Provisioning predatory mites with entomopathogenic fungi or pollen improves biological control of a greenhouse psyllid pest.
BACKGROUND: Tomato/potato psyllid (TPP), Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc), is a recently established invasive pest of solanaceous crops in New Zealand. No alternative control strategies are available against TPP due to the development of insecticidal resistance. We investigated the combined use of the predatory mites Amblydromalus limonicus or Neoseiulus cucumeris with either the fungus Beauveria bassiana (suspensions and dry conidia) or with Typha orientalis pollen as a control of TPP in greenhouse bell pepper over 7 weeks. RESULTS: All treatments significantly reduced TPP densities compared with the control. A. limonicus resulted in significantly lower TPP densities than any other combination with N. cucumeris. B. bassiana suspensions did not affect A. limonicus densities when they were combined. However, the application of dry B. bassiana conidia significantly reduced the densities of A. limonicus. The use of T. orientalis pollen resulted in significantly higher densities of A. limonicus but densities of N. cucumeris did not increase. The combined use of A. limonicus with B. bassiana suspensions or T. orientalis pollen resulted in significantly decreased TPP populations and greater crop yield. CONCLUSION: The synergistic application of A. limonicus with B. bassiana suspensions could be a suitable strategy to control TPP in the greenhouse.