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    Twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch (Trombidiformes: Tetranychidae), is an important, worldwide pest of watermelon, Citrullus lanatus L. (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai (Cucurbitales: Cucurbitaceae). Feeding results in chlorotic spots and leaf necrosis, which can substantially reduce yields. In watermelon, T. urticae is managed solely with acaricides. Issues with acaricide resistance and pesticide label restrictions on number of applications per season require research-based recommendations on products with effective, long-lasting residues. To improve recommendations for T. urticae management in watermelon and to measure possible effects on non-target beneficial mites, we conducted acaricide efficacy trials in two locations in South Carolina, United States. The adulticidal products abamectin, bifenazate, fenpyroximate, and tolfenpyrad and the ovicidal products spiromesifen and etoxazole were tested. We also conducted two bioassays to better determine duration of acaricide residues. In the field trials, all acaricides except tolfenpyrad reduced T. urticae abundance, but all acaricides also reduced abundance of the most common predatory mite, Neoseiulus fallacis (Garman) (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae). In the bioassays, abamectin and bifenazate residues caused high adult T. urticae mortality at up to 21 d after treatment, performing better than fenpyroximate and tolfenpyrad. Etoxazole and spiromesifen were longer lasting, with <1 offspring per treated female in the etoxazole treatment at 28 d after treatment. Based on efficacy, abamectin or bifenazate should be rotated with etoxazole for fast knockdown of active stages while reducing reproduction, respectively. However, development and registration of more selective acaricides in watermelon is needed to preserve biological control of T. urticae by predatory mites. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2021.


    Rebecca A Schmidt-Jeffris, John L Coffey, Gilbert Miller, Monica A Farfan. Residual Activity of Acaricides for Controlling Spider Mites in Watermelon and Their Impacts on Resident Predatory Mites. Journal of economic entomology. 2021 Apr 13;114(2):818-827

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    PMID: 33503263

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