrol agent developed in Canada. This study examined if this species was a good candidate for integration with biological control for greenhouse strawberry production. The laboratory trials showed that Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot and Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot were compatible with N. americoferus, especially when alternative food was available. In contrast, the nabid was not compatible with the Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) GHA strain. A greenhouse cage study was conducted to determine if it was beneficial to add N. americoferus to the phytoseiid-mites-based biological control program for WFT and TSSM in greenhouse strawberry. The release of N. americoferus on a banker plant together with the placement of sachets of Neoseiulus cucumeris (Oudemans) and Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) was beneficial, not only potentially reducing the number of sachet applications, but also providing better pest control than phytoseiid mites alone. Neither the phytoseiids nor the N. americoferus numbers were significantly affected by the presence of each other.

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