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Predator Mites

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Abstract

The great behavioral diversity of mites gives them an important role in the environment, such as cycling of nutrients, transmission of phytopathogens, and regulation of populations of other living beings. People eventually use these organisms to their advantage, especially in agriculture, where many species may be important auxiliary tools to control certain pests. In this chapter, we deal with the main bioecological factors that strategically determine the success in Applied Biological Control (ABC) of arthropod pests with predatory mites. Although mites have played a relevant role as biological control agents throughout history, they are still poorly understood and underutilized for this purpose. Every aspect of bioecology should be considered when clarifying how to establish a successful strategy using the most effective natural enemies to maintain an undesirable population in acceptable levels. Moreover, habitus, habits, and habitat must be the focus in those studies. The mites most studied as biological control agents of pests belong to family Phytoseiidae. From 2479 valid phytoseiid species, 572 were accounted for in the Latin-American and Caribbean regions (almost 24%). These numbers represent only a fraction of the real number of species; we know few bioecological aspects of only a few species in this plethora, and there is still much hard work to do. Despite the evidence on its efficacy in laboratory or field experiments, most species have not yet aroused the commercial interest of agricultural input companies. Predatory mites are currently a viable alternative in the substitution of pesticides for the ABC of some agricultural pests. Its use has been consolidated in recent years, especially with species of the family Phytoseiidae, but its potential is still below estimated, especially in the Neotropical region where the diversity of predators is very large, and few species have been studied.

Keywords

  • Applied Biological Control
  • Bioecology
  • Caribbean Latin America
  • Phytoseiidae

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Correspondence to Maurício Sergio Zacarias .

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Zacarias, M.S., da Silveira, E.C., de Oliveira Bernardi, L.F. (2019). Predator Mites. In: Souza, B., Vázquez, L., Marucci, R. (eds) Natural Enemies of Insect Pests in Neotropical Agroecosystems. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24733-1_8

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