Using Predatory Mites in Strawberries

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Twospotted spider mites are the most common and significant pest of strawberries grown in North Carolina. Mite management strategies include conventional miticides, organic miticides, and biological controls. See the North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual for materials recommended for use against twospotted spider mites in North Carolina and the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium Strawberry IPM Guide for regional recommendations.

Predatory mites are the main means of augmentative biological control for spider mites, and can be used in organic or conventional systems. Under appropriate conditions, predatory mites may provide long term control of spider mites, reducing and potentially eliminating the need for miticides. We have developed a video highlighting key, commercially available predatory mites and how they can be integrated into a spider mite management program in strawberries.

We have studied all three species of predatory mites as potential tools to reduce spider mites in high tunnels over the winter and in early spring. These results are highlighted in a poster we presented at the national Entomological Society of America meeting in fall 2013.