|KUMAR, VIVEK - University Of Florida|
|AVERY, PASCO - University Of Florida|
|OSBORNE, LANCE - University Of Florida|
Submitted to: Sustainability
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2020
Publication Date: 9/29/2020
Citation: Kumar, V., McKenzie, C.L., Avery, P.B., Osborne, L.S. 2020. Suitability of ornamental pepper cultivars as banker plants for the establishment of predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii in controlled production. Sustainability. 12(19). https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198031.
Interpretive Summary: In order to assess the quality of four potential ornamental pepper banker plant candidates Black Pearl (BP), Explosive Ember (EE), Masquerade (MA), Red Missile (RM), and a commercial pepper cultivar Blitz (BL), we assessed their susceptibility against three major pests (whitefly, broad mite and western flower thrips) of agricultural importance. All five pepper cultivars possessed some degree of susceptibility against three pests, and RM and MA were less susceptible to pest attack compared to BL, BP and EE. The presence of predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii on the pepper cultivars greatly reduced pests’ abundance on the hosts. RM and MA exhibited significantly higher Amblyseius swirskii densities compared to other cultivars. Host plant physical characteristics - tuft domatia/leaf was an important factor affecting Amblyseius swirskii abundance on banker plant cultivars. Based on our findings, cultivars RM and MA should be subjected to further screening as potential ornamental banker plant candidates for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of greenhouse and nursery pests.
Technical Abstract: The suitability of four ornamental pepper banker plant candidates, Black Pearl (BP), Explosive Ember (EE), Masquerade (MA), Red Missile (RM), and a commercial pepper cultivar Blitz (BL) were assessed with three objectives: 1) determine susceptibility against three major arthropod pests of agricultural importance, Bemisia tabaci MEAM1, Polyphagotarsonemus latus and Frankliniella occidentalis, 2) evaluate pest abundance in the presence of predatory mites Amblyseius swirskii, and 3) determine the interplay between pest damage to hosts’ physical characteristics and Amblyseius swirskii abundance. In choice and no-choice assays, BL and BP were highly susceptible to Polyphagotarsonemus latus attack with a moderately high damage rating index of > 3.5/5, and Bemisia tabaci and Frankliniella occidentalis were abundant on BL and EE. The presence of Amblyseius swirskii greatly reduced the abundance of pests on pepper cultivars. RM and MA exhibited significantly higher Amblyseius swirskii densities compared to other cultivars. When the effect of Polyphagotarsonemus latus on the banker plants’ physical characteristics was assessed, significant reduction in leaf area and tuft domatia/leaf was observed in all the cultivars. Although all ornamental pepper cultivars exhibited varying degrees of susceptibility against different pests, if used strategically, cultivars MA and RM can efficiently harbor Amblyseius swirskii populations and reduce multiple pests in the greenhouse or interiorscape conditions.