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Title: A modular cage system design for continuous medium to large scale in vivo-rearing of predatory mites (Acari: phytoseiidae)

item Morales Ramos, Juan
item Rojas, Maria - Guadalupe

Submitted to: Psyche
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2013
Publication Date: 1/9/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G. 2013. A modular cage system design for continuous medium to large scale in vivo-rearing of predatory mites (Acari: phytoseiidae). Psyche. 2014 (596768); 8 pgs.

Interpretive Summary: Predatory mites of the family Phytoseiidae are effective biological control agents against important pests such as spider mites, white flies, and thrips. At least 20 species of predatory mites are produced commercially and sold for the control of pests in glasshouses. Commercial production is carried out in specialized greenhouses requiring high investments and labor. This research culminated in the development of an enclosed and continuous method of producing predatory mites that reduces the need for maintaining expensive greenhouses. This method consists of modular cages that attach to each other vertically. Mites migrate from old to new cages by their natural tendency to move upwards. The system was evaluated for production of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis, one of the most utilized for the control of the two-spotted spider mite. During a 6-month experimental test an average of 20,895 predators were produced per week using only 41 units. These units occupied less than a square yard of rearing space. The system can be used to produce predatory mites for research and for commercial application. The system enables small companies to start production with minimal investment because cages can be constructed from inexpensive materials.

Technical Abstract: A new stackable modular system was developed for continuous in-vivo production of phytoseiid mites. The system consists of cage units that are filled with lima bean, Phaseolus lunatus, or red beans, P. vulgaris, leaves infested with high levels of the two-spotted spider mites, Tetranychus urticae. The cage units connect with each other through a connection cup, which also serves for monitoring and collection. Predatory mites migrate upwards to new cage units as prey is depleted. The system was evaluated for production of Phytoseiulus persimilis. During a 6-month experimental period 20,894.9 ± 10,482.5 (mean ± standard deviation) predators were produced per week. The production consisted of 4.1 ± 4.6 % nymphs and 95.9 ± 4.6 % adults. A mean of 554.5 ± 59.8 predatory mites were collected per cage harvested and the mean interval length between harvests was 6.57 ± 6.76 days. The potential for commercial and experimental applications is discussed.