Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUBTROPICAL INSECT PESTS OF VEGETABLES AND ORNAMENTAL PLANTS

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Ornamental pepper as banker plants for establishment of Amblyseius swirskii (Acari: Phytoseiidae) for biological control of multiple pests in greenhouse vegetable production

Authors
item Xiao, Yingfang -
item Avery, Pasco -
item Chen, Jianjun -
item McKenzie, Cindy
item Osborne, Lance -

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2012
Publication Date: November 26, 2012
Citation: Xiao, Y., Avery, P.B., Chen, J., McKenzie, C., Osborne, L. 2012. Ornamental pepper as banker plants for establishment of Amblyseius swirskii (Acari: Phytoseiidae) for biological control of multiple pests in greenhouse vegetable production. Biological Control. 63:279-286. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2012.09.007.

Interpretive Summary: Banker plant systems consist of a plant that directly or indirectly provides resources, such as food or prey, to natural enemies that are deliberately released within a cropping system for suppressing the insect pest population. Survival and establishment of natural enemies on banker plants is tantamount and a key component to a successful biocontrol strategy for long-term suppression of insect pests in floriculture crops. Selectivity factors and host preference of Amblyseius swirskii were determined on ornamental pepper banker plant candidates for control of insect pests in floriculture and landscapes. Three of the ornamental pepper varieties evaluated (Red Missile, Masquerade, and Explosive Ember) all supported a high number of the predator A. swirskii for suppressing populations of pestiferous insects in cropping systems.

Technical Abstract: Selectivity factors and host preference of Amblyseius swirskii were determined on ornamental pepper banker plant candidates for control of insect pests in floriculture and landscapes. Cultivar selectivity and preference by the gravid female Amblyseius swirskii (Athias-Henriot) between ornamental pepper banker plant candidates, Red Missile (RM), Masquerade (MA), Explosive Ember (EE), and Black Pearl (BP) was assessed in one no-choice and three choice experiments. No preference was indicated using leaf disks. Female mites laid more eggs (with pollen) in leaf disk and plant pre-bloom studies. In choice tests pre-bloom, significance of tuft domatia per cultivar was RM >MA >EE >BP. In Experiment 1 (0.8-2.1 thrips / plant), A. swirskii showed preference for both RM and MA compared to EE. In Experiment 2 (32-50 thrips / plant), no host preference was apparent. However, with data combined, preference for RM and MA was evident. Thus, host preference was influenced primarily by the plant characteristics i.e. tuft domatia, pollen, not pest presence. A. swirskii demonstrated preference for cultivar RM pre-bloom (with pollen was available in a Petri dish at the bottom of the pot) and both RM and MA post-bloom. The three pepper varieties RM, MA and EE post-bloom, all supported a high number of the predator A. swirskii for suppressing populations of pestiferous insects in cropping systems.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page