Bugs for growers Predatory mites: All natural enemies of insect pests are considered as good bugs because they can kill and feed on insect pests that cause tremendous yield losses to many economically important crops. Since many of these natural enemies are commercially produced and used in the integrated pest management program (IPM), they are called as biological control agents. These biological control agents also includes predatory mites, which are closely related to spiders but they are not considered as insects. Although some species of mites are predatory in nature, there are several species of mites considered as pests because they cause a serious damage to many plant species. In general, predatory mites feed on spider mites, which are serious pests of many vegetable crops and ornamental plants. Predator mites also prey on thrips, fungus gnat eggs and other small soft bodied insects. Predatory mites are commercially available and used as biological control agents against many species of spider mites and fungus gnats in the Canadian, European, USA greenhouses.
Following are the examples of predatory mites that can be used as biological control agents against many kinds of insect pests.
Euseius tularensis: This predatory mite often found in citrus orchards and generally feed on citrus thrips and red mites. Color of E. tularensis depends on the type of insect host they feed on. They are red, when they are feeding on red spider mites, yellow when they are feeding on thrips. These predatory mites also feed on scale insects, nymphs of white flies and two-spotted mites. This predatory mites are not available commercially.
Western predatory mite, Galendromus occidentalis: This predatory mite generally found in apple, cherry, peach, pear, and plum orchards. These pear shaped predatory mites generally feed on apple rust mites, blister mites, European red mites, yellow spider mites, pear and prunus rust mites and two-spotted spider mites. This important biocontrol agent is available commercially.
Galendromus pyri: This predatory mite is also found in many fruit orchards. This predatory mite also feeds on Apple rust mite, European red mites and two-spotted spider mites. These predatory mites are available commercially.
Neoseiulus fallacis: This pear shaped predatory mite found in many fruit orchards in the USA and also feeds on European red mites and two-spotted spider mites. These predatory mites are available commercially.
Phytoseiulus persimilis: This predatory mite is commercially available and most often used as biological control agents against different species of spider mites infesting vegetable crops and ornamental plants grown in the Canadian, European, US greenhouses.
Zetzellia mali: This pear shaped predatory found in many fruit orchards in the USA and also feeds on European red mites and two-spotted spider mites. These predatory mites are not available commercially.