Predation by Nesidiocoris tenuis on Bemisia tabaci and injury to tomato
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Tomato is the most important vegetable crop in Spain. The mirid bug Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) commonly appears in large numbers in protected and open-air tomato crops where little or no broad-spectrum insecticides are used. Nesidiocoris tenuis is known to be a predator of whiteflies, thrips and several other pest species. However, it is also considered a pest because it can feed on tomato plants, causing necrotic rings on stems and flowers and punctures in fruits. Our objectives were to evaluate predation by N. tenuis on sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci Gennadius under greenhouse conditions and establish its relationship to N. tenuis feeding on tomato. Two different release rates of N. tenuis were compared with an untreated control (0, 1 and 4 N. tenuis plant -1) in cages of 8 m2. Significant reductions of greater than 90% of the whitefly population and correspondingly high numbers of N. tenuis were observed with both release rates. Regression analysis showed that necrotic rings on foliage caused by N. tenuis were best explained by the ratio of B. tabaci nymphs:N. tenuis as predicted by the equation y = 15.086x - 0.6359. © 2008 International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).