Aceria guerreronis Keifer (Acari: Eriophyidae) is considered a major pest of the coconut (Cocos nucifera L.), and the use of pesticides is the current method to control it. However, no standard toxicological tests exist to select and assess the efficiency of molecules against the coconut mite. The aim of this study was to develop a methodology that allows for the evaluation of the relative toxicity of acaricides to A. guerreronis through rapid laboratory procedures. We confined A. guerreronis on arenas made out of coconut leaflets and tested two application methods: immersing the leaf fragments in acaricides and spraying acaricides on the leaf fragments under a Potter spray tower. In the latter application method, we sprayed leaf fragments both populated with and devoid of mites. We evaluated the comparative toxicity of two populations (Itamaracá and Petrolina, Pernambuco, Brazil) by spraying on leaflets without mites and submitted the mortality data to probit analysis after 24 h of exposure. No difference was observed in the LC50, regardless of whether the leaflets were immersed or sprayed with acaricide (abamectin, chlorfenapyr or fenpyroximate). The toxicity of chlorfenapyr and fenpyroximate did not differ, irrespective of whether it was applied directly to the leaflet or to the mite; however, the toxicity of abamectin was higher when applied directly to the mite. Chlorpyrifos and abamectin toxicities were lower for the Petrolina population than for the Itamaraca population. Immersing and spraying coconut leaflets can be used to assess the mortality of A. guerreronis under laboratory conditions.
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Vol. 105 • No. 4