Title page for ETD etd-02282001-121659

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Metzger, Jessica A.
Author's Email Address metzgerj@vt.edu
URN etd-02282001-121659
Title Neoseiulus fallacis (Garman) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) as a potential biological control agent for spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) in Virginia vineyards
Degree Master of Science
Department Entomology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Pfeiffer, Douglas G. Committee Chair
Kok, Loke T. Committee Member
Lewis, Edwin E. Committee Member
Wolf, Tony K. Committee Member
  • vineyards
  • spider mites
  • Neoseiulus fallacis
  • biological control
Date of Defense 2001-01-18
Availability unrestricted

Outbreaks of spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) in vineyards have been increasing with the expansion of the industry in Virginia. Only three effective acaricides are registered on grapes and as resistance begins to occur, control options are limited. Biological control of spider mites by inoculative or inundative releases of predatory mites has been tried on a wide range of crops including grapes. This project examined the feasibility of using Neoseiulus fallacis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) as a potential large-scale biological control agent in vineyards. Slide dip bioassays were conducted on N. fallacis to determine the toxicity of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides commonly used on grapes in Virginia. In addition to laboratory experiments, commercially obtained N. fallacis were released in vineyards with spider mite infestations. The populations of both mites were then monitored on a regular basis to determine dispersal and distribution patterns.

Among the insecticides tested in the laboratory bioassays, carbaryl, azinphos-methyl, phosmet, cyhexatin, and pyridaben all caused significantly higher mortality than the control treatment. Fungicides tested were not toxic to the predator, but three herbicides caused high mortality. Glufosinate caused 100% mortality after 24 hours and both oxyfluorfen and paraquat had adverse effects on N. fallacis. The use of materials that were found to be toxic to the predator would not be compatible with inoculative releases of N. fallacis.

Field release results were variable. Three releases were made in 1999 and 2000., Recovery of the predator was low following the releases at two of the sites, probably due to lack of prey. At the third site enough predators were recovered to analyze the spatial distribution of the predator and prey populations. It appears that there is no similar aggregation pattern between the predator and prey at the same point in time although there is an indication of the predator spreading is response to the prey distribution. A more complete season of sampling would give more conclusive evidence of this trend. Although the distribution of the two populations were dissimilar, the predator was present throughout the season and did spread through the entire plot indicating that the predator may be able to colonize the vineyard if it successfully overwinters.

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