Use of the generalist predator Anystis baccarum in greenhouse IPM: Interactions with other biological control agents, a laboratory study

Biological Control, 177: 105127, Februay 2023.

Abstract: Saito, T., Buitenhuis, R. and Brownbridge, M. A generalist predatory mite, Anystis baccarum (L.), was developed as a new biocontrol agent in Canada, and became commercially available in 2022. Because successful biological control programs in greenhouse crops rely on the release of several natural enemies simultaneously to deal with multiple pest species, this study assessed the interaction of A. baccarum with other commonly used biocontrol agents in laboratory trials. Note that only adult stages were used, because the agents tested are predominantly sold and released as adults. Anystis baccarum killed and consumed the generalist phytoseiid mites, Neoseiulus cucumeris (Oudemans) and Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot; however, the mortality of the phytoseiid mites was reduced when an alternative food, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller eggs, was available. There was no intra-guild interaction between A. baccarum and the soil-dwelling predatory mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Womersley). No statistically significant mortality was observed when Orius insidiosus (Say), a generalist hemipteran, or Delphastus catalinae (Horn), a coccinelid beetle used to control whiteflies, were confined with A. baccarum without alternative food for 24 h. The susceptibility of A. baccarum to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) GHA strain was evaluated by exposing the mites to conidia in a filter paper bioassay. Differences in mite mortality were not significant across all treatments, and only one case of successful sporulation fungal growth was observed from cadavers recovered in the experiments; similarly, differences in the number of eggs produced were not significant across all treatments. Although the laboratory trials sometimes showed severe predation pressure from A. baccarum on other biocontrol agents, they are likely to be functionally compatible in the greenhouse owing to differences in habitat preferences and availability of other prey (pests) or another food source. Results of the current study provide insights that will enable the development of rational biocontrol programs that include A. baccarum.

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