Leaf samples were taken from 34 (1998) and 10 (1999) vineyards in five valleys in western Oregon to assess spider mite pests and biological control by predaceous phytoseiid mites. A leaf at a coordinate of every 10 m of border, 5 m into a vineyard, was taken to minimize edge effects; 20 leaves were taken at regular intervals from vineyard centers. Variables recorded at each site included grape variety and plant age, chemicals used, and vegetation next to vineyards. Sites were rated as occurring in agricultural versus riparian settings based on surrounding vegetation types. Multiple linear regressions and a computer genetic algorithm with an information content criterion were used to assess variables that may explain mite abundances. Typhlodromus pyri Scheuten was the dominant phytoseiid mite species and Tetranychus urticae Koch the dominant tetranychid mite species. High levels of T. urticae occurred when phytoseiid levels were low, and low levels of T. urticae were present when phytoseiid levels were high to moderate. T. urticae densities were higher in vineyards surrounded by agriculture, but phytoseiid levels did not differ between agricultural and riparian sites. Phytoseiids had higher densities on vineyard edges; T. urticae densities were higher in centers. Biological control success of pest mites was rated excellent in 11 of 44 vineyards, good in 27, and poor in only six sites. Predaceous mites appeared to be the principal agents regulating spider mites at low levels in sites where pesticides nontoxic to predators were used. Effects of surrounding vegetation, grape variety, growing region, and other factors on mites are discussed.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2