Swirski Mite Controlled-release Sachets as a Pest Management Tool in Container Tree Production

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2017: $14,872.00
Projected End Date: 03/14/2019
Grant Recipient: Tennessee State University
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Karla Addesso
Tennessee State University
Adoption of biological control tools in woody ornamental nursery production has lagged behind other agriculture fields. One of the major obstacles to adoption is lack of information on the efficacy of various biological control agents in nursery production systems. The predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii, sold commercially as ‘‘swirski mite,’’ is a generalist predatory mite that has recently been adopted as a generalist control for a wide range of mite and insect pests, including thrips (Thripidae), whiteflies (Aleyrodidae), eriophyid mites (Eriophyidae), broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), and spider mites (Tetranychidae). A controlled-release sachet formulation of swirski mite was evaluated in three experiments to determine whether size of the tree, timing of first application, or sun intensity would affect treatment efficacy. Pest numbers on plants was evaluated biweekly for 12 weeks. The swirski mite sachets controlled broad mite and spider mite outbreaks on red maple trees (Acer rubrum) grown in nos. 3 and 15 nursery containers, respectively. Application at the time of red maple rooted cutting transplant was not necessary to achieve summer-long control of pests. No outbreaks of target pests on flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) in no. 5 containers grown under both full sun and shade, but with low levels of broad mite persisting in the shade treatment and thrips persisting in sun. These results suggest that swirski mite is a promising candidate for biological control in woody ornamental nursery production.
Peer-reviewed Journal Article
Target audiences:
Farmers/Ranchers; Educators; Researchers
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.