The effects of three sulfur products (calcium polysulfide [ = lime sulfur], dry flowable sulfur, and ammonium thiosulfate, a plant nutrient), were tested in bioassays against a predatory mite, Galandromus occidentalis (Nesbitt), and two species of tetranychid (pest) mites, twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) and European red mite [Panonychus ulmi (Koch)]. Calcium polysulfide and ammonium thiosulfate were acutely toxic on contact to adult females of all three mite species, causing 58–100% mortality in 48 h. Dry flowable sulfur, in contrast, was nontoxic to adults of all three species. Fresh residues of the sulfur products were essentially nontoxic to females of G. occidentalis and T. urticae. Galandromus occidentalis consumed 8.2 and 4.0× fewer prey contaminated with residues of calcium polysulfide and ammonium thiosulfate; dry flowable sulfur had no effect on prey consumption. Higher posttreatment temperatures (32 versus 18°C) did not affect the toxicity of dry flowable sulfur to G. occidentalis and T. urticae. The toxic effect of the sulfur products was not related to the concentration of elemental S but rather to some intrinsic characteristic of the compound itself. There were substantial differences in the responses of different stages of G. occidentalis. Residues that were nontoxic to adult females were highly toxic to hatching larvae, including those of dry flowable sulfur. In addition, all three products were highly repellent to adult female G. occidentalis. The lethal effect of calcium polysulfide on larvae was still present when the laboratory-aged residues onbean leaves were 8–9 d old. Field-aged residues on apple (Malus spp.) leaves were highly toxic (89% mortality) after 7 d, but mortality declined to 50 and 17% after 14 and 22 d, respectively. The increasing use of sulfur-containing products is detrimental to predatory mites and may play a role in the diminishing effectiveness of integrated mite control in Washington apple orchards.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1