The seasonal abundance of spider mites and their predator Neoseiulus fallacis (Garman) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) was determined during three consecutive years in Washington State red raspberry fields. Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae), Eotetranychus carpini borealis (Ewing) (Acari: Tetranychidae), and N. fallacis were commonly found in Skagit and Whatcom Counties. E. carpini borealis colonized the fruiting canes earlier in the season than T. urticae. The two phytophages overlapped in midseason, but T. urticae entered diapause earlier than E. carpini borealis and N. fallacis. Densities of N. fallacis increased with increase in spider mite densities. However, the numerical response of the predator was more evident for T. urticae than for E. carpini borealis. Nevertheless, the predator was spatially associated with the two prey species. The spatial and seasonal distribution of N. fallacis in relationship to host plant phenology and prey distribution may influence the effectiveness of this predator as a biological control agent against spider mites in red raspberry. Densities of the predator increased too late to prevent spider mite damage. The predatory role of N. fallacis could be enhanced by introducing or conserving predators that are more tolerant to climatic factors that prevail in and around the cane canopy in the beginning of the season.
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Vol. 95 • No. 6