The two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, is an economic pest on peppermint [Mentha x piperita (L.), ‘Black Mitcham’ grown in California. A sampling plan for T. urticae was developed under Pacific Northwest conditions in the early 1980s and has been used by California growers since ≈1998. This sampling plan, however, is cumbersome and a poor predictor of T. urticae densities in California. Between June and August, the numbers of immature and adult T. urticae were counted on leaves at three commercial peppermint fields (sites) in 2010 and a single field in 2011. In each of seven locations per site, 45 leaves were sampled, that is, 9 leaves per five stems. Leaf samples were stratified by collecting three leaves from the top, middle, and bottom strata per stem. The on-plant distribution of T. urticae did not significantly differ among the stem strata through the growing season. Binomial and enumerative sampling plans were developed using generic Taylor's power law coefficient values. The best fit of our data for binomial sampling occurred using a tally threshold of T = 0. The optimum number of leaves required for T. urticae at the critical density of five mites per leaf was 20 for the binomial and 23 for the enumerative sampling plans, respectively. Sampling models were validated using Resampling for Validation of Sampling Plan Software.
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Vol. 106 • No. 4