Comparative toxicity of pesticides in three phytoseiid mites with different life-style occurring in citrus: Euseius stipulatus, Neoseiulus californicus and Phytoseiulus persimilis
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Conservation and augmentative biological control strategies have been developed to take full advantage of the natural enemies that occur in Spanish citrus orchards. Among them, the predatory mites Euseius stipulatus, Neoseiulus californicus and Phytoseiulus persimilis play an important role in the biological control of tetranychid mites. However, these predatory mites are often affected by pesticides and information about the side-effects of these products against these beneficial arthropods is essential to guarantee their efficacy. The side-effects of some pesticides remain unknown and the primary aim of this study was to fill this gap. We have further used this information and that collected from other sources to compare the response of these three mite species to pesticides. Based on this information, E. stipulatus has the most tolerant species, followed by N. californicus and P. persimilis. Therefore, using E. stipulatus as an indicator species in citrus may have led to the paradox of selecting presumed selective pesticides resulting in excessive impact on N. californicus and, especially on P. persimilis. Because these two latter species are considered key for the biological control of T. urticae in citrus, especially clementines, in Spain, we propose to use P. persimilis as the relevant indicator of such effects on predacious mites occurring in citrus instead of E. stipulatus. This change could have a dramatic impact on the satisfactory control of tetranychid mites in citrus in the near future.