Saving Satsumas

Satsuma oranges, one of the most cold-tolerant citrus fruits, have long been produced on the U.S. Gulf Coast. And for just as long, growers have fought the destructive citrus red mite, which feeds on the satsuma’s leaves and fruit.

But a study by Auburn University researchers indicates that three commercially available predatory mites are effective against the pest. The study was published online in the journal Biological Control.

In laboratory trials, satsuma expert Henry Fadamiro, an associate professor in the entomology and plant pathology department, and his doctoral student, Yingfang Xiao, tested the predatory behavior of predacious mite species Phytoseiulus persimilis, Galendromus occidentalis, and Neoseiulus californicus.

Fadamiro and Xiao, who is now with the University of Florida, offered citrus red mite eggs and nymphs to the predators. The results showed all three species preferred nymphs to eggs, and that P. persimilis had the most potential for biological control, particularly with heavy infestations of citrus red mite.

The authors concluded that ongoing field studies would help establish the practical value of the predatory mites to satsuma producers.

Source: UF/IFAS news brief

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