Amblyseius (=Neoseiulus) cucumeris, the thrips predatory mite, are useful for the prevention, control, and management of various thrips species. Like most of the Amblyseius spp., A. cucumeris are tough, flexible predators. These happen to prefer thrips, mostly the immature thrips stages. A. cucumeris are shipped as adults, immatures and eggs (the latter are not part of the guaranteed count) in a bran-flake/vermiculite carrier along with a food source, the mold mite (Tyrophagus putrescentiae). This mold mite is merely a sustainable food source for the predatory mites while they’re in transit.
Some of the species they can devour include: the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis); the flower thrips or eastern flower thrips (F. tritici); the onion thrips (Thrips tabaci); the greenhouse thrips (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis); and possibly the melon thrips (Thrips palmi), too. Other pests which can be impacted by these predators include cyclamen mites (Phtyodromus =Steneotarsonemus pallidus), broad mites (Polyphagotarsenomus =Hemitarsonemus latus) and, to a slight degree, tomato russet mite (Aculops lycopersici). And, as Amblyseius spp., these predators may eat other pests as well.
The tiny 0.5 mm. clear-white adult female mites lay eggs amongst thrips concentrations. They can lay up to 35 eggs. The eggs hatch into super small larvae which develop into nymphal forms before reaching adulthood. These, too, are fierce predators, consuming many immature thrips. The life-span of these predators is about 10 days in their immature stages, then around 30 days as adults. The conditions for optimum performance will be between 66-80°F with a relative humidity of between 65-72%. But these are optimum conditions, and not necessarily a prerequisite of successful implementation. Please note, however, considerably cooler temperatures will hamper reproduction and development a certain degree.
A. cucumeris are very cost-effective. These predators enjoy snacking on available pollen. This helps them be an efficient long-term preventive agent as well as a curative one. These mites are very, very economical. So economical, in fact, some growers are using A. cucumeris as they would a pesticide: the infamous repeated dousing technique. Speaking of pesticides, these predators are compatible with many; a real plus in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.