Acaricides impair prey location in a predatory phytoseiid mite
Abstract The use of predatory mites as the sole management tactic in biological control programmes frequently does not fully and reliably prevents damage of phytophagous mites on plants. Therefore, as an alternative, the integration of predatory mites with acaricides can provide more effective control of phytophagous mites than that of the predators only. However, for such integration, acaricides minimal negative impacts on predatory mites are required. In this study, we evaluated the sublethal effects of three acaricides on the foraging behaviour of Neoseiulus baraki (Athias‐Henriot) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) in a coconut production system. The acaricides were assessed for interference with the location of prey habitat using a Y‐tube olfactometer and for interference with the location of the prey colony within the habitat using a video‐tracking system. In addition to the choice of odour source, the time required and the distance walked to make the choice were assessed. The acaricides tested were abamectin, azadirachtin and fenpyroximate. The predatory mite preferred coconuts infested with the coconut mite Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Acari: Eriophyidae) over uninfested coconuts when not exposed to acaricides. However, when exposed to acaricides, the predator did not distinguish between infested and uninfested fruits. When exposed to abamectin, N .? baraki spent more time resting and walked greater distances before making the choice of an odour source. Thus, the acaricides impair the ability of the predatory mite N .? baraki to locate a prey habitat and to locate a prey within that habitat. The acaricides differentially affected prey foraging by interfering with odour perception.
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