Information on Breeder systems
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
What is a breeder system? Just what it sounds like. A breeder system enhances breeding/reproduction of the beneficial, predacious insect, Amblyseius cucumeris.
Western flower thrips can be a problem in the production of annual and perennial plants in our spring crop. Historically, when light levels, temperatures and pollen pressure increases, thrips’activity explodes. I’ve seen numbers of thrips on a sticky card jump from under 10 to 100-plus in as short as three days. With that said, the concept of the breeder system is to start early with the presence of beneficials and build your predator population (Amblyseius cucumeris). Early in the system, you are not relying on the thrips as the food source for the beneficials. You are utilizing a food source that is not a pest in the greenhouse system.
The breeder system is a mixture of bran mites, Amblyseius cucumeris in a base of bran that serves as food for the bran mites to maintain a population and provide a food source for the Amblyseius cucumeris. Thrips development from egg to adult can range from 20 days at 68ºF to 12 days at 86ºF. The female thrips utilize their ovipositor and put a slice into the plant tissue and lay an egg. The egg hatches within a few days and the larvae begin feeding. At the second instar, they fall to the ground or media in the greenhouse and pupate, emerge, and the feeding begins again. Amblyseius cucumeris are mobile and prefer to feed on first instar thrips.