The temporal development of biological control of arthropod pests in perennial cropping systems is largely unreported. In this study, the development of biological control of twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, and hop aphid, Phorodon humuli (Schrank), in a new planting of hop in Oregon is described over a period of 9 yr (2005–2013). Both the abundance and diversity of natural enemies increased over time. Known predators of hop aphid (Coccinellidae and Anthocoridae) were present in all years; however, stable biological control of hop aphid was not achieved in most years and aphicides were required to suppress populations at commercially acceptable levels in 5 of 9 yr. Populations of aphidophagous coccinellids developed synchronously with hop aphid populations, and temporal correlations indicated these are the primary predatory insect associated with hop aphid regulation. However, sampling methods did not assess levels of aphid parasitoids and hyperparasitoids and their contribution to biological control was unquantified. Spider mite biological control was associated primarily with predatory mites (Phytoseiidae) and Stethorus spp. (Coccinellidae). The magnitude of temporal correlations of abundance of these predators with spider mites was found to be greatest on the same sampling dates and at lags of 7–14 d. Stable biological control of spider mites occurred after four field seasons, suppressing spider mites to levels similar to those commonly achieved with chemical control. A survey of 11 commercial hop yards in Oregon documented pest and natural enemy densities under commercial management practices over a period of 4 yr (2008–2011). Natural enemy abundance in commercial hop yards was similar to that of a 2- to 3-yr-old hop yard with limited disturbance. Whereas total reliance on biological control for hop aphid is unlikely to be successful, there appears to be unrealized potential for biological control of spider mites in commercial production. Dynamic action thresholds that consider the value of natural enemies are needed for both pests.
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Vol. 107 • No. 2