Description: Cucumeris is a species of predatory mite that feeds on immature stages of thrips. It also feeds on pollen, two-spotted mites and other species of mites. Adults are pear-shaped, tan in color, and less than 0.5mm (1/50th in.) long. Eggs are round, transparent, and 0.14mm in diameter.
Target Pests: Broad mites, Hemp Russet mites, Cyclamen mites, Western flower thrips, Onion thrips, and Bamboo mites
Use as Biological Control: Cucumeris is mainly used to control western flower thrips on greenhouse vegetable and flower crops. Cucumeris will also feed on pollen in the absence of thrips, which makes for great use as a preventative measure. Optimum conditions are 68-77°F (20-25°C) with relative humidity of 66-70%.
Life Cycle: The complete life cycle takes 10-12 days at 68°F. This predators populations have somewhat more females than males (64% female). Females will lay 1-3 eggs per day, with an average of 35 eggs over a lifetime. Eggs are laid on leaf hairs along the veins on the lower surface of leaves. They will hatch in about 3 days. Newly hatched larvae do not feed until they moult at 2 days old. They feed for another 7 days before becoming adults. Adults live for up to 30 days and eat an average of 1 thrips per day. While outdoor populations of cucumeris in northern climates will diapause in response to short days, the cucumeris sold for greenhouse use are non-diapausing strains that may be used year round.
For Best Results: Where persimilis is being used for control of spider mites, avoid heavy applications of cucumeris. As they feed on spider mite eggs, which may limit the food supply for immature persimilis and reduce their effectiveness. Use cucumeris along with other thrips predators such as Orius spp. on flowering plants and Stratiolaelaps to control thrips pupae in the growth media.