Within-plant distribution and binomial sequential sampling plan for Tetranychus evansi (Acari: Tetranychidae) in greenhouse tomato: implications for management.

Abstract

The red spider mite, Tetranychus evansi is a critical pest of tomato in the tropics. Control of T. evansi has traditionally depended on acaricide treatments. However, it is only in a handful of crops where monitoring techniques for mites, using statistical methods, have been developed to help farmers decide when to spray. The objective of this study, therefore, was to develop a sampling plan that would help farmers increase accuracy, and reduce the labor and time needed to monitor T. evansi on tomato. The distribution of T. evansi within-plant was aggregated, and intermediate leaves (YFL) was the most appropriate sampling unit to evaluate the mite density. Analysis based on Taylor's Power Law showed an aggregated pattern of distribution of T. evansi, while assessment of the fitness of the binomial model indicated that a tally threshold of 5 mites per YFL provided the best fit. Consequently, binomial sequential sampling plans premised on three action thresholds (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3) were developed. The binomial sequential sampling plan for T. evansi developed in this study has the potential to significantly increase the chance for targeted acaricide applications. This judicious use of pesticides is especially crucial within the context of integrated pest management (IPM).

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