Cold storage ofPhytoseiulus persimilis (Phytoseiidae)
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Phytoseiulus persimilis is commerelally mass-reared for use as a biological control agent for spider mites, primarilyTetranychus urticae, and cold storage is a potentially valuable aspect of mass-production. Cold storage ofP. persimilis in empty containers was found to be unsatisfactory, but provision of moisture during cold storage greatly increased survival. Provision of food further increased survival even though the mites were stored at temperatures below their threshold for development of 11°C. When food was provided, survival at 7.5°C was 97% after 4 weeks and 80% after 6 weeks. Subsequent longevity and fecundity of mites that survived 8 weeks at 7.5°C was comparable to mites taken directly from mass-rearing cultures. Survival of mites packaged in bran or vermiculite and held at 6°C for 10 days ranged from 75% to 85% and was not decreased by agitating the containers to simulate shipping. However, survival of mites held in bran or vermiculite at 5°C or 8°C for 4 weeks was poor, ranging from 0–19%, due to growth of mould in the media.Phytoseiulus persimilis can be successfully stored for 4 to 6 weeks in containers provisioned only with food and moisture; granular media used for distribution of the mites should be added just prior to shipping.
KeywordsBiological Control Bran Control Agent Cold Storage Biological Control Agent
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