Submitted to: Florida Entomological Society Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2013
Publication Date: 7/19/2013
Citation: Osborne, L.S., McKenzie, C.L., Arthurs, S., Xiao, Y., Kumar, V., Miller, C., Chen, J. 2013. 'Predator-In-First’: A novel bioControl strategy for managing thrips and other key pests in pepper crops [abstract]. Florida Entomological Society Annual Meeting. Paper No. 45. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Pest management in the vegetable and ornamental plant industries in Florida is facing great challenges due to the recent introduction of several invasive pests. Among them, chilli thrips is causing major problems due to its polyphagous nature, lack of effective residual insecticides, and limited availability of known resistant plant varieties. To address this issue, we developed a novel biological-based ‘Predator-In-First’ approach for sustainable control of thrips and other key pests that threaten pepper production in protected and outdoor culture. The key component of this method involves the release of specific predatory mites on uninfested seedlings before transplanting. The Predator-In-First approach aims to establish biological control in the critical post-transplanting period. This is significant because natural enemies generally do not establish until later in the season when thrips numbers have built up. It exploits the characteristics of type III generalist predatory mites which can feed and reproduce on host plant pollen/nectar in the absence of their prey.