Target pest: Panonychus ulmi (Acariformes: Tetranychidae), European red mite
Agent introduced: Phytoseiulus persimilis (Parasitiformes: Phytoseiidae)
England (1967), France (1977)
Cameron et al. (1989) - about 50 active stages of P. persimilis were received from Little Hampton, England by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in New Zealand in 1967. They were mass-reared, primarily for distribution to greenhouse growers. Virtually all stocks were transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Christchurch in 1969 and local distribution continued there. Cultures were established at Levin in the lower North Island in 1974 from Christchurch populations and this strain remained in glasshouse use for a number of years. In 1977, an outdoor strain of P. persimilis was imported from Antibes, southern France. This field strain was mass-reared at DSIR in Auckland and distributed for release in 1978. It has been reared continuously in Auckland and has been used as the basis of integrated control programmes for P. persimilis in greenhouse crops, berryfruit and kiwifruit.
Cameron et al. (1989) - Phytoseiulus persimilis reared from the individuals imported in 1967 [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in â€˜Import notesâ€™ section] were distributed to growers. Difficulties were apparently encountered by growers in continuously maintaining populations and the programme declined. Stocks were transferred to Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island in 1969 and local distribution continued there. Cultures were established at Levin from Christchurch population in 1974 and this strain remained in glasshouse use for a number of years. The field strain imported in 1977 was distributed for release in 1978 at various locations, including Auckland, Waikato and Hawkeâ€™s Bay in the North Island and Nelson in the South Island. This strain has been reared continuously and used as the basis of integrated control programmes for P. persimilis in greenhouse crops, berryfruit and kiwifruit.
Cameron et al. (1989) - although difficult to maintain continuously in greenhouses, P. persimilis established outdoors in Canterbury near greenhouses as the result of releases there from 1969 onwards. This strain, used prior to the importation of the field strain in 1977 [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in â€˜Import notesâ€™ section] may have become established in the field more widely than was recognised at the time. The P. persimilis field strain has established successfully from early releases made in Auckland and Hawkeâ€™s Bay in the North Island, and Nelson and Canterbury in the South Island, but in South Canterbury and Central Otago in the South Island populations which establish in summer apparently do not survive winter conditions.
Impacts on target:
Cameron et al. (1989) - predatory phytoseiid mites (P. persimilis, Neoseiulus fallacis, Galendromus occidentalis,) were introduced into New Zealand primarily for the control of Tetranychus urticae (two-spotted mite) and only to augment control of P. ulmi by the biocontrol agent Typhlodromus pyri. Phytoseiulus persimilis was initially frequently found feeding on P. ulmi where mixed populations of phytophagous mites (T. urticae and P. ulmi) were present on apple. However, with the successful establishment of P. persimilis the pest status of T. urticae has declined significantly and consequently, it is now uncommon to find P. persimilis present in fruit trees or feeding on P. ulmi. The release programme for all three phytoseiids has contributed little to the control of P. ulmi. However, the successful establishment of P. persimilis for control of T. urticae has effectively complemented the existing programme for control of P. ulmi by T. pyri.
Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP (1989). A Review of Biological Control of Invertebrate Pests and Weeds in New Zealand 1874-1987. Technical Communication No 10. CAB International Institute of Biological Control. DSIR Entomology Division. 424p.