Laboratory bioassays were conducted to evaluate the effect of the diatomaceous earth (DE) formulation SilicoSec (Biofa GmbH, Münsingen, Germany), against two stored-product mite species, Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Shrank) and the predator Cheyletus malaccensis Oudemans. For this purpose, DE was applied in wheat, oat, rye, and maize, at the dose rates 0, 0.5, 1, and 2 g/kg grain. The mortality of the exposed mites was assessed after 24 h, 48 h, 7 d, and 14 d of exposure in the treated substrate. After this interval, the treated grains were checked for oviposition or progeny. The tests were conducted at 80% RH and at two temperatures, 20 and 25°C. Generally, for both species, mortality was higher at 25°C than at 20°C. For T. putrescentiae, at both temperatures, the mortality in grains treated with the highest DE rate was 100% after only 24 h of exposure, with the exception of maize at 20°C, where mortality was 91.7%. The mortality of C. malaccensis after 24 h of exposure to the treated grains, in the absence of prey, did not exceed 29% at any of the temperature–grain–dose combinations, whereas no mites were dead in rye and maize treated with 0.5 and 1 g of DE. Even after 14 d of exposure at the highest DE rate, mite mortality did not reach 100%. The presence of T. putrescentiae individuals as prey in the treated substrate enhanced C. malaccensis survival. Hence, after 14 d of exposure, the mortality of C. malaccensis, in wheat, oat, rye, and maize treated with the highest DE rate was 51.7, 59.7, 70, and 36.9, respectively. No progeny production was recorded in the treated substrate for T. putrescentiae; in contrast, oviposition and F1 progeny were recorded for C. malaccensis. Our results suggest that the use of C. malaccensis with low doses of DE may be an appealing integrated pest management (IPM) approach against T. putrescentiae, and probably against other stored-grain mite species.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1